Our Work

What We Do

As a non-profit, community-based organization that is embedded in our courts and criminal justice system, San Francisco Pretrial Diversion Project’s (SF Pretrial) mission represents a commitment to building power in communities. Our clients are actively justice-involved and are referred to us as an alternative to money bail, pretrial incarceration, and/or prosecution.

The “presumption of innocence” is a foundational principle of our work: our programs are centered on a compassionate, non-judgmental approach to relationship-building and the respect that each client deserves. Further, our non-profit status allows us to maintain neutrality in an otherwise “adversarial” criminal justice system, and our position as an independent intermediary has bolstered trust with clients and local partners alike. Our primary objectives are to provide accurate information to the court and to sustain client success through individualized supportive services. 

Our programs encompass pretrial release, pretrial diversion, and in-custody services:

Release programs

SF Pretrial’s release programs are, at their essence, alternatives to money bail. Rather than putting up a financial guarantee or remaining in jail custody, clients can be referred to one of our three non-monetary release programs. Each program provides a different intensity of supervision and treatment, which will depend on a client’s background and needs. The release programs provide clients with individualized treatment plans, incremental and achievable goals, and proportionate levels of monitoring by our staff .

Own Recognizance Program (OR)

OR staff prepare essential case materials to support judicial determinations regarding pretrial release. In addition, they oversee monitoring and supervision for two levels of pretrial release:

  • No Active Supervision (OR-NAS): clients receive court reminder calls.
  • Minimum Supervision (OR-MS): clients receive court reminder calls and check in with our office twice per week by phone.
Assertive Case Management Program (ACM)

The ACM program is geared towards higher needs clients with felony and misdemeanor cases referred by the Courts. This program provides its clients with more intensive supervision and focused attention throughout the court of their individualized treatment regimens. It connects clients with long-term community-based resources for substance use, mental health, education and employment, as well as providing outreach and client escort services.

In-Custody Referral Program (ICR)

When clients have serious charges and/or a lengthier history of legal misconduct, the Courts will often engage our ICR program. This program coordinates immediate placement in an in-patient or out-patient treatment program, which gives the Courts greater assurances that clients with the most significant barriers will receive a timely and commensurate treatment response. After clients are referred to the ICR program by the Courts, interviews are conducted to assess which community program(s) would benefit a prospective client.

Based on the assessment interviews, the ICR team will make recommendations to the Courts whether to grant or deny release, which community programs have placement available, and which conditions of release should apply.

Diversion Programs

SF Pretrial’s diversion programs are non-financial, community-based alternatives to prosecutions and fines.

Pretrial Diversion (PTD), Primary Caregiver Diversion (PCD), and Neighborhood Court (NCT)

PTD, PCD and NCT diversion programs represent community models where instead of being prosecuted, clients who are referred to these programs by the Courts will be diverted to a community program where they will be assigned a program, upon the completion of which their case will be dismissed.

Street Environmental Services (SESP) and Project 20 (P20)

SESP and P20 are diversion programs that provide alternatives to monetary fines. These diversion programs will assign referred clients to projects of street beautification and cleaning to work off their fines, and upon completion of their projects, their fines will be dismissed.

Veteran’s Court (VJC) and Parole Reentry Court (PRC)

VJC and PRC diversion programs provide alternative court models that are focused on treatment, housing and supportive services rather than prosecution, trial and sentencing. In each of these programs, each court appearance is a meeting about treatment progress instead of a step towards trial and sentencing that one would see in the traditional court model.

In-Custody Programs

SF Pretrial’s In-Custody programs provide placement and treatment programs for our in-custody clients, who are referred to us by the Courts.

Roads to Recovery and Sisters

Roads to Recovery and Sisters are in-custody programs that aim to address substance abuse among the male and female incarcerated population (respectively). Unlike our release and diversion programs, Roads and Sisters work with both pretrial and sentenced populations, facilitating groups, meetings, and discussions surrounding the topic of substance abuse and recovery.

Discharge Planning

Our Discharge Planning program works with high-volume arrestees to break the cycle of justice involvement. It is focused on developing reentry plans and referring clients to targeted services to secure healthier and improvement-focused post-release plans.

Building on 42 Years of Experience

Decrease Jail Population

Expand Second Look Program
For defendants who remain in custody post-arraignment, we interview and assess clients so that they can be released and connect with individualized community resources.

Bench Warrant Returns
For all defendants arrested for pretrial failure to appear, we provide criminal history information to the Courts to provide expanded information to inform release decision.

Decrease Recidivism

Client Support Post-case Disposition
For clients in need of supportive case management beyond court mandated services to increase long-term success

Local Agency Service Coordination
For all defendants released pretrial, we work with other city agencies to remove barriers to services, actively prevent service duplication, and track outcomes.

Partnership Development

Outcomes Dashboard
Build a measurement tool for judges and other stakeholders to measure impact

Pretrial Services
Continue San Francisco Pretrial Diversion Project’s role as a neutral non-profit service provider, content and implementation expert