In the United States, there’s a common problem: jails are overcrowded, courts and agencies are overburdened, and costs are skyrocketing. To address this issue, courts, probation offices, and agencies across the country are embracing an evidence-based approach: pre-trial intervention. By encouraging an alternative to arrest or charges in appropriate cases, courts and agencies are using  pre-trial intervention to refocus their processes and better serve both individuals and public safety.

Benefits of Pre-Trial Intervention

#1 Promote self-improvement

“Low-risk individuals tend to be self-correcting,” Capt. Bresina of the Eau Claire (WI) Sheriff’s Office (ECSO) says in an interview with Lexipol. But an arrest can disrupt the self-correcting process because it “may interfere with internal controls or positive family and social settings which result in self-correction.” What’s more, jailing low-risk offenders can put them in contact with higher-risk offenders, who can have a negative influence. 

When an offender successfully completes a PTI program, their case is often dismissed, leaving their record clean. This means they can continue down a positive path and avoid the stigma of charges like drug possession when applying for employment. 

#2 Focus time, energy, and resources for more serious matters

Pre-trial intervention helps justice professionals provide the most appropriate and least restrictive levels of supervision. It also tailors the services that are needed, so that low-risk offenders, middle-, and high-risk offenders can receive the necessary levels of supervision and support.  

#3 Keep court dockets smaller

High-volume dockets can threaten the efficiency and integrity of judicial processes. Pre-trial intervention preserves prosecutorial and judicial resources, improving processing by keeping first-time offenders out of the system.

Incorporate Education into Pre-Trial Intervention

To prevent repeat offenses, agencies need programming to address how offenders think and behave. Intervention courses that address common violations like driving under the influence, drug possession, and shoplifting empower low-risk offenders with the knowledge, skills, and awareness to reduce and avoid harmful behaviors. 

Need an easy, accessible solution to educate first-time offenders under your care? 3rd Millennium Classrooms offers 100% online courses that incorporate evidence-based strategies like behavioral surveys and personalized feedback to reduce recidivism. Become a referral partner for free by calling (888) 810-7990, or emailing

  1. “Eau Claire (WI) Sheriff’s Office Successfully Employs Pre-Charge Diversion.” Lexipol.
  2. “Pretrial Diversion Programs: Research Summary.” Bureau of Justice Administration.