Federal Probation Officers began as volunteers in the 1900’s. Congress passed legislation establishing the Federal Probation system in 1925. By 1929 the first U.S. Probation Officer was designated under the U.S. Department of Justice. Until 1939, the U.S. Probation Office was assigned under the administration of the U.S. Department of Justice. Congress then authorized the creation of the Administration Office of the United States Courts. Within the Administrative Office, the Division of Probation and Pretrial Services were created. (United States District Court, 2011)
The Pretrial Services Act of 1982 was signed into law by President Reagan “authorizing the Director of the Administrative Office of the United States Courts, under the supervision and direction of the Judicial Conference of the United States, to provide, direct or by contract or otherwise, for the establishment of the Pretrial Services in each U.S. judicial district.” (United States District Court, 2011)
There are 94 Federal District Courts today and each district has its own U.S. Probation Office, while many also have their own U.S. Pretrial Services Offices. Federal Probation and Pretrial Services Officers are federal law enforcement officers, who are individually appointed by the Chief Judge of that district. Officers are eligible for a 20 year retirement and mist be appointed before their 37th birthday, due to the mandatory separation age of 57. (United States District Court, 2011)
Federal Pretrial Services Offices are different from other federal law enforcement agencies, because they are “regionally aligned” to their judicial districts, not to a single main command office. All Pretrial Service Officers, report to the Chief Pretrial Services Officer of that district, who in turn reports to the Chief District Judge. The national component is the Administrative Office (AO), which is located in Washington, D.C. The AO provides administrative support to the federal courts, which include staffing, enforcing and implementing policies and policy changes from the policy-making branch of the Federal Judiciary (the Judicial Conference of the United States). (Functions and Powers Relating to Pretrial Services, 2011)
The Pretrial Services Division was established in the United States District Court, Southern District of California in San Diego in 1989. Funds for court services and personnel are funded through the federal budget. Dictated by the AO, policies and policy changes are implemented through a top-down approach. Chief District Judge notifies the Chief Pretrial Services Officer of the new policy or policy change required for implementation. It is the Chief Pretrial Services Officer’s responsibility to ensure policy compliance and policy implementation is conducted by Pretrial Service Officers.
United States Pretrial Services
United States District Courthouse
940 Front Street
San Diego, California 92101
To: Chief Pretrial Services Officer,...