Katko unveils bipartisan legislation to update nation’s pretrial release programs

U.S. Rep. John Katko (R-NY) on July 9 sponsored the bipartisan Bill’s Promise Act to reform monitoring practices for pretrial release programs at the federal, state and local levels.

“Pretrial release plays an important role in ensuring the efficiency of our nation’s justice system,” Rep. Katko said on Monday during a press conference at McMahon Ryan Child Advocacy Center in Syracuse, N.Y., to announce the bill.

If enacted, H.R. 3657 also would direct the Government Accountability Office (GAO) to devise response protocols when an ankle monitor or other electronic monitoring device signals that an individual is violating his or her release terms, according to a summary provided by Rep. Katko’s office.

H.R. 3657 also would task GAO with compiling data on offenses committed by individuals on pretrial release over the past 10 years; examining related issues impacting officer retention; determining how pretrial release services are administered; and issuing improvement recommendations, the summary says.

“When properly administered, pretrial release programs help to address the significant resource and capacity restrictions facing our courts,” said the congressman. “Unfortunately, as our community knows all too well, failures in this system have the potential to endanger innocent lives.”

Rep. Katko introduced H.R. 3657 alongside seven cosponsors, including U.S. Reps. Martha Roby (R-AL) and Hank Johnson (D-GA).

During the press conference, he commended law enforcement and stakeholder organizations for their “tremendous work to keep victims safe while domestic violence and abuse offenders await trial.”

“This legislation is vital to supporting that work and to helping keep victims safe,” Rep. Katko said.

H.R. 3657, which is supported by the National Alliance to End Sexual Violence, the Fraternal Order of Police, and the National Sheriffs Association, has been referred for consideration to the U.S. House Judiciary Committee.