Seal of Dane County County of Dane

Dane County Pretrial Services

Dane County Pretrial Services Department

Front door to the Dane County Pretrial Services Department


HOURS: Monday through Friday the office is open from 7:45 am to 4:30 pm. Closed all County Holidays. The office is closed noon to 1 pm daily.


Dane County Courthouse

215 S. Hamilton St., Room 5052

Madison, WI 53703

Main: 608-283-2951

FAX: 608-266-4046

TTY: Call Wisconsin Relay 711

Mission/La Misión, Vision/La Visión, and Values/Valores Fundamentales

Mission: To help people successfully complete pretrial supervision and improve community safety today and tomorrow.

    La Misión:  Ayudar personas a completar con exíto la supervisión previo al juicio y mejorar la seguridad de la comunidad hoy y mañana.

Vision: We achieve our mission through the application of evidence-based research in shaping supervision strategies, improving outcomes. Achieving our mission is an ongoing process that involves system and data review.

    La Visión:  Logramos nuestra misión a través de la aplicación de investigaciones basadas en evidencias para dar forma a las estrategias de supervisión, así mejorar los resultados.  Lograr nuestra misión es un proceso continuo que implica la revisión del sistema y de los datos.

Core Values/Valores Fundamentales:                             

Respect/Respeto              Curiosity/Curiosidad                    Integrity/Integridad

Civility/Cortesía                Honesty/Honestidad                    Communication/Comunicación

Ethics/Etica                      Cooperation/Cooperación            Consistency/Coherencia

Proactivity/Proactividad   Community/Comunidad                Courage/Valor

Equity/Equidad                Inclusion/Inclusión

Metal art of Lady Justice on outside of Dane County Courthouse

What is the Pretrial Services Department?

The role of pretrial services is a unique function within the criminal justice system. Pretrial officers assist in reducing unnecessary pretrial detention while a criminal case is pending trial and they take steps to promote public safety. In Dane County, Pretrial Services Officers are Social Workers operating under the authority of the Dane County judiciary. Upon a court referral, a Social Worker is assigned (1) to monitor conditions of bond, (2) to assess a person’s needs, and (3) to make referrals to community resources. Monitoring will include reporting to the office in person and/or by phone and, when ordered by the judiciary, can include random drug testing, GPS (Global Positioning System) monitoring, and/or alcohol monitoring.  

We are agents of the court. We strive to increase public protection through the supervision of bail conditions, provide referrals to community resources and support, and offer opportunities for positive change, no matter the outcome of a case. As Social Workers, we are committed to providing quality services in a respectful manner to our diverse client population with the goals of minimizing unnecessary pretrial detention, reducing missed court appearances, and preventing new arrests while on bond. We aim to reduce barriers and increase a person’s success during their pretrial supervision and beyond.


Pretrial Services’ clients have been criminally charged with a misdemeanor or felony in Dane County Circuit Court and are pending trial. These individuals are presumed innocent of those charges throughout the pretrial phase. Clients may have other misdemeanor and/or felony pending charges.  In order to enter our program, people are referred by a judge or court commissioner. The court may refer someone to Pretrial Services, as an alternative to cash bail or as a condition of bail.

If ordered into the program, people are required to report to the Pretrial Services office (215 S Hamilton Street, Room 5052, Madison, WI) (Map-English) (Map-Spanish) as directed by the court and will meet with their assigned social worker.    

Parking and Bus Information

For more information regarding stree parking around the Dane County Courthouse, check out the Madison Parking Utility Website and the Park Smarter Mobile App.

Accessible parking is available at the courthouse. Map of accessible parking by the courthouse

Madison Metro Routes & Schedules 

Pretrial Services Eligibility and Release from Jail

The judiciary must order, as a condition of bail, that the person be supervised by Dane County Pretrial Services with an instruction when they are to report to our office for an initial assessment. People are not pre-screen for eligibility to the program. Should a person be in custody and want to be considered for the program in lieu of cash bond, they should contact their attorney to request a bail hearing. 

People who are unhoused may still be referred to Pretrial Services.   

Individuals must not have any hold that prohibits their release from custody. Examples of holds include: a probation/parole hold, a detainer from another jurisdiction, or a commitment/sentence to serve. If a person is referred to the program with a hold in place, the person remains in custody until the hold is resolved. Once the hold is resolved and the person is released from custody, they need to report to Pretrial Services, as required by the court order.

People must voluntarily agree to:

  • Participate with all rules/requirements of Pretrial Services
  • Comply with all other court orders and conditions of bail, and
  • Sign a release of information that outlines that information shared with Pretrial Services can be shared with the court, the District Attorneys’ Office and Defense counsel 

There are no fees for Pretrial Services monitoring. However, if a client damages or loses court ordered monitoring equipment, they will be responsible for paying for damaged or lost equipment. 

People are required to report to Pretrial Services within the timeframe ordered by the judiciary. Should a person fail to report, as required following release from jail, a report will be written to the court which may result in a warrant for the person's arrest.

Maps are available at court, at the Public Safety Building, and on this website, to better understand how to access our office.

Pretrial Services Minimum Supervision Requirements

The person will report to the Pretrial Services office at a frequency deemed appropriate by the assigned Social Worker, which may be weekly. This is determined by a person's Public Safety Assessment (PSA) score if one was gernerated for court. If there is no PSA, the Social Worker will determine the frequency of contact based on a number of factors. The frequency of face-to-face meetings is determined case-by-case.

When random drug tests are ordered, a person will be subject to providing random urinalyses (UA’s) to screen for controlled substances. This court order is generally associated with a bond condition of “shall not possess or consume controlled substances or drug paraphernalia.” The frequency and process of testing are discussed during the intake assessment. People are required to provide prescriptions for any medications they are taking if drug testing is ordered.

When remote breath testing is ordered, the assigned Social Worker provides a portable cellular alcohol monitoring device. Remote breath testing is associated with a bond condition of “shall not possess or consume alcohol” or something similar. A minimum of three daily tests are required, but frequency differs case-by-case. Social Workers do their best to accommodate work/school/treatment schedules when scheduling the remote breath testing.

Clients required to be monitored with GPS devices are fitted with a GPS ankle bracelet for geographic tracking and monitoring of ordered curfews, as court ordered.

Everyone must follow all their bail conditions ordered by the court. Social Workers cannot change bond conditions.

Image of Remote Breath Pro device

Remote Breath testing device

Image of GPS bracelet

GPS bracelet

Image of GPS charger

GPS charger

Urinalysis Collection Policy

  • Coats, baggy sweaters and sweatshirts must be removed.
  • You will be allowed a reasonable amount of time (per staff discretion) in the restroom to provide the sample.
  • All urinalyses are observed by same sex staff.
  • You must provide a minimum of 30 ng/ml of urine in your sample.
  • If you are unable to provide a sample, you may be required to return to the Dane County Pretrial Services' lobby (the wait time will be determined by staff) before you are allowed to make another attempt.
  • All samples should be provided by 4:00 pm (unless other preapproved arrangements have been made), or the urinalysis may be considered missed.



Clients in the program must comply with their bail conditions as well as with the supervision rules, all of which are reviewed during intake. If a person is non-compliant that is deemed a violation, a violation report will be provided to the judiciary, the assigned District Attorney, and defense counsel. Once a report is disclosed, it is public record.

The judiciary may respond to the violation report by ordering:

  • No change in conditions, with a warning
  • The scheduling of a bail hearing
  • The issuance of a body only warrant 
  • The issuance of a warrant with a cash bail requirement. If cash is posted, the person is required to report to Pretrial Services.

What is the Public Safety Assessment (PSA)?

Every day in America, Judges have to answer a critical question: What are the chances that a recently arrested person who is released pending trial will commit a new crime, a new violent crime, or fail to appear for court?

In Dane County, we use an actuarial pretrial risk assessment tool that examines nine factors which generate results reflecting the risk of a person to:

  • Engage in new criminal activity
  • Fail to Appear
  • Engage in new violent criminal activity

This tool is not meant to replace the independent discretion of the court commissioner or judge. It is just one factor taken into consideration. Judges and court commissioners also review the conduct alleged in the criminal complaint or police reports, the information provided by both the prosecutor and defense counsel in court, and any victim statement to determine the risk a person poses and the pretrial conditions of bail that reduce these risks. Judges and court commissioners make decisions based on judgment and experience.

The Public Safety Assessment tool reliably predicts the risk that people with similar scores will engage in new criminal conduct, commit violent criminal acts, and fail to appear at court hearings. In general, most people are success during the pretrial stage. Success is attending court hearings and not being rearrested for new criminal activity.

The nine factors analyzed to generate the PSA scores are:

  •  Age at current arrest
  • Current violent offenses
    • Additional scoring if current violent offence committed by person age under 20
  • Pending charge at time of offense
  • Prior misdemeanors
  • Prior felonies
  • Prior crime of violence
  • Prior failure to appear (FTA) within the last two years
  • Prior FTA more than two years ago
  • Prior sentence of incarceration (14 days or more)

The PSA is done without consideration of race, ethnicity, gender, or geography.

The assessment does not require interviews. Data is gathered from a person’s jail booking data, automated criminal records (National Crime Information Center), Wisconsin criminal history, and Wisconsin Circuit Court records.

Beginning in 2017, Dane County participated in a study with the Access to Justice Lab at Harvard University Law School to examine the impact of the PSA on decision making by the court and the District Attorney’s Office. The study stopped enrolling new criminal cases at the end of December 2019. Currently, the judiciary receives all PSAs generated for in-custody initial appearance misdemeanor and felony cases. PSAs are generated only for individuals detained three or fewer days.

How Dane County Pretrial Services Department is Evolving Over Time

Pretrial Justice Collaborative Descriptive & Racial Disparity Analysis - Dane County May 2023
History of Key Points in the Evolution of the Dane County Pretrial Services Department
2014 Report to the Dane County Criminal Justice Criminal Justice Council - Pre-Trial Services Subcommittee
Interim Report from the Access to Justice Lab at Harvard Law School on the Randomized Control Trial of the Public Safety Assessment Using the Decision-Making Framework dated August 18, 2020