August 01, 2018 Feature

Pretrial Risk Assessments: A Practical Guide for Judges

By David G. Robinson, Hannah Jane Sassaman, and Megan Stevenson

From Alaska to Utah, Missouri to New Hampshire, jurisdictions are introducing risk assessment algorithms into pretrial decision making. As stakeholders try to balance public concern about safety with an effort to reduce or end the use of cash bail—widely understood to disadvantage poor people who can’t pay to secure their liberty pretrial—jurisdictions have turned to algorithmic risk assessment to help determine who can “safely” be released.

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