National Criminal Justice Association Talks Pretrial at Annual Forum

08/26/2014 11:59 AM

The National Criminal Justice Association (NCJA) held its annual National Forum on Criminal Justice this month, and pretrial was a prominent topic on the agenda.  NCJA is a membership organization representing state, local, and tribal justice agencies, and its National Forum focused on “integrating, research, policy and technology to improve public safety.”  That theme was evident in the pretrial panel, which discussed emerging research and promising local practice.

Matt Alsdorf of the Laura and John Arnold Foundation presented on the state of the art in pretrial risk assessment, including their new tool, the Public Safety Assessment-Court.   The PSA-Court is a validated, no-interview risk assessment tool that is currently being piloted in several counties nationwide, including Santa Cruz County.  The tool can predict risk of failure to appear, general reoffending, and also violent reoffending.

Michael Wilson, an economist with the Crime and Justice Institute, presented on cost benefit analysis and pretrial.  This includes a tool for counties to assess the cost benefit ratio for pretrial detention and supervision options, depending on the risk level of the defendant.   For more on pretrial cost benefit analysis, click here.

To put the research in a real-world context, Former Sheriff of Mesa County, Colorado, Stan Hilkey discussed local efforts to implement the Colorado Pretrial Assessment Tool and keep low-risk defendants out of jail, including a matrix approach to merge risk assessment and money bond.  For more information on Mesa County pretrial, click here.

To view the conference presentation, click here.

To view a recent NCJA webinar on the science of pretrial, click here.

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