Our new report about risk assessment examines the impact of the algorithms that many jurisdictions are using to measure the risk a defendant will be rearrested or fail to appear in court.
Today we released a new report about risk assessment, 'Beyond the Algorithm: Pretrial Reform, Risk Assessment, and Racial Fairness.' Produced with the support of Arnold Ventures, 'Beyond the Algorithm' examines the impact of automated formulas that many jurisdictions are using to measure the risk a defendant will be rearrested or fail to appear in court.
Some key conclusions:
- Approaches to pretrial decision-making that do not employ risk assessment instruments often fall short when it comes to accurately assessing risk and reducing unnecessary pretrial detention.
- Concerns about risk assessment and racial fairness are real—even when a risk assessment tool is deemed to be free of bias, it can contribute to racially disparate impacts.
- If targeted correctly, it is possible for risk assessment tools to improve pretrial decision-making —significantly reducing pretrial detention and alleviating racial disparities.
- Realizing that potential requires jurisdictions to think “beyond the algorithm”—that is, asking what they want to use a risk assessment for, and putting in place policies to support those goals.
You can read about the report's findings in The Marshall Project.
News and Updates
- Listen to our New Thinking episode with the authors of ‘Beyond the Algorithm’
- A new book on misdemeanor courts includes two chapters by our staff.
- Our pilot electronic monitoring program—using smartphones—raised challenges.
- Greg Berman reviews Thomas Abt's book on urban violence in the New York Law Journal