We seek to apply data science to the field of criminal justice, working with jurisdictions to improve their use of risk assessments, while promoting the ideals of transparency and fairness.
The Center for Court Innovation is committed to improving decision-making in the criminal justice process. When used carefully and ethically, risk assessments can facilitate more informed decisions on bail and pretrial detention. At a time when pretrial detention has been identified as a primary driver of jail populations, risk assessments have contributed to important reforms, promoting the diversion of defendants from jail.
At the Center, we have developed risk assessments for use with specific defendant populations (such as the Criminal Court Assessment Tool), and offer expert assistance for criminal justice practitioners working to implement their own instruments. We are also committed to advancing an informed public conversation about both the potential and the challenges of risk assessment. To this end, we have hosted dialogues bringing together policy-makers with data scientists and ethicists and examined the issue of how risk assessment impacts racial disparities.
MacArthur Foundation’s Safety and Justice Challenge
The MacArthur Foundation’s Safety and Justice Challenge seeks to reduce over-incarceration by changing the way America thinks about and uses jails.
Rethinking Rikers Island
By providing support to the Independent Commission on Criminal Justice and Incarceration Reform, we're aiding in the effort to reduce New York City’s jail population and close Rikers Island.
This paper explains the science underlying risk-based decision-making and explores both the promise and controversies associated with the increasing application of “big data” to the field of criminal justice.
This report lays out a series of reforms to significantly reduce New York City's jail population, a move that would also cut costs substantially. To identify ways to safely reduce the use of jail, the New York City Mayor’s Office of Criminal Justice commissioned research on the path of criminal cases from arrest through bail decisions to sentencing.
A brief assessment tool designed for high-volume criminal justice environments is a strong predictor of recidivism as administered to pretrial defendants in New York City, according to this comprehensive validation study. Unlike many such tools, the Criminal Court Assessment Tool, developed by the Center for Court Innovation, identifies a defendant's risk of re-offending and also ascertains the needs potentially fueling criminal behavior, facilitating referrals to effective interventions.
Citing our research, former New York Chief Judge Jonathan Lippman makes a case for the increased use of pretrial risk assessments while also emphasizing the importance of transparency and responding to criticisms of the tools.
The Center for Court Innovation, in partnership with the U.S. Department of Justice's Bureau of Justice Assistance and the Quinnipiac University School of Law, hosted Justice Innovation in Times of Change: New Challenges, New Opportunities, a one-day conference in September 2016, providing an opportunity for practitioners from both inside and outside the justice system to learn about a range of topics related to chronic lower-level offending.