Pretrial Risk Assessment Tools: A Primer for Judges, Prosecutors, and Defense Attorneys

Macarthur Safety and Justice ChallengeA vibrant national debate is occurring as to what role, if any, pretrial risk assessment tools can or should play in bail reform. This issue brief from the MacArthur Foundation Safety and Justice Challenge is intended to inform this ongoing debate by describing pretrial risk assessment tools and what they are designed to do.

The brief is intended to offer a primer to provide legal stakeholders with an overview of pretrial risk assessment tools and how they operate; to describe the state of the research on their predictive validity and impact on pretrial decision-making; and to clearly communicate common objections and implementation problems.