NACDL on Risk Assessment Instruments
Recognizing the important role impacted community and local criminal defense stakeholders play in identifying the needs and best resources to create a fairer system of pretrial justice, NACDL, along with NLADA, the ACCD, Gideon's Promise, and NAPD issued a Joint Statement on Pretrial Risk Assessment Instruments, Updated March 2019, which highlights these concerns and provides a set of checks and balances which should be utilized to reduce unnecessary detention and help eliminate racial and ethnic bias in the outcomes of pretrial decisions.
Making Sense of Pretrial Risk Assessments, Brandon Buskey and Andrea Woods, June 2018
The Siren Song of Objectivity: Risk Assessment Tools and Racial Disparity, Rick Jones, April 2018
Pretrial Risk Assessment Instruments
Learn about some of the risk assessment instruments currently in use, including Stanford Law School's Policy Lab's Fact Sheets, User Manuals, and Validation and Revalidation Studies.
- Colorado Pretrial Assessment Tool
- Indiana Risk Assessment System
- Ohio Risk Assessment System
- Pretrial Risk Assessment
- Public Safety Assessment
- Virginia Pretrial Risk Assessment Instrument
- Additional Resources
Implemented in 2012, the CPAT is currently undergoing a re-validation study due to be completed in 2020.
Developed from the ORAS, used in Indiana courts as part of a pilot project
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Latessa, E., Smith, P., Lemke, R., Makarios, M., & Lowenkamp, C. (2009). Creation and validation of the Ohio Risk Assessment System: Final report.
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Pre-Trial Suppression & Fourth Amendment Issues
This Trial Guide is a topical and practical handbook examining the nuts and bolts of the most current Fourth Amendment & Pre-Trial Suppression issues encountered in modern criminal cases.
Defense Counsel Playbook for Eyewitness ID Cases
This Trial Guide was written to help counsel use existing case law to its strongest advantage, and to create a framework for appellate challenges urging courts to adopt leading cases.
Ultimate Cross 2.0
This special CLE compilation program includes the highest-rated presentations on Cross-Examination techniques from NACDL's most recent seminars (2017-2019).
Forensic Sciences in Criminal Cases: A Multidiscipline Primer
In order to challenge forensic evidence, experts, reports and findings commonly encountered in the courtroom, an attorney must first have a basic understanding of the forensic issues that they will be confronting.
Implemented as a pilot in 2009, the tool was implemented in all 93 federal districts in 2011. A re-validation study was completed in 2018.
Cohen, T., Lowenkamp C., Hicks, W. (2018). Revalidating the Federal Pretrial Risk Assessment Instrument (PTRA): A Research Summary.
Cadigan, T., & Lowenkamp, C. (2011). Implementing risk assessment in the federal pretrial services system.
Lowenkamp, C., & Whetzel, J. (2009). The development of an actuarial risk assessment instrument for U.S. Pretrial Services.
VanNostrand, Keebler (2009), Pretrial Risk Assessments in the Federal Court
Developed by the Laura and John Arnold Foundation, the PSA is used in approximately 30 jurisdictions, including Arizona, Harris County, Kentucky, and New Jersey.
RTI International (2018) The Public Safety Assessment: A Re-Validation and Assessment of Predictive Utility and Differential Prediction by Race and Gender in Kentucky
Milgram, A., Holsinger, A., VanNostrand, M., & Alsdorf, M. (2015). Pretrial risk assessment: Improving public safety and fairness in pretrial decision-making.
Laura and John Arnold Foundation (2014). Results from the first six months of the Public Safety Assessment-Court in Kentucky.
Laura and John Arnold Foundation (2013). Developing a national model for pretrial risk assessment
Kennedy, S., House, L., & Williams, M. (2013). Using research to improve pretrial justice and public safety: Results from PSA’s risk assessment validation project.
VanNostrand, M., & Lowenkamp, C. (2013). Assessing pretrial risk without a defendant interview
Used in Virginia and in California
VanNostrand, M., & Rose, K. (2009). Pretrial risk assessment in Virginia: The Virginia Pretrial Risk Assessment Instrument.
Danner, M., VanNostrand, M., & Spruance, L. (2016). Race and Gender Neutral Pretrial Risk Assessment, Release Recommendations, and Supervision: VPRAI and Praxis Revised.
Danner, M., VanNostrand, M., & Spruance, L. (2015). Risk-based pretrial release recommendation and supervision guidelines: Exploring the effect on officer recommendations, judicial decision-making, and pretrial outcome.
A Primer on Risk Assessment Instruments for Judges, Prosecutors and Defense Attorneys, Safety + Justice Challenge, MacArthur Foundation (2019)
About Risk Assessments, Pretrial Justice Center for Courts
Q&A Profile Based Risk Assessment for US Pretrial Incarceration, Human Rights Watch (2018)
Risk Assessment Articles, The Marshall Project
Risk Assessments Explained, The Appeal
The Use of Pretrial "Risk Assessment Instruments," A Shared Statemetn of Civil Rights Concerns, The Leadership Conference