In Defense Of Data-Based Pretrial Risk Assessment

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Law360 on 11/8/2020 by Madeline Carter and Alison Shames

Across the country, a rapidly increasing number of states, counties and cities have undertaken ambitious efforts to improve the way decisions are made about who is released and who is detained before trial.

Their sense of urgency is driven by the fact that our nation’s jails are filled with people charged with low-level offenses who are detained because they are unable to meet nominal financial conditions of release and not because they were likely to fail to appear in court or be arrested for another offense. Meanwhile, many of the very small proportion of people who may, in fact, pose a threat to community safety often pay their money bond and are quickly released.