Christopher T. Lowenkamp
"Although the use of pretrial risk assessments has increased in recent years, the proportion of jurisdictions employing these instruments remains low, and is estimated to be no more than 10%. This low adoption rate is due in large part to the fact that existing risk assessments require that information be collected through interviews with defendants. Conducting these interviews and verifying the information is a time-consuming and resource-intensive process that many jurisdictions cannot afford" (p. 3). There were only eight multi-jurisdictional pretrial risk-assessments being used in 2012, all of which depended on defendant interviews. The foundation for an effective non-interview-based risk assessment was the Kentucky Pretrial Risk Assessment (KPRA), an objective instrument comprised of 12 risk factors, some of which were interview-based. The validated assessment was the KPRA-S, a seven risk factor assessment. The KPRA-S was found to accurately determine low-, moderate-, and high-risk defendants. The assessment was also found to predict those individuals prone to fail to appear (FTA) or commit new criminal activity (NCA) as well as the KPRA.
The impact of evidence-based training on the level of probation officers’ (POs) knowledge of “what works” in effective interventions and also on the POs’ attitudes about providing better service are examined. This study shows that “the training had an immediate effect on several indicators regarding knowledge of evidence-based correctional practices, belief in self-efficacy regarding offender change (on the part of probation officers), and an increasing awareness of the importance of core correctional practices and the effectiveness of the IBIS [Integrated Behavioral Intervention Strategies] skills … these changes represent an attitudinal change on the part of the POs who were participating in the training.”
"The current study seeks to investigate the effect of pretrial supervision on the likelihood of failure to appear (FTA) and new criminal activity (NCA) before case disposition. First, drawing on data from two states, this research isolates two groups of defendants: those released pending case disposition with supervision and those released without supervision. Second, this research compares the two groups across several descriptive factors regarding likelihood of FTA and NCA while in the community pending case disposition" (p. 3). Sections following an executive summary include: introduction; sample description; and findings regarding the impact of pretrial supervision on the likelihood of FTA and NCA while awaiting case disposition. When moderate- and high-risk defendants had pretrial supervision they were 33% less likely not to appear in court, while all those defendants who were supervised for 180 days or more were 36% less likely to be re-arrested for new offenses.
"Each time a person is arrested and accused of a crime, a decision must be made as to whether the accused person, known as the defendant, will be detained in jail awaiting trial or will be released back into the community. But pretrial detention is not simply an either-or proposition; many defendants are held for a number of days before being released at some point before their trial. The release-and-detention decision takes into account a number of different concerns, including protecting the community, the need for defendants to appear in court, and upholding the legal and constitutional rights afforded to accused persons awaiting trial. It carries enormous consequences not only for the defendant but also for the safety of the community" (p. 3). This study examines the relationship between pretrial detention and sentencing. Sections following an executive summary include: introduction; sample description; and findings for eight research questions regarding the relations between pretrial detention and sentencing. Defendants who are detained for the entire pretrial period are three times more likely to be sentenced to jail or prison and to receive longer jail and prison sentences.
One way to unwind mass incarceration without compromising public safety is to use risk assessment instruments in sentencing and corrections. Although these instruments figure prominently in current reforms, critics argue that benefits in crime control will be offset by an adverse effect on racial minorities … we examine the relationships among race, risk assessment (the Post Conviction Risk Assessment [PCRA]), and future arrest.
"The purpose of this document is to provide Drug Court staff with a concise and current overview of important issues relating to offender risk assessment and to provide a list of recommended contemporary risk instruments. Numerous risk scales are currently used in the United States … to assess static risk factors and criminogenic needs (dynamic risk factors that are related to the client’s propensity for criminal behavior), of which substance abuse is but one. Almost all of these are applied to predict risk post-adjudication" (p. 1). This publication focuses on those recommended and promising risk and needs instruments best for drug courts. Sections of this document include: risk assessment-an overview for drug courts; advantages, limits, and usage or risk assessment approaches in contemporary practice; issues for drub courts to consider in selecting risk instruments; selection criteria and overview of risk assessment instruments; best practice guidelines for integrating risk and clinical measures; summary of recommended and promising risk and need assessment instruments; summary of recommended purpose-specific risk assessment instruments; ten principles for using risk assessment; description of recommended risk instruments—Correctional Offender Management Profiling for Alternative Sanctions (COMPAS), Level of Service-Case Management Inventory (LS/CMI), Post Conviction Risk Assessment (PCRA), the Ontario Domestic Assault Risk Assessment (ODARA), and the Violence Risk Appraisal Guide-Revised (VRAG-R); promising risk instruments—Ohio Risk Assessment System (ORAS)—Pretrial Assessment Tool (PAT) and Community Supervision TOOL (CST), and the Risk and Needs Triage (RANT).
"The release-and-detention decision takes into account a number of different concerns, including protecting the community, the need for defendants to appear in court, and upholding the legal and constitutional rights afforded to accused persons awaiting trial. It carries enormous consequences not only for the defendant but also for the safety of the community … Using data from the Commonwealth of Kentucky, this research investigates the impact of pretrial detention on 1) pretrial outcomes (failure to appear and arrest for new criminal activity); and 2) post-disposition recidivism" (p. 3). Sections following an executive summary include: introduction; sample description; research objective one—investigate the relationship between length of pretrial detention and pretrial outcome; and research objective two—investigate the relationship between pretrial detention, as well as the length of pretrial detention, and new criminal activity post-disposition (NCA-PD). There appears to a direct link between how long low- and moderate-risk defendants are in pretrial detention and the chances that they will commit new crimes.