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Conference of State Court Administrators (COSCA) (Williamsburg, VA)

Anyone looking to reduce the amount of beds they need for pretrial detention should read this publication. It explains why evidence-based assessment of offenders can help reduce the need for current levels of or increased need for pretrial detention capacity. “Evidence-based assessment of the risk a defendant will fail to appear or will endanger others if released can increase successful pretrial release without financial conditions that may defendants are unable to meet. Imposing conditions on a defendant that are appropriate for that individual following a valid pretrial assessment substantially reduces pretrial detention without impairing the judicial process of threatening public safety” (p. 2). This document is divided into five sections: introduction; the law; the consequences of pretrial release versus incarceration; evidence-based risk assessment—the lesson of “Moneyball” and the challenge of adopting new practices; and the way forward.

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