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
Latessa, E., Smith, P., Lemke, R., Makarios, M., & Lowenkamp, C. (2009). Creation and validation of the Ohio Risk Assessment System: Final report.
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
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A Defender’s Guide to Federal Evidence: A Trial Practice Handbook for Criminal Defense Attorneys
This Guide to Federal Evidence is the only federal evidence handbook written exclusively for criminal defense lawyers. The Guide analyzes each Federal Rule of Evidence and outlines the main evidentiary issues that confront criminal defense lawyers. It also summarizes countless defense favorable cases and provides tips on how to avoid common evidentiary pitfalls. The Guide contains multiple user-friendly flowcharts aimed at helping the criminal defense lawyer tackle evidence problems. A Defender’s Guide to Federal Evidence is an indispensable tool in preparing a case for trial.
Modern Digital Evidence & Technologies in Criminal Cases
Modern cases need modern defenses, and modern lawyers can't practice with an outdated playbook. This program is a contemporary training that identifies emerging technologies and digital evidence encountered in today's criminal cases and arms you with the tools necessary to combat expert witnesses, prosecutorial overreach, and an uneducated judge and jury. This comprehensive CLE program covers both general aspects of new technologies as well as practical courtroom application and legal challenges to the use of these new technologies.
Top Shelf DUI Defenses: The Law, The Science, The Techniques (2021)
If you are serious about being an effective DUI defense advocate, or if you’re considering adding DUI defenses to your portfolio, you need to know the latest scientific and legal strategies to optimize your success at trial. Learn from the best-of-the-best in the field in this unique CLE Program, updated for 2021.
Defending Modern Drug Cases (2021)
From challenging the arrest and seizure to picking a jury and cross-examining police officers, defense attorneys handling drug cases must be able to construct a defense that will increase the chances of the client getting a positive result for your client.
Effective motion practice, juror selection, and storytelling have never been more important. This seminar will introduce defense counsel to techniques that have been used at recent drug trials to rebut specific claims and overcome the emotion created in today’s criminal legal system.
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