Most states use at least one pretrial RAT.
Some states require the use of a specific tool, mandated through legislation or court order. Other states have decided that counties must use a tool, but allow counties to determine which tool to use. Still other states may encourage the use of a tool or may not have any laws that speak to RAT use. Many counties have determined on their own to adopt one.
The majority of jurisdictions use common national RATs, such as the Public Safety Assessment (PSA) or Virginia Pretrial Risk Assessment Instrument (VPRAI). Our research found 11 entire states and 178 additional counties in other states using common national tools or pretrial decisions: the PSA, VPRAI or VPRAI-R, ORAS-PAT, or COMPAS.
Colorado, Florida, Nevada, Connecticut, Delaware, Minnesota, and Alaska have all developed their own RATs to serve their specific states.
Over 50 counties have also created or modified tools specifically for their county. Three jurisdictions in Kansas all developed their own local county tool, as have counties in California, Texas, Florida, Michigan, and Maryland, among others.
Jurisdictions also vary not only in what kind of tool they use, but also in how long the tool has been in place and how it is incorporated into the pretrial system.
Some localities have been using RATs for years or even decades, while others are only now adopting them. For example, Baltimore, Maryland, has had a pretrial release program and risk instrument in place for over 50 years,1Open Society Foundations: Steps in the Right Direction: Maryland Counties Leading the Way in Pretrial Services and its tool has gone through several major revisions since the original 1966 version.2Media Mobilizing Project communication. North Dakota, on the other hand, selected pilot sites in October 20193Jack Dura: North Dakota pretrial services pilot project moves ahead, Bismarck Tribune for its new pretrial risk assessment program, which will report to the state legislature in 2021.
Look for your state or county in the map below, then click on the link for more information. You’ll be able to get access to the master spreadsheet with more information on what we learned about RATs and pretrial systems in your county, and to find our summaries of interviews with some pretrial decision-makers nationwide.