With a combination of volunteers, staff, and fellows from our grassroots community-based organization and our vibrant organizing community, Media Mobilizing Project has gathered data on the implementation of pretrial risk assessment tools (RATs) since the spring of 2017.
We scoured the web for secondary sources about the implementation of risk assessment in every state, and conducted interviews with pretrial service administrators and system stakeholder staff members who handle risk assessments on a daily basis. These interviewees included representatives from court services, detention centers, sheriff’s offices, community corrections agencies, attorneys general offices, the district attorney’s offices, and several probation departments.
We used these data to map out, to the best of our ability, where and how pretrial RATs are deployed across the United States. We created a database with over 300 jurisdictions, covering over 1000 counties, that tracks the pretrial risk assessment tools jurisdictions use in their decision-making.
We also gathered information about how these tools are used in different jurisdictions and the impact they have on jail populations, racial disparities, and other system changes.
The goal of this database is to provide a resource for communities fighting to end pretrial jailing and supervision and to end mass incarceration. We seek to arm organizers, advocates, lawyers, and the public with knowledge of how these tools work in different communities in order to help our communities organize more impactfully to end pretrial incarceration. We are not, however, professional researchers, and we do not expect our data to be perfect.
We did NOT get a snapshot of every single tool in use across the country. It is very possible that there are more tools out there that we do not know about. We also could be wrong about the tools we have or how they are used – we could have talked to the wrong person or the tool in use could have changed since we talked to them.
But we did want to create a public place where we can update this information, so communities are able to understand more rigorously how pretrial incarceration and decision-making works in their cities or towns.
In this section, you can review the Purpose and Caveats section, explaining the reasoning behind the site, read the Methodology section, detailing how we conducted our research, download our data in the Interviews and Database section, explore articles and resources in the Reading List section, and learn about our organizations in the About section.