Pretrial Justice Institute shifts position on pretrial RATs

Pretrial Justice Institute (PJI), a key organization fighting nationally for pretrial justice, recently shifted its position on pretrial risk assessment tools.

PJI had previously supported jurisdictions in reforming their pretrial systems, including the use of risk assessment tools. However, on February 7, they stated: “We now see that pretrial risk assessment tools… can no longer be a part of our solution for building equitable pretrial justice systems.

“Regardless of their science, brand, or age, these tools are derived from data reflecting structural racism and institutional inequity that impact our court and law enforcement policies and practices. Use of that data then deepens the inequity.”

PJI also recognized that they had made a mistake when they had advocated for using RATs before, saying that they “did not have the right people at the table when we were designing our roadmap to decarceration, particularly individuals directly impacted by the system.”