In most jurisdictions we interviewed, the judge or magistrate and both the prosecution and the defense attorney can view an accused person’s RAT score. In some places, especially when a jurisdiction is just piloting a tool, only the pretrial service agency can see the scores, as the RAT is still being tested and does not yet impact pretrial decisions.
Sometimes, the lawyers on either or both sides have to request to see RAT scores.
Jurisdictions may also vary in terms of how and when scores are made available to the judge or magistrate, lawyers, and the accused person. Some may be able to see scores well in advance of the initial hearing, while for others the arraignment is the first time they get the score, if they have access to it at all. In a few jurisdictions we interviewed, no one saw the scores before the preliminary arraignment.
Our interviewee from Alachua County, Florida, said that the scores are read in open court for the first time at the arraignment, and no party has a chance to see them beforehand.1Interview with Media Mobilizing Project, 7/2/2019. See Interview Summary for more information
Similarly, according to our interview, in Connecticut, the pretrial services staff present the tool’s recommendation via oral presentation in court. The defense can ask for a copy of the recommendation during the arraignment, but cannot keep it.2Interview with Media Mobilizing Project, 8/30/2017. See Interview Summary for more information
Some jurisdictions, such as Ada County, Idaho, make sure that the accused person can see their own scores as well, according to our interviewee.3Interview with Media Mobilizing Project, 7/15/2019. See Interview Summary for more information
However, most jurisdictions we interviewed did not specify that the accused person could view their own scores at all.
What exactly is presented to the judge or magistrate may vary as well. Some jurisdictions may include the raw score and even a breakdown of the factors, while others only report the recommended risk level and pretrial recommendation without any context as to what factors went into generating those scores or recommendations.
Most of the time we had to request this information through an interview, as the degree of transparency is not readily available on websites or through other public means. Strafford County, New Hampshire, is a rare example of a jurisdiction that specifies to whom the assessment is available directly on their website:4Strafford County, New Hampshire: Pretrial Programming, Community Corrections judges, prosecutors, defense attorneys, county attorneys’ offices, law enforcement personnel, and probation officers.
|Who sees results?||Count of project-interviewed jurisdictions|
|Judge and both attorneys||20|
|Judge, attorneys can see upon request||2|
|Judge and prosecutor||2|
|Judge and defense||1|
|Pretrial staff only||3|
|Judge, information is public||1|
|Commissioner or magistrate||3|
Source: Generated from Media Mobilizing Project interviews