Cuyahoga County

Cleveland Municipal Court to implement data-driven pretrial risk assessment

12/6/2016

The Cleveland Municipal Court announced that it will implement the Public Safety Assessment (PSA), a data-driven risk assessment tool that provides objective information that judges can consider when deciding whether to release or detain a defendant prior to trial.

Developed by the Laura and John Arnold Foundation (LJAF), the PSA uses nine evidence-based factors to produce two risk scores: one predicting the likelihood that an individual will commit a new crime if released pending trial, and another predicting the likelihood that he or she will fail to return for a future court hearing. The tool will also flag defendants that it calculates an elevated risk of committing a violent crime. Scores fall on a scale of one to six, with higher scores indicating a greater level of risk. This neutral, reliable data can help judges gauge the risk that a defendant poses.

However, the tool does not replace the judge or impede his or her discretion or authority in any way. The final ruling about whether to release or detain a defendant always rests with the judge.

Click here to read Cleveland Municipal Court's full press release and to learn more about the Public Safety Assessment.