Using Research to Improve Pretrial Justice and Public Safety: Results from PSA’s Risk Assessment Validation Project

PSA has used some form of a risk assessment tool since its inception in 1967—which represents the longest continuous use of risk instruments in the pretrial field. In 2009, PSA began the development and validation of its newest risk assessment tool, which maintains the best features of the current tool, while also enhancing predictive ability. The risk assessment instrument was finalized in 2012. The result is an instrument that we expect will improve our ability to predict future misconduct, classify defendants into the appropriate levels of supervision, and target Agency resources to best promote pretrial justice and enhance community safety.

An article offering a descriptive overview of PSA’s new pretrial assessment instrument is featured in the June 2013 issue of Federal Probation. As the implementation process moves forward and PSA compiles and analyzes data on the instrument, the authors plan to present more detailed information on the implementation process and data analysis.

The article is written by PSA’s Spurgeon Kennedy, Director, Office of Strategic Development; Laura House, PhD, Senior Program Analyst; and Michael O. Williams, Court Services Program Director.

Federal Probation is the journal of the Administrative Office of the United States Courts. To read the article, visit: