Summit County, Ohio: Judge Amy Corrigall Jones, Administrative Judge of the Summit County Court of Common Pleas General Division announced today that the Summit County Pretrial Risk Assessment Instrument (SCPRAI) has been validated, finding no gender or race bias.
SCPRAI is a research-based, data-driven pretrial risk assessment tool that provides judges with objective information about the likelihood that a defendant will commit a new crime or will fail to return to court and often serves as the foundation for a bond recommendation.
Pretrial risk assessment instruments are developed using generally accepted research methods to predict the likelihood of failure to appear and danger to the community pending trial and are validated to ensure accuracy in predicting pretrial risk in the community. Instruments are developed to equitably classify defendants regardless of their race, ethnicity, gender, or financial status.
Summit County Pretrial Services operates under the direction of the Summit County Court of Common Pleas General Division, providing a necessary function to the court that directly impacts costs in the jail and community safety.
Pretrial Services investigates and interviews defendants booked into Summit County Jail and charged with a felony. Pretrial officers use the SCPRAI to determine risk of failure to appear or continued criminal activity if released on bond. Using the assessment results, criminal records and personal information about the defendants, pretrial officers make bond recommendations to the judges of both the Court of Common Pleas and local municipal courts. The average number of defendants interviewed annually is 3,702.
Summit County Pretrial Services has been using the SCPRAI since June 2005 and was last validated in 2008. Since then, significant changes have taken place in the community and justice system. Re-validation for the jurisdiction is a best practice to make necessary adjustments and ensure proper administration and outcomes.
Under Judge Corrigall Jones’ leadership, the Court engaged Dr. Christopher Lowenkamp to perform the study. Lowenkamp is internationally regarded as an expert in offender risk assessment, supervision practices, and the evaluation of correctional interventions.
Lowenkamp reviewed and analyzed pretrial risk assessment investigations conducted over a one year period, looking at the type of charge (violent or non-violent), gender, race, bond amounts, whether the defendant was detained or released, failure to appear and rearrest rates.
“The Court is pleased to have completed the revalidation process with a finding that there is no race or gender bias,” stated Corrigall Jones.
Continued Jones, “The Court will move to enhance the assessment to provide further guidance and pretrial recommendations as it is our duty to help protect communities and maintain a pretrial system that promotes safety, equity, and justice.”
Lowenkamp also compared SCPRAI outcomes to the Arnold Ventures tool, the Public Safety Assessment (PSA) and found that both tools performed similarly.
Contact: Susan Sweeney, Assistant Court Executive Officer