Supporting the Implementation of the PSA Tool

JSP has partnered with the Laura and John Arnold Foundation (LJAF) to support its criminal justice reform strategy of using data, research, and analytics to enhance public safety and help systems operate fairly and cost-effectively. As a premier technical assistance provider, JSP delivers technical expertise, training, and data support to selected jurisdictions that are implementing the Public Safety Assessment (PSA), an instrument developed by LJAF to help decision makers understand what risks defendants may pose in failing to appear or being arrested for a new crime during the pretrial period.

Successfully implementing a pretrial risk tool requires more than just assessors who understand how to score the tool accurately and interpret the information it provides. System stakeholders must have confidence in the assessment process, and pretrial services must be in place to ensure the appropriate release, supervision, or incarceration conditions for defendants.

JSP brings extensive experience implementing data-driven policies and practices in public safety systems and building the capacity of local jurisdictions to maintain fidelity over time. We know that successfully implementing a pretrial risk tool requires a comprehensive understanding of the pretrial system and its impact on the larger criminal justice system. JSP brings a holistic approach to technical assistance, taking into account the political, legislative, and cultural context in which the work is being done. Our team works closely with LJAF to evaluate the readiness and ability of sites to implement the PSA. We have provided our technical assistance expertise to more than 20 existing PSA sites, assisting with effective implementation of the tool and improvement of the pretrial context in which the tool is being used.

JSP has or is working with the following sites to implement the PSA (2014-2018)
Allegheny County, Pennsylvania
Bernalillo County, New Mexico
Milwaukee County, Wisconsin
Minnehaha & Pennington Counties, South Dakota
Orleans Parish & City of New Orleans, Louisiana
San Francisco City & County, California
Tulare County, California
Volusia County, Florida
Yakima County, Washington
State of Arizona, 11 Counties
State of Iowa
State of Montana
State of Rhode Island
State of Utah

All of the sites JSP has worked with have successfully implemented the PSA or are in the process of doing so. Several sites have created pretrial programs to enhance the release options for those assessed with the PSA. Several sites have added additional supervision levels or types to address the PSA-identified risks. All sites have improved alignment of pretrial release decisions with legal and evidence-based practices.

In July of 2018, LJAF announced the launch of the first-ever Public Safety Assessment website which offers interested jurisdictions a robust array of resources to support implementation of the PSA. JSP played an important role in developing these resources which include implementation guides, summaries of research to date, and information about the features, purpose, and history of the PSA. The website also provides a help desk for registered users.

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