National Association of Pretrial Services Agencies News:

National Standards for Pretrial Release and Risk Assessment Instruments:

The National Association of Pretrial Services Agencies is pleased to announce the upcoming release of its National Standards on Pretrial Release: Revised 2020. This Edition continues the mandate of past Standard editions to describe the components of an effective, legal, and evidence-based bail system. In addition, the 2020 Edition codifies our position to ban the use of money as bail, as a means of detention, or as a requirement of pretrial supervision or conditions of release. We also advocate that pretrial services agencies utilize the essential elements of effective bail systems to focus on a systems approach to improve bail decision making.(

Perhaps the most striking addition in the 2020 Standards, and the most topical within the pretrial reform movement, is our recommendation that justice systems adopt empirically developed pretrial risk assessments to predict the likelihood of court appearance and arrest-free behavior pending adjudication. We base this recommendation in part on over two decades of research on risk at the pretrial stage and on the experiences of jurisdictions such as Washington, D.C., Kentucky, and New Jersey who have adopted risk tools in bail decision making. Most importantly, we see risk assessments as critical in helping inform the conversation about the nature of bias in local bail decisions and the best strategies to address and eliminate unfair and unequal bail outcomes.

Given how vital the current discussion about risk assessments is in the pretrial field, NAPSA will release a more detailed statement concerning our support for this practice as a complement to the 2020 Standards. We hope these documents will help inform continuing conversation about the proper use of validated risk assessments to promote fair and effective bail practices.

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