Open Letter Regarding Risk Assessments
NAPSA has endorsed an Open Letter Regarding Risk Assessments authored by Sarah Desmarais, Jim Austin, and John Monahan, in response to a statement the Pretrial Justice Institute (PJI) released that called for the abolition of pretrial risk assessment instruments. NAPSA agrees with the authors' criticism of how the scientific evidence is presented in the PJI statement. We hope that the author's open letter and NAPSA's previous affirmation of the use of risk assessment instruments will foster discussion about the proper use and role of RAI's in the justice system. You can read the open letter here
NAPSA Board Affirms Election of Officers
Because only single candidates were nominated during the 2020 election process, the NAPSA Board of Directors eliminated the 2020 election and affirmed the election of Domingo Corona as Treasurer, Chris Dozier as the Federal Representative, Eric Schmidt as the Midwest Region Director, and Joel Bishop as the Southern Region Director - all position are effective January 1, 2021.
APPR Announces Learning Sites Project
The Advancing Pretrial and Research project (APPR) is offering a new opportunity to jurisdictions that are interested in making their pretrial justice system more fair and effective. APPR has just released a Request for Applications (RFA) to participate in its Learning Sites project. Jurisdictions selected to be Learning Sites will work with TA providers and peer practitioners through an online workspace to analyze and make improvements to their pretrial systems, including adoption of the Public Safety Assessment (PSA). You can learn more about APPR and the Learning Sites project and access the RFA here.
NAPSA Releases COVID-19 Survey Results
As state and local jurisdictions were dealing with the onset of the pandemic, NAPSA created a survey to learn what responses to COVID-19 were being taken by pretrial service agencies across the United States. We wanted to learn how various agencies had been impacted and understand in greater details how practices may have changed as a result of COVID-19. In sharing this information broadly, we can learn from one another and start a conversation for how we can be better prepared for the future. Understanding how practices have been modified pre-and-post- COVID-19, will help us assess whether the beneficial policies and practices being implemented have potential for expansion and to understand what future reforms are possible. To access the survey results, please click here. To view an article written by The Crime Report about the survey findings, please click here.
APPR Announces New Website
As a partner in the Advancing Pretrial Policy and Research (APPR) initiative, we’re excited to announce APPR’s new website, advancingpretrial.org. The website reflects APPR’s vision of fair, just, effective pretrial practices. Advancingpretrial.org will help pretrial practitioners and their community partners find information and resources to support comprehensive, systemwide approaches to advancing pretrial justice. Explore the new site and share it with your criminal justice partners.
NAPSA Standards on Pretrial Release, 2020 Edition
The NAPSA has published its revised 2020 Edition of the National Association of Pretrial Services Agencies’ (NAPSA) Standards on Pretrial Release continues the mandate of previous Editions—to describe the components of an effective, legal, and evidence-based bail system. It also updates the Standards with the developing body of knowledge about best and promising practices in the pretrial field and changes to the legal definition of and the requirements for fair and reasonable bail decision-making. Revisions from past Editions include: (1) a focus on a systems approach to improving bail decision making, with broader and more defined roles for the court, prosecution, and defense; (2) greater recognition and advocacy of pretrial services agencies as an essential element of effective bail systems; (3) a call to ban the use of money as a type of bail, a requirement of pretrial supervision or a means of detention; and, (4) support for empirically developed and validated pretrial risk assessments to help predict the likelihood of return to court and arrest-free pretrial behavior and to assist in identifying conditions appropriate to specified risk factors. View the complete document here
Statement of Support for Pretrial Risk Assessments and Early Release of Standard 2.8
The National Association of Pretrial Services Agencies (NAPSA) is the professional association for pretrial release and diversion practitioners. Our goal is to make pretrial justice the norm in America’s courts by promoting rational and evidence-based pretrial decision making and practices. This is best reflected in our National Standards on Pretrial Release: Revised 2020, set for publication on March 1, 2020. This edition continues the mandate of past NAPSA Standards to describe the components of an effective legal and evidence-based bail system. They also strengthen NAPSA’s position against the use of money in pretrial release or detention decisions and our support for empirically-developed pretrial assessment tools used in conjunction with specified pretrial practices, independent pretrial services agencies, and a systems-based approach to bail reform.
Our continued support for empirical pretrial assessment tools is especially relevant given the discussion about these assessments in the pretrial field. Many advocates for bail reform have raised concerns and expressed opposition to these instruments; due in part to the potential for misuse of assessments by practitioners but mainly on the belief that these tools are inherently racially and ethnically biased. Stakeholders need to continually review justice system practices to eliminate racial, gender, and socio-economic disparities, not only in risk assessments but in practice and process. To read our full statement and Standard 2.8, click here