Shelby Officials Test Risk Assessment Tool for Making Bail Decisions

In an effort to reduce its jail population, Shelby County plans to test a risk assessment tool to help judges make bail decisions on cases involving nonviolent defendants, The Daily Memphian reports. The risk assessment tool, called Public Safety Assessment (PSA), will use computer-generated data, or algorithm-based factors including the defendant’s criminal history and past court appearances, to determine the likelihood of them returning to court and if they will commit a new crime. A judge then uses these computer-generated scores from the PSA tool to help decide if defendants will be held in jail on bail or if they will be released on a promise to return to court at a later date. The pretrial defendants who will be assessed for the pilot program are nonviolent and low-risk offenders.
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