Arnold Public Safety Assessment Tool

The San Francisco Pretrial Diversion Project has been a dedicated leader in San Francisco’s criminal justice reform movement for over 40 years. Today, the agency focuses intently on implementing, facilitating, and sustaining new strategies to improve client outcomes and bolster community safety. Instead of relying on the arbitrary and ineffectual pretrial standard of moneyed bail, SFPDP has facilitated the introduction of a Public Safety Assessment (PSA) tool in San Francisco’s pretrial justice system. This tool, created by the John and Laura Arnold Foundation and introduced in April 2016, is statistically validated to measure pretrial risk. To minimize potential for bias, the tool is not based on defendant interviews and does not consider a defendant’s social or community factors. To determine which factors are most predictive of general reoffense, future violent crime, and failure to appear to future court dates, the Arnold Foundation analyzed more than 1.5 million cases from over 300 jurisdictions.

SFPDP spearheaded PSA implementation and continues to calculate and present PSA assessments to judicial stakeholders. Based on the relative confluence of predictive variables in a defendant’s criminal background, the PSA either recommends release or no release.

In turn, judges will refer the tool’s recommendation and the supplemental materials that SFPDP provides to determine whether a defendant will be granted pretrial release. In the cases where defendants are released, SFPDP oversees three distinct levels of pretrial supervision: OR-No Active Supervision, OR-Minimum Supervision, and Assertive Case Management.

Click here for more information about The Arnold Foundation’s Public Safety Assessment Tool