It’s easy to fall into a defeatist mindset around inmate litigation. Even the most dedicated justice professionals can become jaded over time, and for good reason. Some inmates arelitigious. Some lawsuits are frivolous. Yet many issues spring from a legitimate complaint that can be easily addressed by your agency before spiraling into lawsuit status.
A typical week for the Palm Beach County Courts (Florida’s 15th Judicial Circuit) includes hearing almost 2,000 traffic and criminal cases at three separate locations. No matter how hard courtroom personnel worked at processing these cases they were often left with a backlog that took several days to complete.
As a jail administrator, let’s say you’re not only able to implement a validated classification instrument to help with inmate classification, you’ve also installed a series of modules to help with overall organization and workflow management. But soon you realize that these systems are filled with features that don’t apply to how you run your jail, and the features that are supposed to help you break down.
The website ProPublica recently published a story that focused on the scientific validity of COMPAS, raising questions about racial bias. As a result of the article and the subsequent national attention that it garnered, Northpointe launched an in-depth analysis of the data samples used by ProPublica.
State by state, and even on a more micro municipal level, we are seeing the conversation around justice and corrections evolve and transform daily. As philosophical, political, policy, and practical debates take shape, what can you look to as your "north star" when setting the course for success within your agency?
As the creators of the COMPAS, a widely used and trusted Risk and Needs Assessment, it’s important to us to be part of the conversation. There are some common myths in play, and we want to address those - but more importantly, we want to share more about who Northpointe is and speak plainly on the issue of bias in our criminal justice system.
In the last few years, pretrial reform has accelerated to an almost breakneck speed. The traditional practice of setting monetary bail based strictly on a person’s current criminal charges and their criminal history is shifting to practices that look for alternative ways to handle pretrial decisions based on a person’s risk level. Those who work in corrections are wondering how to navigate a system that will no longer rely on money bail.
You’ve heard that risk/needs assessments can provide plenty of benefits: these tools support criminal justice professionals as they make decisions related to pretrial release, inmate classification and programming, supervision case management, and treatment needs.
With so much conversation around pretrial practices and so much legislative change happening now and on the horizon, it can be difficult to fully understand their impact on our processes. Staying ahead of the reform conversation is no easy feat – especially when you’re focused on ensuring compliance and keeping your community safe.