Stanford Pretrial Risk Assessment Tools Factsheet Project

An array of pretrial risk assessment tools are currently being used in the United States but there are no clear, standardized instruments available to audit and compare those tools. We developed the Risk Assessment Factsheet (RAF) as a structured, consistent set of key questions regarding important aspects of the design, deployment, and evaluation of pretrial risk assessment tools that stakeholders can use to obtain meaningful information about those tools.

The blank RAF template provides a straightforward, standardized mechanism for stakeholders to use to conduct such audits and comparisons of any pretrial risk assessment tool they choose. The completed RAFs include detailed answers on the template, carefully gathered and assembled by our team and then verified with the appropriate RAF developer. We have completed RAFs for several of the most commonly used risk assessment tools:

  • the Public Safety Assessment (PSA)
  • the Colorado Pretrial Assessment Tool (CPAT)
  • the Ohio Risk Assessment Tool (ORAS-PAT)
  • the Correctional Offender Management Profiling for Alternative Sanctions (COMPAS) Pretrial Release Risk Scale (PRRS-II), and
  • the Virginia Pretrial Risk Assessment Instrument (VPRAI).

Our hope is that the RAF template, completed RAFs, and related work products will lead to greater accountability and transparency on the part of risk assessment providers and will help stakeholders make better informed decisions regarding whether or not, and how, to acquire, implement, and use risk assessments fairly and responsibly.

The RAF template builds on extensive research on the pretrial risk assessment landscape as well as conversations with and feedback from numerous stakeholders, including county agencies, probation officers, and civil society organizations. The RAF template is inspired by Mitchell et. al’s 2018 Model Cards for Model Reporting and Gebru et. al’s 2018 Datasheets for Datasets.

A closeup of the lock of a jail cell with iron bars and a bunch of key in the locking mechanism with the door open

The RAF template was developed by Stanford students Marissa Gerchick, Stevie DeGroff, Dan Beksha, Jackson Eilers, Julie Ann Fukunaga, Emily Lemmerman, Aneesh Pappu, and Marlena Wisniak, working with Professor Phil Malone and Bryan Casey, in a winter & spring 2019 Policy Lab class, The Future of Algorithms, at Stanford Law School.

The Sample Risk Assessment Factsheet by Stanford Law School Policy Lab is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.


The completed Risk Assessment Factsheets by Stanford Law School Policy Lab are licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.

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Attribution under either of these licenses must be provided to the Stanford Law School Policy Lab.