Last year, San Francisco began using an algorithm to assess whether someone accused of a crime and awaiting trial is safe to be let out of jail.
Fifteen months later, prosecutors say the risk assessment tool appears to be working: According to information provided to KQED by the San Francisco District Attorney's Office, just 6 percent of defendants who were released from jail based on the “public safety assessment,” or PSA, over those 15 months committed a new crime; 20 percent failed to appear in court.
The findings come at a crucial time: California leaders are weighing legislation that could expand this type of risk assessment tool to all 58 counties in the state. Democratic lawmakers are pushing a bill - which Gov. Jerry Brown and California Chief Justice Tani Cantil-Sakauye have promised to support - that would reduce the use of money bail and create pretrial service agencies, like the one in San Francisco that administers the PSA tool.
To read more of Marisa Lagos' article, please click here.