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Redesign of CJA’s Risk Assessment System Discussed by Panel

Posted on Sep 22, 2017

Plans for the redesign of CJA’s risk assessment system, long used in New York City courts to make recommendations regarding release and bail, were introduced in a panel discussion on Monday, September 18, hosted by the Center on the Administration of Criminal Law at New York University.  The well attended event was titled Measuring Justice: Redesigning New York City's Pretrial Risk Assessment and Recommendation System.  Co-sponsored jointly by CJA and the New York City Mayor’s Office of Criminal Justice, the panel was moderated by CJA Executive Director Aubrey Fox.  Speaking to an overflow crowd, the panelists included Richard Peterson, CJA’s Research Director, Alex Crohn, General Counsel at the New York City Mayor’s Office of Criminal Justice, and two widely respected researchers who are collaborating with CJA in the development of the new risk assessment tool:  Marie VanNostrand, the Justice Project Manager for Luminosity Inc., and Jens Ludwig, Faculty Director of the University of Chicago Crime Lab.

The event provided a forum for an open discussion about the values and pitfalls of pretrial risk assessments throughout the country.  In a format guaranteed to encourage audience participation, the panelists did not present prepared talks, but rather answered questions submitted by the audience on index cards throughout the two-hour meeting.  Many questions focused on issues of transparency and bias in risk assessments, concerns that were addressed thoughtfully by the panelists.

From left:  Richard Peterson, Alex Crohn, Marie VanNostrand, Jens Ludwig, Aubrey Fox.

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