CrimProf Blog

Editor: Kevin Cole
Univ. of San Diego School of Law

Friday, May 26, 2023

DeMichele et al. on Predictive Biases and the PSA

Matthew DeMicheleIan SilverRyan LabrecqueDebbie DawesPamela K. Lattimore, and Stephen Tueller (RTI International, RTI International, RTI International, RTI International, RTI International - Headquarters - Research Triangle Park and RTI International - Headquarters - Research Triangle Park) have posted Testing Predictive Biases at the Intersection of Race-Ethnicity and Sex: A Multi-Site Evaluation of a Pretrial Risk Assessment Tool on SSRN. Here is the abstract:
Pretrial assessments provide courtroom actors with objective information about the likelihood that someone who has been charged with a criminal offense would engage in criminal behavior if released prior to trial. Although prior research supports the ability of assessments to predict pretrial outcomes, there are concerns that assessments may inadvertently exacerbate racial-ethnic and sex disparities found in the larger criminal legal system. In the current study, we conduct a multi-site predictive bias tests of a widely used pretrial instrument—the Public Safety Assessment (PSA)—across six racial-ethnic and sex groups (i.e., White males, White females, Black males, Black females, Hispanic males, Hispanic females). Study results support the PSA as a valid and consistent predictor of failure to appear, new criminal activity, and new violent criminal activity across these six racial-ethnic and sex groups. These findings support the use the PSA and identify several areas for future research.

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