The Partnership on AI (PAI) published a report last week about the use of algorithmic risk assessment instruments in the U.S. criminal justice system. Arnold Ventures has been a leader in studying and implementing pretrial risk assessments. We welcome PAI in the ongoing mission to improve the nation’s broken criminal justice system and agree with the list of principles outlined in the report.
There is a general consensus that many current pretrial practices, such as the use of “bail schedules,” are fundamentally unfair and disproportionately harm communities of color. Validated, evidence-based risk assessments offer an approach to pretrial justice that is data-driven and aims to reduce racial bias in our courtrooms. These resources should be transparent to the public and open to study, criticism, and improvement, which is why Arnold Ventures has invested millions into ongoing research, openly published the factors and formula that make up our Public Safety Assessment, and stressed the importance of training and judicial discretion.
It is Arnold Ventures’ overarching goal to reduce the number of people in jails in the United States. PAI’s recommendations on pretrial risk assessment are an important step forward in working toward this structural transformation.