Task force report outlines recommendations for pretrial reform

A task force formed to address concerns about pretrial procedures created a recommendations report, including having governments bear the costs of pretrial services rather than those accused of crimes.

The task force was headed by an executive committee of King County Superior Court Judge Sean P. O’Donnell, Spokane Municipal Court Judge Mary Logan, and State Supreme Court Justice Mary Yu, who was previously a King County Superior Court judge.

Subcommittees reported to the executive committee and gave recommendations for three categories: pretrial services, risk assessment, and data collection.

Previously, KIRO 7 reporter Amy Clancy first reported on how criminal justice systems throughout Washington state are exploring ways to keep more crime suspects out of jail; especially those too poor to post bail. Follow this link to read her earlier report.

Here is a bullet point summary of subcommittee recommendations for pretrial services:

  • Governments should bear the cost of pretrial services rather than the accused. This includes electric monitoring, drug and alcohol monitoring, mental health treatment and court reminders. It's not clear where the funding would come from.
  • Court reminders should be available to all defendants.
  • Referrals such as mental and or behavioral health treatment, among other services, should be offered voluntarily rather than as a condition of release.
  • A local stakeholder group can make actionable recommendations to improve practices and outcomes of the pretrial system. This is better than entities working separately.
  • Free or subsidized transportation to defendants can help low-income or disabled people attend court appointments. It's not clear how this would be funded.

The task force did not take a position on whether local jurisdictions should or should not adopt a pretrial risk assessment tool. But the task force recommended that those jurisdictions that do follow a minimum criteria once one is established.

Below is a bullet point summary of subcommittee recommendations for risk assessment:

  • Identify desired goals
  • Define terms
  • Compare data to assess performance
  • Clarify interpretation of risk, including a deep understanding of the risk scoring provide
  • Validation for predictive accuracy and race neutrality, including data prior to and during use of the pretrial risk assessment tool.
  • Evaluate if the pretrial risk assessment tool has or is likely to have a disproportionately negative effect on certain racial, ethnic, or socio-economic groups.
  • Community participation
  • Planning and implementation

The subcommittees also created recommendations for data collection. Here are the bullet points:

  • Collect and record data
  • Data analysis
  • Data analysis results
  • Data dissemination
  • Pretrial services data to measure success.
  • Pretrial risk assessment tool data, including the concurrence between supervision level or detention status and assessed risk.

More news from KIRO 7


Comments on this article