Risk Management

Once the risks to public safety and non-appearance in court have been measured (see Risk Measurement) the risks must be managed using evidence-based risk management strategies. One risk management strategy is pretrial detention.  When considering pretrial detention, it must be recognized that defendants have the right to release on the least restrictive conditions reasonably necessary to assure court appearance and community safety.  As Chief Justice Rehnquist wrote in United States v. Salerno, 481 U.S. 739 (1987) “In our society, liberty is the norm, and detention prior to trial or without trial is the carefully limited exception.”  In this spirit, most pretrial defendants must be released pretrial and on the least restrictive conditions (risk management strategies).  

Luminosity has conducted extensive research on effective risk management strategies.  Our research has found that pretrial supervision can be an effective risk management strategy for moderate- and higher-risk pretrial defendants.  In addition, using a differential supervision strategy that relies on varying dosages of pretrial supervision commensurate with the risk posed produces the best outcomes.

Research Report: Exploring the Impact of Supervision on Pretrial Outcomes

Research Report: Risk-Based Pretrial Release Recommendation and Supervision Guidelines

Luminosity conducted research in the federal court system which identified the application of the risk principle to the pretrial justice system for the first time.  This research revealed that lower-risk defendants who were released without conditions failed less frequently than those who were released to an intervention program.  Meaning that, for low-risk defendants, the intervention produced worse pretrial outcomes than release without the intervention. Conversely, for moderate- and higher-risk defendants, the intervention had a positive affect — those who received the alternative program were less likely to fail during the pretrial period than their moderate- and higher-risk counterparts who did not receive the program.

Research Journal Article: Pretrial Risk Assessment in the Federal Court