Research-Action Sites

Research-Action Sites were selected through a competitive process to be part of the Advancing Pretrial Policy and Research (APPR) initiative. These counties are committed to improving their pretrial systems in ways that prioritize safety, reduce racial and economic disparities, and ensure that incarceration is reserved only for those who jeopardize public safety.

Catawba County (NC), Fulton County (GA), Montgomery County (AL), Pierce County (WA), and Thurston County (WA) were chosen in 2019, with an additional five jurisdictions to be identified in 2020.

Each Research-Action Site will receive intensive technical assistance and evaluation to examine their pretrial systems, understand their data, and design and implement research-based strategies that are responsive to local needs. Sites will be equipped for the long term to conduct ongoing data analysis and evaluation to measure pretrial outcomes.

Research-Action Sites will receive the following benefits over five years (until 2024):

  • Research: RTI International and Stanford Computational Policy Lab will collect and analyze data pertinent to pretrial policies and practices, study the implementation of pretrial advancements, and measure their impacts and outcomes over the project’s lifetime.
  • Collaboration: Judges, prosecutors, defense counsel, law enforcement, and other pretrial system and allied professionals will collaborate with each other and with community leaders to identify system advancements and opportunities to improve pretrial outcomes.
  • System Assessment: Technical assistance providers will facilitate a robust process of policy and practice analysis, guided by local justice system leaders and in consultation with community leaders. Site teams will examine local data from a systemic and community perspective to inform opportunities for improvement.
  • Pretrial Improvements: The sites will receive intensive training and technical assistance to implement improvements to pretrial policies and practices, which will include adoption of the Public Safety Assessment (PSA), a pretrial assessment that provides judges with critical information to inform pretrial decision making. In addition to implementing the PSA, jurisdictions may explore a variety of complementary advancements, including increasing the use of citations and summons; expanding the role of defense counsel at first appearance hearings; establishing or expanding the use of diversion; and developing robust systems of pretrial supervision.
  • Data Capacity: Throughout the project period, sites will receive intensive data support. Sites will build their capacity to self-evaluate performance and outcomes into the future, including examining their data to identify any racial and other disparities.

Research conducted in each of the Research-Action Sites will be disseminated widely to advance research-based pretrial policies and practices nationally.

Learn more about the PSA