The PSA implementation process is divided into six phases: Engagement, Technology Integration, Managing Risk, Measuring Risk, Training, and Fidelity. A series of implementation guides and supporting resources are available for each step of the PSA implementation process. Both the implementation process and the guides are designed to help criminal justice professionals successfully incorporate the PSA into their jurisdiction’s pretrial systems. The PSA implementation process generally takes at least six to eight months to complete.
The Engagement phase focuses on tasks jurisdictions should complete in the first two months of the process. The activities include creating an implementation team, drafting an implementation plan, defining the team’s purpose and role, scheduling team meetings, and educating members about pretrial justice and the PSA.
The Technology Integration phase focuses on the activities related to integrating the PSA into a jurisdiction’s data systems. This includes deciding which of the jurisdiction’s information management systems will house the PSA, and programming the PSA into the selected system. Completing the technology activities can take up to six months or more and will often determine the PSA launch date.
In the Managing Risk phase, justice system professionals examine how their jurisdiction makes pretrial decisions and how the PSA can help inform them. These steps should be completed in the first half of the implementation process. The main activities in this phase are to create a pretrial Decision Framework and develop a Release Conditions Matrix. To complete these tasks, it is useful for every member of the implementation team to have a basic understanding of the history and legal foundations of pretrial justice, empirical research on pretrial risk assessment and pretrial services, and the state’s pretrial laws and rules. Some jurisdictions find it useful to consult with national pretrial experts to educate the implementation team about these topics and assist in completing the activities in this phase. Contact the PSA Help Desk for a list of technical assistance providers trained on the PSA.
In the Measuring Risk phase, the PSA implementation team must tailor a number of PSA resources to account for local terminology and jurisdiction-specific circumstances. The activities include gaining a comprehensive understanding of the PSA risk factors, completing a Violent Offense List, tailoring the PSA Scoring Manual, and designing a PSA report. All of these activities must be completed before a jurisdiction can conduct training or start using the PSA.
The Training phase occurs toward the end of the implementation process. It involves training the PSA assessors and conducting extensive stakeholder education sessions. The assessor training is designed for those who will score and complete the PSA. Stakeholder education is critical to informing criminal justice professionals in a jurisdiction about the PSA as well as any other pretrial improvements that a jurisdiction may be implementing.
The last phase of PSA implementation phase focuses on ensuring that a jurisdiction’s use of the PSA conforms to its intended purpose and enhances the likelihood of producing the expected results. During this phase, the implementation team designs a quality assurance process, agrees on a set of performance outcomes, and decides on a process to oversee PSA performance.