✖ Close Social Content
County Manager

CJCC Releases Pretrial Justice System Study Results

9:06 AM

Efforts to improve the pretrial justice system while protecting public safety are working in Bernalillo County, according to a study released Friday.

University of New Mexico researchers found that a large majority of defendants committed no new crimes while released pending trial and they returned to court for required hearings.

The study analyzed 6,392 felony cases in Bernalillo County courts from July 1, 2017 to March 31, 2019. The UNM Institute of Social Research conducted the study for Bernalillo County.

Researchers found:

  • 83% of released defendants had no new arrests while on pretrial release.
  • 82% of released defendants returned to court as required.
  • 4% of released defendants were accused of committing a new violent crime. Misdemeanors and fourth-degree felonies accounted for the largest share of the alleged new criminal activity.
  • Less than 1% – 12 of the released defendants – were arrested for a first-degree felony, which is the most serious category of crime that includes premeditated murder and child abuse resulting in death of the child.

“This study shows that the public safety assessment does what it was designed to do: give judges a tool to inform pretrial decisions by providing an accurate prediction of a defendant’s risk of failure to appear and new criminal activity”, says Bernalillo County Criminal Justice Coordinating Council Chair Maggie Hart Stebbins. “We can use the data to evaluate future improvements and continue the collaboration among courts, law enforcement, and other criminal justice partners to make the system more just and promote public safety.”

Courts in Bernalillo County implemented a risk assessment tool, called the Public Safety Assessment (PSA), in 2017 as part of an effort with the county and its community partners to ensure a fair and effective justice system. The study represents the first research-based look at the initiative, which provides judges in Bernalillo County with objective information to consider in deciding which defendants are safe to release pending a trial to determine whether they are guilty of charged crimes.

Changes in the pretrial release system occurred at the same time as property and violent crimes were declining in the city of Albuquerque.

“We continue to try to improve our pretrial system, but the research is clear that the PSA is an effective tool for strengthening New Mexico’s justice system,” said Artie Pepin, director of the Administrative Office of the Courts.

The PSA examines nine factors about a defendant to produce risk scores measuring the likelihood that the individual will commit a new crime if released pending trial and another evaluating the likelihood that he or she will fail to return for a future court hearing. Those factors include the defendant’s prior convictions as well as any prior failures to appear in court pretrial. The assessment also flags defendants that present an elevated risk of committing a violent crime.

The findings for released defendants in Bernalillo County tracked the experience of other jurisdictions that use the PSA for setting conditions of release. In Kentucky, for example, 83% of released defendants appeared at future court hearings and 88% were not accused of new crimes.

For purposes of the study, violent crimes can range from offenses such as murder and robbery to vehicular homicide, battery against a household member and sexual exploitation of children.



back to list
View All Events
    • The Bernalillo County Clerk's Office will begin mailing absentee ballots for the 2020 General Election to voters who have requested them on October 6, 2020. Voters are encouraged to complete the ballot in a timely fashion, insert it in the envelope, sign and enter last 4 digits under the privacy flap, and seal the envelope. Thereafter, the absentee ballot may be mailed (up until Oct. 27) or hand delivered to a Voting Convenience Center. More info: http://www.bernco.gov/clerk/absentee-voting.aspx
      10/6/2020 12:00 AM

    • Early Voting (also known as In-person absentee voting) and Same Day Voter Registration will take place from October 6-16, 2020 at the Clerk's Annex (1500 Lomas Blvd NW) Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Voters may vote in-person or drop off their completed absentee ballot. Same Day
      Clerk's Annex, 1500 Lomas NW, Suite A
      10/6/2020 8:00 AM - 10/16/2020 5:00 PM

    • The Bernalillo County Department of Public Works and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency invite the Mountain View community to two public virtual meetings on Sept. 21 and Oct. 6 to give feedback on design ideas for two sites in the neighborhood. The designs aim to: *Mitigate Urban Heat Island *Create Public Park Space & Community Amenities *Enhance Pedestrian Safety *Improve Air and Water Quality *Manage Stormwater and Flooding The project, funded by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, seeks to support the Mountain View Community in developing its visions for renewed vitality and beautification of the community. Residents are invited to speak with landscape architects, experts in environmental restoration and redevelopment to help chart a course for improvements in Mountain View. These meetings are virtual forums to share ideas, promote discussion, and identify a vision which serves all of the Mountain View community. In order to socially distance, this event will be held via a Facebook Live event right here at: https://www.facebook.com/BernalilloCounty/ para EspaƱol, 1-505-373-2994 Conference ID 601 962 956# You can provide comments at the meeting or through Survey Monkey: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/HPCC2YR
      10/6/2020 6:00 PM

    Powered by Real Time Solutions - Website Design & Document Management