Crime Watchdog: New Orleans risk assessment program waste of money
(Excerpt from Fox 8 Local First - July 1 2019)
NEW ORLEANS, La. (WVUE) - The Metropolitan Crime Commission released a report calling the local inmate risk assessment program a waste of money Monday afternoon (July 1).
“The Public Safety Assessment is a tool developed by the Arnold Foundation that is designed to classify felony suspects into five categories of risk with one being the lowest public safety risk level and five being the highest. A PSA report is generated for every felony arrest in Orleans Parish Criminal District Court and presented to judges and magistrate commissioners presiding over bail hearings.” - MCC Report
The report said that free bond releases were recommended for 75 percent of violent felony suspects, and 93 percent of weapons felony suspects.
The report also stated that 33 percent of violent felony, and 29 percent of weapons felony suspects were rated the lowest risk - Level One, which recommends free release with no supervision.
That was the same risk level assigned to two suspects arrested in a brazen shootout at the CVS drug store two weeks ago. MCC President Rafael Goyeneche, blasted the assessment, calling it “a flawed system.”
However, Goyeneche said Monday’s report was already in the works before that incident.
The assessment was allegedly created to reduce the jail population, but the MCC report states if that is indeed the goal, much more needs to be spent on supervision of released suspects.
“If all you want to do is reduce the jail population, you don’t have to waste your time with this program, just tell police not to arrest them,” Goyeneche said.
As another example, Goyeneche cited the case of Theron Glover, who was recently arrested for wounding four people.
“Last week, he was rated a level one on his most recent bookings and he’s got over 100 charges against him,” Goyaneche said.
The report states Glover is not alone. In fact, 33 percent of violent felony suspects and 29 percent of weapons felony suspects were rated the lowest risk level, and are therefore recommended for release without bond.
“At this point it is a waste of money and we better change it,” Goyeneche said.
Though the MCC called the current system is a waste of money, Goyeneche said they are not advocating for its complete elimination. According to Goyeneche, a similar program works well in Washington, DC where inmate supervision and electronic monitoring is a priority.