Seaside Park Bombing Terrorist Would Have Scored Lower Than Shoplifter Under NJ Bail Reform PSA?

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A document making its rounds today purportedly shows a leaked training document claiming Ahmad Khan Rahami, the terrorist who was shot and captured in Linden after setting off bombs in Seaside Park and New York City would have scored a 2,2 under the New Jersey Bail Reform and Speedy Trial Act’s computerized public safety assessment.

The same document suggests a shoplifter, sexual offender or the local drug dealer could score higher than Rahami if he was arrested after the new bail reform system was enacted on January 1st.

PSA is a computerized pre-trial assessment that assigns a score of 1 to 6 based on two factors, a failure to appear risk scale and a new criminal activity risk scale.

The PSA score takes into consideration only the nature of the current offense and the offender’s criminal case and court history data.

What the computer does not calculate is the manner in which the present offense was committed, the strength of the case by prosecutors against the defendant, out of state charges or convictions, juvenile records, expunged records, threats of future harm to current victims or witnesses, gang involvement, drug or alcohol dependencies, mental illness or missing criminal information in the criminal database.

According to the document, it’s the prosecution’s responsibility to alert the courts to that information, but it will not be factored into the defendant’s computer generated score.

Our investigation found that the document is a revision of an actual New Jersey Attorney General’s Office bail reform survival guide for New Jersey Prosecutors.  Who made that revision at this time is unknown or if the revision represents an earlier or unreleased version of the survival guide.

The document appears to be a modified revision of “CONFRONTING THE CHALLENGES OF CRIMINAL JUSTICE REFORM: A SURVIVAL GUIDE FOR PROSECUTORS“, created by the New Jersey Office of the Attorney General, however in the version online at the current time, that page does not appear.

Peter Aseltine, spokesman for the Attorney General’s Office said the page being circulated representing the course was not generated or approved by their office.  Aseltine added that the course was delivered to law enforcement agencies in a format that did allow them to modify the curriculum at the local levels.

“It was in a format that made it possible for others to create their own modified versions,” Aseltine said.

As far as the validity of Rahami scoring a 2,2 on a PSA, he said, “I cannot comment on that data.  Again, that page was not something that came from us.”

Correction: Originally published as being a document by the New Jersey Judiciary. It is a version of a document by the New Jersey Attorney General’s Office.