Pretrial Release Initiative

The Minnesota Judicial Council's Pretrial Release Initiative, one of the Strategic Initiatives of the Branch, is aimed at studying evidence-based tools for use by judges making pretrial release decisions. 

Under Minn. Stat. § 629.74 Minnesota Judicial Council approves pretrial evaluation forms to be used in each county.  Minnesota Judicial Council Policy 524: Pretrial Release Evaluation, adopts the use of a statewide pretrial evaluation form and Minnesota Pretrial Assessment Tool - Revised (MNPAT-R) and directs the use of pretrial risk assessment tools in Minnesota District Courts. 

The assessment tool is meant to ensure that judges have the most predictive and least biased information, providing accurate, objective, and useful information for pretrial release decisions.

The assessment tools will be validated to ensure effectiveness and fairness in release decisions.

The Minnesota Judicial Council established the Pretrial Release Initiative Implementation Steering Committee to implement the statewide pretrial risk assessment tool and form. Implementation was completed in late 2018. Similarly, after the Judicial Council approved the Minnesota Pretrial Assessment Tool-Revised (MNPAT-R), an implementation committee was convened to help with the statewide implementation. Implementation was completed in late 2023.


This page provides updates on the rollout and maintenance of the Minnesota Pretrial Evaluation Form and Assessment Tool - Revised (MNPAT-R).

The Minnesota Judicial Council approved a revised pretrial risk assessment tool and form at the January 2023 meeting based on the validation study’s results and recommendation from the MNPAT Validation Committee. The new tool went into effect on January 1, 2024. An Implementation Committee was engaged to help coordinate the new tool’s education, training, and rollout. For more information and questions about the MNPAT-R, please contact your Implementation Committee representative.

The MNPAT-R User Guide was updated January 22, 2024 with more detailed instructions on listing criminal conviction history, bench warrant history, and refused/unknown fields. MNPAT-R materials and resources, including recorded on-demand training and translated questionnaires, are now available on the Resources tab. The translated MNPAT-R Questionnaires are available in the following languages: Amharic, Arabic, Hmong, Karen, Oromo, Russian, Simplified Chinese, Somali, Spanish, and Vietnamese.
In January 2023, the Minnesota Judicial Council approved the Minnesota Pretrial Assessment Tool - Revised (MNPAT-R).

Anoka, Cass, Hennepin, Sherburne, and Wright counties adopt alternative tools that meet the statewide standards. Validation is required for these tools. All other counties will use the statewide tool, MNPAT-R. 

The MNPAT-R will be validated through the State Court Administrator’s Office to promote consistent risk analysis. Alternative tools require approval from the Minnesota Judicial Council. Districts or counties using an alternative tool are required to meet the statewide standards for validation, according to Minnesota Judicial Council Policy 524: Pretrial Release Evaluation.

Minnesota Pretrial Release Evaluation Form and Assessment Tool - Revised (MNPAT-R)
Minnesota Pretrial Questionnaire (Revised)
Pretrial Evaluation: The collection and analysis of a defendant’s information on factors impacting his/her likelihood to appear and risk to public safety.  May be conducted by local corrections or their designee (pretrial services, jail administration or law enforcement). 
Also known as:
  • bail evaluation
  • bail study
  • pretrial bail evaluation
Pretrial Evaluation Form: Template for recording factors of a particular defendant and the current charge used to inform the pretrial release decision.  A form does not assign a score or recommendation for pretrial release decisions and does not assign a weight for different factors.
Also known as:
  • pretrial evaluation form
  • bail form
  • form
Pretrial Release Decision: Release decision by court, or designated authority, that a defendant will be released on his/her own recognizance (ROR), released on conditions (CR), or released on bail/bond (bail).

Pretrial Release Process: The full process used in a court location (involving pretrial services and the court) from arrest/summons, including the pretrial evaluation, the pretrial release decision, and the actual release or detention of a defendant.

Pretrial Failure: An outcome that a pretrial risk assessment seeks to predict and minimize.  The most common outcomes are 1) likelihood of failure to appear (FTA) for court appearances in the present case and 2) likelihood of new crimes (e.g. arrest, charge) committed during the pretrial window (release to disposition).

Pretrial Risk Assessment Tool: A research-based (actuarial) instrument comprised of predictive factors that are weighted and scored to provide a recommended pretrial release decision (based on categorized risk of pretrial failure).  The tool is used to assist the court, or its designated authority, in making pretrial release decisions. 
Also known as:
  • tool
  • scale
Validation: A study of the effectiveness of a tool at predicting the outcome it seeks to predict on a specific population.

Disparity: The tendency to treat those in a specific group (e.g., race, gender) differently or unfairly. Applied to validation studies, it is the tendency of a tool to assign different levels of predictiveness to a specific group relative to other groups (also referred to as "bias" or "predictive disparities").
In 2023, the Minnesota Judicial Branch completed its first post-implementation validation of the Minnesota Pretrial Release Evaluation Form and Assessment Tool (MNPAT). The validation study was coordinated by a Validation Committee comprised of judges and partner agency stakeholders from across the state, including county probation, community corrections, the Department of Corrections, the Minnesota County Attorneys Association, the Minnesota Board of Public Defense, tribal courts, and research scientists.

MNPAT Validation Study Report

Judicial Council Policy 524 requires that the MNPAT be validated on a regular basis to ensure accuracy and fairness in predicting pretrial release failure. The MNPAT and its validation study support the vision of the court system being fair, consistent, and free of discrimination.
This contact form is specifically for individuals seeking additional information about the Pretrial Release Initiative or the Minnesota Pretrial Assessment Tool - Revised (MNPAT-R) and its use by Minnesota District Courts.

If you have an urgent matter concerning an upcoming case, please call the specific district court.

If you have a media inquiry about the courts or court cases, please contact the Court Information Office.