A host of criminal justice researchers, universities and private companies support the current market for risk and needs assessment (RNA) and pretrial risk assessment tools. But they’re far from the only ones. After all, some U.S. states aren’t just consumers of assessment tools—they’re developers of them as well. To what extent their dual role is needed, however, is a matter of some debate.

Legaltech News found little consensus around whether state-built proprietary tools are more accurate than ones developed by third parties, or vice versa. While some states with unique populations argue that third-party instruments are unable to meet their specific needs, others say the research and support behind these tools make them viable options. What’s more, they add that adopting a third-party tool is often less expensive than developing their own proprietary one.