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Selecting and Using Risk and Need Assessment

"The purpose of this document is to provide Drug Court staff with a concise and current overview of important issues relating to offender risk assessment and to provide a list of recommended contemporary risk instruments. Numerous risk scales are currently used in the United States ... to assess static risk factors and criminogenic needs (dynamic risk factors that are related to the client’s propensity for criminal behavior), of which substance abuse is but one. Almost all of these are applied to predict risk post-adjudication" (p. 1). This publication focuses on those recommended and promising risk and needs instruments best for drug courts. Sections of this document include: risk assessment-an overview for drug courts; advantages, limits, and usage or risk assessment approaches in contemporary practice; issues for drub courts to consider in selecting risk instruments; selection criteria and overview of risk assessment instruments; best practice guidelines for integrating risk and clinical measures; summary of recommended and promising risk and need assessment instruments; summary of recommended purpose-specific risk assessment instruments; ten principles for using risk assessment; description of recommended risk instruments-Correctional Offender Management Profiling for Alternative Sanctions (COMPAS), Level of Service-Case Management Inventory (LS/CMI), Post Conviction Risk Assessment (PCRA), the Ontario Domestic Assault Risk Assessment (ODARA), and the Violence Risk Appraisal Guide-Revised (VRAG-R); promising risk instruments-Ohio Risk Assessment System (ORAS)-Pretrial Assessment Tool (PAT) and Community Supervision TOOL (CST), and the Risk and Needs Triage (RANT).