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Needs assessment

Results are presented from a norming and validation study of the Ramsey County Proxy assessment tool. “The Proxy is three-question screening instrument used to triage community corrections populations for the purpose of moving those at low risk to minimum supervision without further assessment” (p. 1). Sections of this document cover: background and methodology; individual Proxy items’ relative importance; further examination of offending patterns; development of the proposed assessment tool; and recommendations for the use of the misdemeanor court case assessment. Appended are copies of the “Ramsey County PROXY Data Collection Form for Completion by City DA staff/intern”, and the “Ramsey County PROXY Data Collection Form for Completion by Warrants Clerks”.

Ramsey County Proxy Tool Norming & Validation Results Cover

"There have been legislative proposals to implement a risk and needs assessment system in federal prisons. The system would be used to place inmates in rehabilitative programs. Under the proposed system some inmates would be eligible to earn additional time credits for participating in rehabilitative programs that reduce their risk of recidivism. Such credits would allow inmates to be placed on prerelease custody earlier. The proposed system would exclude inmates convicted of certain offenses from being eligible to earn additional time credits … In general, research suggests that the most commonly used assessment instruments can, with a moderate level of accuracy, predict who is at risk for violent recidivism. It also suggests that no single instrument is superior to any other when it comes to predictive validity" (p. ii). While assessments based on the Risk-Needs-Responsivity (RNR) model have been quite useful in determining high- and low-risk offenders there is still some controversy regarding the wide-scale use of assessments in the criminal justice system. Sections of this report following a summary include: an overview of risk and needs assessment; RNR principles; critiques of risk and needs assessments—making judgment about individuals based on group tendencies, the separation of assessment of risk from assessment of needs, and the potential for discriminatory effects; and select issues for congress regarding—the use of risk and needs assessment in federal prisons, the exclusion of certain inmates from earning additional time credits, whether priority should be given to high-risk offenders, the use of assessment in sentencing, and whether the emphasis on punishment should be decreased.

Risk and Needs Assessment in the Criminal Justice System

“This publication is designed for a wide-ranging audience of criminal justice stakeholders who have questions about pretrial risk assessment and its value to the pretrial justice process” (p.3). Sections of this report are: introduction; setting the stage; critical issues related to pretrial release, detention, and risk assessment; challenges to implementing evidence-based risk assessment and threats to reliable administration; methodological challenges associated with prediction of risk; where to go next—recommendations for research and practice; and conclusion.

State of the Science of Pretrial Risk Assessment Cover

"Veterans Treatment Courts are one of the fastest growing criminal justice programs in the United States. Since 9/11, more than 2.5 million Americans have served our country in uniform. Many of them have deployed several times. And many of these men and women in uniform are coming home and struggling not only with the physical wounds of war, but also its “invisible” wounds: post-traumatic stress disorder and traumatic brain injury. Since the inception of the first Veterans Treatment Court by Judge Robert Russell in Buffalo, NY in 2008, there are now more than 300 veterans treatment courts across the country. These courts account for veterans’ military service and provide diversion and treatment alternatives specific to their needs. The development of a screening tool specific to veterans is now underway through partnership between the National Institute of Corrections (NIC), the Bureau of Justice Assistance (BJA) and the Center for Court Innovation (CCI). The assessment tool factors in the latest research on trauma and will support an accompanying case planning protocol. This Veterans Treatment Court Enhancement Initiative is a three-year project that will include implementing the tool and protocol in two pilot sites. The pilot site solicitation opportunity will be released in November 2015."

The Growth of Veterans Treatment Courts [Podcast] cover

“Consistent with effective correctional practice, jails and their community partners should identify risk levels and criminogenic needs of returning [offender] populations and should focus their resources on individuals with the highest levels of both … This brief presents the two-stage screening and assessment process to determine risk and needs levels that is a core element of the Transition from Jail to Community (TJC) model” (p. 1). Sections of this publication include: the TJC initiative; risk and need in a triage approach; risk screening—selecting a screening instrument, administering risk screening, norming and validating the screening instrument, and using screening data; TJC screening principles; proxy triage risk screener; key implementation lessons learned—screening to determine risk of offending and assessment of criminogenic need; TJC assessment principles; assessment of criminogenic need--selecting an assessment instrument, administering assessment, and using assessment information; key implementation lessons learned—assessment of criminogenic risk/need; and lessons learned from the TJC site implementation.

The Role of Screening and Assessment in Jail Reentry Cover

"RNA [risk and needs assessment] instruments are actuarial tools designed to inform community corrections-related decisions regarding risk management and reduction. They consist, in part, of static factors such as criminal history and age at first offense which are related to recidivism but cannot be altered through the delivery of services or treatment programs. In addition, and more importantly for recidivism reduction purposes, the tools identify dynamic risk factors (sometimes referred to as criminogenic needs) such as antisocial attitudes and antisocial peer groups that also are related to recidivism but can be addressed through services and treatment programs. Information from these tools assists in identifying specific offender risk factors that can be targeted with services and treatment programs in order to help reduce an offender’s likelihood of reoffending … Several jurisdictions now provide RNA information to the court to inform sentencing decisions as part of a broader evidence-based approach to effective risk management and recidivism reduction … The current report synthesizes the information across the ten jurisdictions and provides examples of how and the degree to which jurisdictions have implemented each of the nine guiding principles" (p. 1, 2, 3). Sections comprising this report are: Introduction; Guiding Principle 1: Public Safety/Risk Management Purpose; Guiding Principle 2: Amenability to Probation; Guiding Principle 3: Effective Conditions of Probation and Responses to Violations; Guiding Principle 4: Stakeholder Training; Guiding Principle 5: Availability and Routine Use of Offender Assessments; Guiding Principle 6: Evidence-Based Infrastructure; Guiding Principle 7: Assessment Instruments; Guiding Principle 8: Assessment Reports; Guiding Principle 9: Monitoring and Evaluation.; The Way Forward: Judicial Leadership and Lessons Learned; Conclusion; and Appendix: Jurisdiction Profiles. This report is accompanies "Using Offender Risk and Needs Assessment Information at Sentencing: Guidance for Courts from a National Working Group" - NICIC accession no. 026663.

Using Risk and Needs Assessment Information at Sentencing: Observations from Ten Jurisdictions cover

The author looks at recent empirical evidence for clinical adjustments to actuarial-based risk prediction for sexually violent predators (SVPs). Based upon “five research studies directly comparing pure-actuarial to adjusted-actuarial risk assessment for sexual recidivism … the evidence does not show that adjusting or overriding the results of an actuarial instrument increases the accuracy of risk assessment. On the contrary, there is evidence that adjustments or overrides often decrease accuracy … [Therefore] because extant research shows that clinical adjustments do not increase, and often reduce, accuracy of risk assessments, SVP evaluators should generally refrain from using clinical adjustments or overrides in our risk assessments” (p. 23-24).

Years of Predicting Dangerously Cover


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