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Risk needs assessment

Date and Time: July 21, 2021
11am PT / 12pm MT /1pm CT / 2pm ET for 90 minutes

Webinar Summary: 

Risk and need (RNR) assessments have been administered in the criminal justice system for decades but often have not influenced professional decision-making in intended ways. Although these assessments should improve outcomes by matching individuals to indicated services, information derived from these tools has often been ignored or has been connected to increased incarceration rates and unfair racial and ethnic disparities. For example, people classified as high risk may be more likely to be detained pretrial or to receive a jail or prison sentence, when almost no tools have been developed or validated for this purpose. Most commonly used tools were created to set community-based conditions of treatment and supervision in lieu of detention. Especially in the light of the COVID-19 pandemic and discussions around criminal justice reform, practitioners and policy makers must understand what RNR is and how it should be applied correctly to enhance both public health and public safety. This webinar seeks to define the core principles and practical application of Risk-Need-Responsivity along with strategies to create and maintain critical collaborative relationships to achieve reentry goals.

Learning Objectives: 

During this 90-minute interactive webinar, participants will:

  • Understand how common fallacies and misunderstandings about RNR principles have contributed to unnecessary reliance on incarceration and links to racial and ethnic disparities
  • Learn how proper use of RNR can reduce disparities, enhance criminal justice outcomes, and contribute to effective and equitable justice reform
  • Experience a practical application of the principles in a case study of reintegrating individuals within Multnomah County, Oregon
  • Learn strategies to create and maintain collaborative relationships to achieve your jurisdiction’s reentry goals

Speakers

Douglas B. Marlowe, J.D., Ph.D., is a senior scientific consultant for the National Association of Drug Court Professionals (NADCP) and senior science and policy advisor for Alcohol Monitoring Systems. Previously, he was the chief of science, law and policy for NADCP, the director of law and ethics research at the Treatment Research Institute, and an adjunct associate professor of psychiatry at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine. Dr. Marlowe has published over 175 journal articles, monographs, books, and book chapters on the topics of correctional rehabilitation, forensic psychology, and treatment of substance use disorders.

Erika Preuitt is the director of Multnomah County Department of Community Justice in Oregon, which provides adult and juvenile probation, pretrial release detention and parole and juvenile services. Ms. Preuitt has over twenty years of experience with the Department of Community Justice. Her core value is that people can change, and she is committed to evidence-based practices and community engagement and partnership. Ms. Preuitt is also the immediate past-president of the American Probation and Parole Association. She has served in several leadership roles in APPA.

Mack Jenkins’s career in the criminal justice system spanned four decades. Chief Jenkins retired as the chief probation officer for San Diego County, where he oversaw a department of more than 1,300 staff who provided supervision and services to more than 13,000 adults and 2,500 juveniles under supervision. During his career, Jenkins has developed expertise in the use of evidenced-based practices for community supervision, implemented special supervision programs for people with domestic violence and sex crime convictions, and managed reentry programs for justice-involved juveniles. He has more than 20 years of experience working in drug courts and collaborative justice programs. While chief in San Diego, he chaired both the San Diego County Community Corrections Partnership and the Juvenile justice Coordinating Council.

Who Should Attend?

Any employee of a federal, state, or local correctional jurisdiction routinely involved in direct interaction with offenders as part of their title or function.

How Do I Register?

Follow this link to register in NIC’s WebEx Event Center

Register for the Webinar

Who Do I Contact for More Information?

Content and Technical Contact
Gregory Crawford, Correctional Program Specialist, Community Services Division, National Institute of Corrections
Email Greg Crawford

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The review suggests that in general, risk assessments do a good job in predicting recidivism across racial/ethnic groups for diverse populations inside and outside the United States. However, there is still some room for improvement concerning the assessment of risk and needs for ethnic minorities. In addition, while there are some studies that do not report the predictive validity of risk assessment scores across race/ethnicity, risk assessments overall seem to be a promising effort to correctly classify and/or identify juveniles who are at greatest risk for future recidivism.

Risk assessment algorithms used in criminal justice settings are often said to introduce “bias”. But such charges can conflate an algorithm’s performance with bias in the data used to train the algorithm and with bias in the actions undertaken with an algorithm’s output. In this paper, algorithms themselves are the focus. Tradeoffs between different kinds of fairness and between fairness and accuracy are illustrated using an algorithmic application to juvenile justice data. Given potential bias in training data, can risk assessment algorithms improve fairness, and if so, with what consequences for accuracy? Although statisticians and computer scientists can documents the tradeoffs, they cannot provide technical solutions that satisfy all fairness and accuracy objectives. In the end, it falls to stakeholders to do the required balancing using legal and legislative procedures, just as it always has (p.1).

This report provides a description of the Collaborative Case Work Model for Justice-Involved Women (CCW-W), previously known as the Women Offender Case Management Model (WOCMM). CCW-W is an intensive casework model that was developed specifically for justice-involved women. Since the first pilot of this model by the State of Connecticut Judicial Branch/Court Services Division, CCW-W has demonstrated favorable outcomes in several settings. It is now being implemented in Connecticut, Iowa, Maine and Larimer County in Colorado.

cover image for publication

The Community Corrections Collaborative Network (CCCN) is a network comprised of the leading associations representing 90,000-plus probation, parole, pretrial, and treatment professionals around the country, including the American Probation and Parole Association (APPA), the Association of Paroling Authorities International (APAI), the Federal Probation and Pretrial Officers Association (FPPOA), the International Community Corrections Association (ICCA), the National Association of Drug Court Professionals (NADCP), the National Association of Pretrial Services Agencies (NAPSA), and the National Association of Probation Executives (NAPE).

This "Myths & Facts" package includes a one-page list of myths and facts along with a research-based supporting document to help dispel three specific myths regarding the use of risk and need assessments within the criminal justice system. A description and relevant research to dispel each myth is provided. Our network believes that risk and need assessments currently provide the most accurate, objective prediction of the risk to recidivate. While risk and need assessments do not predict with perfect accuracy, they guide practitioners in the field towards the most accurate and equitable decisions available for safely managing justice-involved individuals.

Myths & Facts Cover

The Community Corrections Collaborative Network (CCCN) is a network comprised of the leading associations representing 90,000-plus probation, parole, pretrial, and treatment professionals around the country, including the American Probation and Parole Association (APPA), the Association of Paroling Authorities International (APAI), the Federal Probation and Pretrial Officers Association (FPPOA), the International Community Corrections Association (ICCA), the National Association of Drug Court Professionals (NADCP), the National Association of Pretrial Services Agencies (NAPSA), and the National Association of Probation Executives (NAPE). This "Myths & Facts" package includes a one-page list of myths and facts along with a research-based supporting document to show the effectiveness of community corrections. This is not to suggest that prison does not play an important role in the continuum of criminal justice, but that incarceration is not always the best way to keep communities safe, or to break the cycle of criminal behavior, reduce recidivism or to save tax payer dollars. Our network believes that each of the points in the continuum play a vital role in keeping our communities safe and that we must better understand through evidence-based research and science when to use incarceration and when community corrections might be more effective.

Myths & Facts  Cover

Following a review of the available research regarding pretrial risk assessment instruments being used in other jurisdictions, the Committee decided that "it would be preferable to develop a customized pretrial risk instrument that incorporated all of the positive attributes of these risk instruments but had the advantage of being tested and normed on defendants being released in Nevada" (Final Report, p. 1). This collection of documents explains how the Nevada Pretrial Risk Assessment (NPR) was developed. Access is provided to: Nevada Pretrial Risk Assessment (NPR)--Draft; NPRA Validation Report and Final NPRA Tool [Development of the Nevada Pretrial Risk Assessment System Final Report]; and Volume One, Two, and Three containing background reports and information about other types of risk assessments used in the United States. Documents are organized into the following areas: Volume One--The Need for Reform of Pretrial Release, Validated Pretrial Risk Tools, and Pretrial Risk Tools Overviews and Validation Studies; Volume Two—Risk and Needs Tools, Pretrial Reform Collateral Issues, and Pretrial Standards and Implementation Guidelines; and Volume Three—Pretrial Standards and Implementation Guidelines

Nevada Pretrial Risk Assessment Instrument (NPR) Documents cover

This publication covers: risk and needs assessments limitations, definitions, theoretical foundation, two approaches to administering risk/needs assessments: the actuarial approach and the structured professional judgment approach, examples, and outcome evidence.

The identification of “federal criminal defendants who are most suited for pretrial release without jeopardizing the integrity of the judicial process or the safety of the community, in particular release predicated on participation in an alternatives to detention program” is investigated. Sections following an executive summary include: introduction; population description; research objective one -- pretrial risk classification; research objective two -- risk levels, release and detention rates, and pretrial failure rates; research objective three -- alternatives to detention, risk levels, and pretrial failure; research objective four -- efficacy of the alternatives to detention program; research objective five -- current risk assessment practices; and research objective six -- best practices for pretrial risk assessment and recommendations.

Pretrial Risk Assessment in the Federal Court for the Purpose of Expanding the Use of Alternatives to Detention Cover

One way to unwind mass incarceration without compromising public safety is to use risk assessment instruments in sentencing and corrections. Although these instruments figure prominently in current reforms, critics argue that benefits in crime control will be offset by an adverse effect on racial minorities … we examine the relationships among race, risk assessment (the Post Conviction Risk Assessment [PCRA]), and future arrest.

Risk, Race, & Recidivism Cover

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