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Risk and Needs Assessment

Evidence-based & Promising Practices
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Featured Resources

The First Step Act of 2018: Risk and Needs Assessment System – UPDATE

U.S. Department of Justice, Office of the Attorney General (2020)

As a direct result of independent review committee and expert input and suggestions to ensure that the goals of making the benefits of the First Step Act as widely available as possible without compromising predictive reliability, the U.S. Department of Justice made changes to the Prisoner Assessment Tool Targeting Estimated Risk and Need (PATTERN).

Public Safety Risk Assessment Clearinghouse (PSRAC)

Criminal justice agencies use risk assessments to assist with the allocation of limited resources to manage and rehabilitate people at various stages of the criminal justice system. The PSRAC provides evidence-based information about how to use risk assessments effectively and properly to build safe families and communities.

Highlighted Programs and Practices

Second Chance Act Adult Offender Reentry Demonstration Projects - Evidence-Based Practices: Screening & Assessment 

U.S. Department of Justice, Bureau of Justice Assistance (2016)

Screening and assessment for criminogenic risks and needs was a core component of seven grantees who implemented adult reentry programs using 2014 Second Chance Act funding. Risk/needs assessment tools can be used to identify eligible participants, inform reentry/transition planning, and guide service delivery.


Myths & Facts - Using Risk and Need Assessments to Enhance Outcomes and Reduce Disparities in the Criminal Justice System

U.S. Department of Justice, National Institute of Corrections (2017)

The Community Corrections Collaborative Network (CCCN) believes that risk and need assessments currently provide the most accurate, objective prediction of the risk to recidivate. Yet several key myths exist regarding the use of risk and need assessments within the criminal justice system. It is important that the field be aware of these myths and of the facts, along with a research-based evidence, that dispel specific myths.


Enhancing Community Supervision Through the Application of Dynamic Risk Assessment

U.S. Courts, Federal Probation Journal (2016)

Experts in the risk assessment field contend that accuracy regarding the timing of client outcome can be enhanced by considering changes in acute dynamic risk factors. Research has examined whether certain acute dynamic risk assessment might better identify not only which clients are at risk but also when that risk might be most elevated for a particular client, allowing officers to consider risk at the case level and intervene accordingly to mitigate risk.


Second Generation of RNR: The Importance of Systemic Responsivity in Expanding Core Principles of Responsivity

U.S. Courts, Federal Probation Journal (2014)

The risk-needs-responsivity (RNR) model of contemporary evidence- based practices is the main framework that judicial and correctional agencies are actively pursuing and implementing. Despite growing acceptance of the value of using validated risk and need assessment instruments and that these tools should inform key decisions, many unanswered questions remain about responsivity.