Risk Assessments


Bonta, James & Andres, D.A. (2007). Risk-Need-Responsivity Model for Offender Assessment and Rehabilitation. Public Safety Canada. (2007-06)

This article provides an in-depth discussion on how and why risk assessment tools have evolved over time and can provide interesting background for departments seeking to adopt a risk assessment tool. The authors present the risk-need-responsivity model, including how this vital behavioral theory should be utilized when assessing an offender’s level of risk.

White, T., (2004). Implementing an Offender Risk and Needs Assessment: An Organizational Change Process. National Institute of Corrections.

To reduce recidivism it is important to have a way to establish the risks and needs of each offender. In this article, Thomas White, Director of Operations for Connecticut’s Court Support Services Division discusses the five issues he identifies as being critically important for implementation of a Risk/Needs Assessment: use of an external consultant; use of an off the shelf instrument versus an in-house developed tool; focus on staff buy-in for the need for the assessment; provision of staff/field office supervisor training; and development of a comprehensive strategy for quality assurance.

Johnson, K.D. & Hardyman, P.L. (2004). How Do We Know If the Risk Assessment Instrument Works? Topics in Community Corrections 2004.

Many agencies have adopted a risk assessment tool as part of their intake process but may have no idea whether or not the chosen instrument is valid. This article details the steps for utilizing a validation study to determine if a risk assessment instrument is effective. The authors break down the process into easy to understand steps and highlight considerations for departments before undertaking this process.

Latessa, E. J, (2004) From Theory to Practice: What Works in Reducing Recidivism? State of Crime and Justice in Ohio.

In order to know “what works” in treating offenders, it is necessary to understand the principles of who, what, and how to help. This article reviews why it is important to concentrate on high risk offenders and their criminogenic needs. Suggestions are also offered on the most practical ways to approach these issues.

Bechtel, K., Lowenkamp, C., Holsinger, A. (2011). Identifying the Predictors of Pre-Trial Failure: A Meta- Analysis.

In this article, the authors discuss a meta-analysis to identify risk factors that may predict rearrest for pre- trial defendants. The authors recognize that there is a very short period of time to assess pre-trial defendants and make recommendations to the court; therefore the risk assessment used must effectively assess the risk of rearrest. Through the meta-analysis process, the authors identify several areas that should be included in a risk assessment tool and suggest considerations when implementing and validating reliabilityof the tool. This article is very helpful for departments that are either considering or have already begun using a pre-trial risk assessment tool.

Winterfield, L., Coggeshall, M., Harrell, A. (2003). Development of an Empirically-Based Risk Assessment Instrument.. Urban Institute Justice Police Center.

There are many factors to look at when creating a risk assessment tool. This article details the development of a tool and includes information on research questions, selecting predictors, instrument construction methods, and developing supervision level classification. It provides a great deal of statistical information regarding tools and how to assess model performance.