Wisconsin State Risk Assessment Validation


Probation and parole agencies across the country use risk assessment instruments to predict the likelihood that individuals under supervision will reoffend. Like other departments across the nation, the Division of Community Corrections of the Wisconsin Department of Corrections requires that the “Admission to Adult Field Caseload” risk classification instrument be completed for all felony and assaultive misdemeanor cases at the time an offender is admitted to field supervision. This instrument, commonly referred to as the DOC 502, is used not only to estimate risk probabilities for supervision purposes, but also to help determine staff workload and deployment.

The DOC 502 risk assessment instrument was last validated in 1984 and department officials have sought to examine the validity of their risk instrument on a more contemporaneous population. To address the need for revalidation, the Wisconsin Department of Corrections contracted with the Council of State Governments Justice Center to conduct a validation study of the DOC 502 risk assessment instrument. This report reviews general issues associated with the use of risk assessment instruments in classifying offenders and presents the results of a validation study of the DOC 502 risk assessment instrument.

Validity of risk assessment instruments is the most important supportive principle behind the proper utilization of these instruments. Namely, the instruments’ predictions must be supported by research showing it can identify different groups of offenders with different probabilities of reoffending.

Validation of the Wisconsin Department of Corrections Risk Assessment Instrument Publication

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