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Risk and Needs Assessment in the Criminal Justice System

Congressional Research ServiceRisk and needs assessment instruments, with a moderate level of accuracy, can predict who is at risk for violent reoffending, according to a research brief from the Congressional Research Service. These instruments measure an individual’s likelihood for future offending, based on data and information collected during the assessment.

This brief provides an overview of risk and needs assessments, the Risk-Need-Responsivity (RNR) model, and critiques of these instruments. It also lists specific issues for Congress to consider in regards to the instruments.