Risk and Need Principles


Experts Agree on Standard System to Understand and Reduce Risk of Recidivism

Although risk and needs assessment instruments are all intended to measure the same things, the field has not set standards or specifications about the terminology used to describe risk and needs categories across all of these instruments. Recently, the NRRC has facilitated efforts to standardize the terminology and improve the interpretation and application of risk and needs assessment results in correctional settings.

Three Things You Can Do to Prevent Bias in Risk Assessment

If your agency is using a risk and needs assessment, you should take action to identify how the tool is performing and develop a plan to remediate any issues (e.g., scoring inconsistencies or low predictive accuracy) you may discover.

Risk and Needs Assessment and Race in the Criminal Justice System

A recent ProPublica story on risk and needs assessment asked some important questions about a particular risk and needs assessment tool and the broader implications of its use. As the national discussion continues about the use and value of risk and needs assessment, The Council of State Governments Justice Center offers the following comments on risk and needs assessment as it relates to racial disparity and bias in the criminal justice system.

Key Resources

A Five-Level Risk and Needs System: Maximizing Assessment Results in Corrections through the Development of a Common Language

The National Reentry Resource Center facilitated efforts to examine and improve the standardization of the terminology associated with risk and needs levels and the interpretation and application of risk and needs assessment results in correctional settings. This white paper reports the results of those efforts.

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RAQI: Risk Assessment Quality Improvement Checklist

The Risk Assessment Quality Improvement (RAQI) checklist was developed to help state and local corrections agencies, community supervision agencies, and treatment/programming providers analyze how well their risk and needs assessment tool is working. The checklist helps identify potential problems with assessment tools quickly and efficiently. State agencies can then use this information to ensure that taxpayer dollars are targeted correctly and used effectively on supervision, programming, and treatment.

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Risk Assessment Instruments Validated and Implemented in Correctional Settings in the United States

This report designed to provide foundational knowledge and a working framework of risk assessment instruments for criminal justice and social service agencies, practitioners, and policymakers.

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In Brief: Understanding Risk and Needs Assessment

This webpost explains what risk and needs assessments are, when they should be used, and how accurate they are.

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