Bougue, Brad, Bill Woodward, Nancy M Campbell, Elyse Clawson, and Dorothy Faust. “Implementing Evidence-Based Practice in Community Corrections: The Principles of Effective Intervention.” National Institute of Corrections. Crime and Justice Institute (CJI) (Boston MA), 2004. https://nicic.gov/implementing-evidence-based-practice-community-corrections-principles-effective-intervention.
Research supports several principles for effective offender interventions. NIC highlights eight principles in its "Evidence-Based Policy and Practice" initiative. They are listed below in developmental sequence.
Polaschek, Devon L L. “An Appraisal of the Risk'-Need-Responsivity (RNR) Model of Offender Rehabilitation and Its Application in Correctional Treatment.” Semantic Scholar. Legal and Criminological Psychology v. 17, pp. 1-17., 2012. https://www.researchgate.net/publication/230492408_An_appraisal_of_the_Risk-Need-Responsivity_RNR_model_of_offender_rehabilitation_and_its_application_in_correctional_treatment.
The RNR (risk-need-responsivity) model is evaluated. This article discusses: what the RNR model is; contextualizing the RNR model as a rehabilitation framework; model appraisal criteria; strengths; weaknesses; knowledge transfer issues; and future directions. '[A]lthough the RNR model's empirical validity and practical utility justify its place as the dominant model, it is not the 'last word' on offender rehabilitation; there is much work still to be done' (p. 1). (NIC Information Center has a copy)
Looman, Jan, and Jeffrey Abracen. “The Risk Need Responsivity Model of Offender Rehabilitation: Is There Really a Need For a Paradigm Shift?” American Psychological Association. International Journal of Behavioral Consultation and Therapy, 2013. https://psycnet.apa.org/fulltext/2014-12592-007.html.
The current paper critically reviews the Risk-Need-Responsivity (RNR) and Good Lives Model (GLM) approaches to correctional treatment. Research, or the lack thereof, is discussed in terms of whether there is a need for a new model of offender rehabilitation. We argue that although there is a wealth of research in support of RNR approaches, there is presently very little available research demonstrating the efficacy of the GLM in terms of the impact that programs based on this model of rehabilitation have on observed rates of recidivism among offender populations.
Desmarais, Sarah, and Jay Singh. “Risk Assessment Instruments Validated and Implemented in Correctional Settings in the United States.” Justice Center. Council for State Governments, March 27, 2013. https://csgjusticecenter.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/02/Risk-Assessment-Instruments-Validated-and-Implemented-in-Correctional-Settings-in-the-United-States.pdf.
A report designed to provide foundational knowledge and a working framework of risk assessment instruments for criminal justice and social service agencies, practitioners, and policymakers.
“Risk and Needs Assessment.” APPA (American Probation and Parole Association). The Council of State Governments, March 2015. https://www.appa-net.org/eweb/Dynamicpage.aspx?webcode=IB_IssuePaper&wps_key=59dd054a-36d3-464c-ba97-bd8b032d12ea.
A statement enacted in March 2015 by the American Probation and Parole Association regarding the use of risk and needs assessments to predicate recidivism.
Picard-Fritsche, Sarah, Michael Rempel, Jennifer A Tallon, Julian Adler, and Natalie Reyes. “Demystifying Risk Assessment: Key Principles and Controversies 2017.” Innovating Justice. Center for Court Innovation, March 2017. https://www.innovatingjustice.org/sites/default/files/documents/Monograph_March2017_Demystifying%20Risk%20Assessment_1.pdf.
This paper explains the science underlying risk-based decision-making and explores both the promise and controversies associated with the increasing application of “big data” to the field of criminal justice. While the technology has contributed to important policy reforms, such as the diversion of low-risk groups from jail and prison, debate has arisen over the potential for risk assessments to reproduce existing racial biases, the lack of transparency of some proprietary tools, and the challenge of applying classifications based on group behavior to individual cases. Along with identifying an emerging professional consensus that the careful and ethical implementation of risk assessment tools can improve outcomes, the paper closes with a series of best practices urging jurisdictions to adopt a localized, collaborative approach.
James, Nathan. “Risk and Needs Assessment in the Federal Prison System.” Congressional Research Service Reports. Congressional Research Service, July 10, 2018. https://crsreports.congress.gov/product/details?prodcode=R44087.
This document provides a high-level overview of risk and needs assessment and can be used to form talking points or used as a handout for students to improve their understanding of the risk and needs principle, the types of instruments that can be used, and what they do. It was prepared for members of committees of Congress by the Congressional Research Services.
Viglione, Jill. “The Risk-Need-Responsivity Model: How Do Probation Officers Implement the Principles of Effective Intervention?” SAGE Journals. Criminal Justice and Behavior, May 2019. https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/full/10.1177/0093854818807505.
The advancement of evidence-based practices (EBP) and the Risk-Need-Responsivity (RNR) model suggests several key practices for probation agencies, including validated risk and needs assessments and appropriate treatment matching. Despite evidence supporting use of practices aligned with the RNR model to improve offender outcomes, research identifies significant implementation challenges in probation practice. Using 1,084 hours of ethnographic data, the current study sought to examine how probation staff implemented best practices aligned with the risk, need, and responsivity principles. Analyses suggest probation staff supervision practices misaligned with research evidence on RNR and associated agency trainings. Probation officers rarely used the risk and needs assessment to inform supervision decisions, creation of case plans, and referrals to treatment programs. Findings highlight the challenges associated with moving evidence on the RNR model to routine probation practice. Implications for policy and research are discussed, including a focus on perceived liability and implementation of best practices.
Marlowe, Douglas. “The Most Carefully Studied, Yet Least Understood, Terms in the Criminal Justice Lexicon: Risk, Need, Responsivity.” Policy Research Associates. SAMHSA Gains Center, October 14, 2021. https://www.prainc.com/risk-need-responsitivity/.
Despite compelling evidence validating these RNR principles, many behavioral health and criminal justice professionals misconstrue the concepts of risk, need, and responsivity, leading them to deliver the wrong services to the wrong persons and in the wrong order. Even with the best of intentions to follow evidence-based practices, many programs inadvertently waste precious resources, frustrate consumers, and deliver lackluster results. To enhance program effectiveness and efficiency, it is necessary to translate these research-based principles into terms that are familiar to many practitioners, to help them select the most appropriate interventions under the right circumstances. [To aid in this process, a glossary of technical terms used in this article is provided in Table 1].
Ramezani, Niloofar, Avi Bhati, Amy Murphy, Douglas Routh, and Faye S. Taxman. “Assessing the Reliability and Validity of the Risk-Need-Responsivity (RNR) Program Tool - Health & Justice.” BioMed Central. Springer Berlin Heidelberg, July 7, 2022. https://healthandjusticejournal.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/s40352-022-00182-w.
This article discusses fidelity scales from the RNR Program Tool and provides guidance on the importance of tool development processes to ensure accurate, valid, and reliable scales. The purpose of the RNR Program Tool is to create a modern, online tool integrating both the empirical (research) literature on effective practices and clinical standards on quality programming. This process minimizes the need for consultants by giving program administrators the ability to gather information on their programs, score them, and receive instant and targeted feedback with recommendations for improvement to assess their programs against empirical standards in the field. Furthermore, it provides a standardized tool that administrators can use to examine what type of individuals fare better in their programs. The provided targeted feedback can give the programs the ability to seek technical assistance or guidance in specific areas that can strategically strengthen their program.