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Building Capacity for Tribal Justice Solutions: A Portrait of Assessments and Technology in Tribal Courts

NCJ Number
Date Published
38 pages

This report summarizes the first steps taken by the Center for Court innovation in partnership with the Tribal Defenders of the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes in acquiring the knowledge needed to develop and implement risk-need assessments tailored for persons typically processed by tribal courts.


Criminal justice practitioners have increasingly relied on risk-need assessments to identify the needs and risks that must be addressed in decisions about dispositions and services most likely to prevent reoffending; however. the assessments used in one context or jurisdiction may not prove effective for persons in other jurisdictions with distinctive subcultures or socioeconomic conditions. Recognizing this to be the case for persons processed by the courts of the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Indian Tribes, this tribal body entered a researcher-practitioner partnership with the Center for Court Innovation to develop a risk-need assessment protocol tailored to those processed by the tribal courts. The first chapter of the current report introduces the need for a tribal-specific assessment and describes the tribal-researcher partnership created to identify the needs and develop the capacities needed to validate new or existing risk-need assessments. The second chapter summarizes the findings from a survey of tribal courts intended to obtain information on existing assessment practices and technology needs. The third chapter presents recommendations for next steps in the development, validation, and implementation of an appropriate risk assessment tool for use in tribal courts. One recommendation is to improve the validation of existing risk-need assessment tools used in tribal court settings, and another recommendation is to develop and validate a novel risk-need assessment tool for tribal courts. 7 references and appended survey instrument

Date Published: January 1, 2021