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(Twice) Failure of the Wisconsin Risk Need Assessment in a Sample of Probationers

NCJ Number
Criminal Justice Policy Review Volume: 24 Issue: 2 Dated: March 2013 Pages: 199-221
Howard Henderson; Holly A. Miller
Date Published
March 2013
23 pages
This article discusses the Wisconsin Risk Need Assessment Instrument.
Despite being created and validated in the 1970s and 1980s, and widely adopted by many agencies in the United States, including Texas, the Wisconsin Risk Need Assessment Instrument has yet to be examined with a contemporaneous Texas probationer sample. Due to the majority of previous research reporting poor utility, the instrument's authors proposed a new scoring system for the risk portion of the instrument in 2009 in an attempt to increase the predictive utility. This study examines the original instrument and is the first to examine the proposed reweighted risk scale's relationship to recidivism with an independent sample of 194 male probationers. Findings revealed that the original risk/need sections and proposed reweighted risk items failed to explain significant variance in recidivism with very few items relating to reoffense. The current results provide further evidence that the Wisconsin Risk Need Assessment should be replaced by other empirically validated risk/need instruments. Abstract published by arrangement with Sage Journals.