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Where Are We in Our Ability to Assess Risk?

NCJ Number
Forum on Corrections Research Volume: 5 Issue: 2 Dated: May 1993 Pages: 14-18
L. L. Motiuk
Date Published
May 1993
5 pages
Methods of assessing offender risk have improved greatly in the last decade; an integrated Offender Intake Assessment System (OIAS) is likely soon as a means of providing comprehensive, integrated, and systematic assessments upon intake into correctional institutions, combined with routine reassessments.
The assessment of offender risk serves to structure many decisions regarding custody or security classifications, temporary and conditional release, supervision requirements, and program placement. However, the ability to conduct formal risk assessments is directly related to the resources of a correctional agencies. Current assessment techniques are more effective than early ones, but the amount of variance left unexplained still outweighs that which can be explained. Canada's recent Correctional Strategy Initiative includes a newly designed intake assessment process, which uses a modification of community risk/needs management scale and uses an offender's needs as the basis for programming. In addition, the OIAS pilot system is being field tested and developed as a microcomputer application. Moreover, technology based on artificial intelligence will soon be used to provide tutoring to staff who assess offenders. Tables and footnotes