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Selecting the Appropriate Risk Assessment Tool

NCJ Number
Date Published
July 2018
4 pages
This Policy Brief from the Public Safety Risk Assessment Clearinghouse poses questions that guide criminal justice practitioners in identifying the appropriate risk assessment tool for the type of decision to be made.
In selecting the appropriate risk assessment tool, issues to be decided are whether to purchase a commercially available risk assessment tool, adopt and modify an existing tool, or develop a new tool for one's own jurisdiction. In making this decision, the questions posed address the type of decision being made regarding risk assessment, the population being assessed, whether prediction of specific types of outcomes is required, whether the intent is to reduce risk and measure progress, the staff time that can be given to the assessment, and what tool current or potential partners are using. A table is provided that lists in a column various decisions in criminal case processing, such as pretrial release/detention, bond-setting, and supervision; diversion/sentencing; and community supervision level-setting. Seven different decision points in case processing are listed. For each of these seven types of decisions, the items the risk assessment tool might measure are listed, along with the type of tool that would be appropriate.