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Strategic Training Initiative in Community Supervision: Risk-Need-Responsivity in the Real World 2010-01

NCJ Number
James Bonta; Guy Bourgon; Tanya Rugge; Terri-Lynne Scott; Annie K. Yessine; Leticia Gutierrez; Jobina Li
Date Published
April 2010
20 pages
This Canadian study evaluated the effectiveness of probation officer (PO) training in the risk-need-responsivity (RNR) model in achieving an improved implementation of this model in actual case management.
First proposed in 1990 by Andrews, Bonta, and Hoge, the RNR model has become one of the most influential models for guiding treatment interventions in corrections. The RNR model consists of three core principles. The "risk" principle involves matching the level of services to the risk level of the offender. The "need" principle focuses treatment on the identified criminogenic needs of the offender. The "responsivity" principle involves matching the style and mode of intervention to the ability and learning style of the offender. Social learning and cognitive-behavioral styles of influence (e.g., role-playing, prosocial modeling, and cognitive restructuring) generally work best with offenders. Although the RNR model of offender rehabilitation has guided the development of treatment programs, it has not been applied in situations of one-on-one supervision. In order to make such a transition, an RNR-based training program was developed and delivered to POs to assist them in the direct supervision of probationers. For the purposes of the evaluation of the effectiveness of the training, POs were assigned to a training or no-training condition. After training, POs audiotaped some of their sessions with clients in order to assess their use of the skills taught in training. The evaluation found that the trained POs demonstrated more of the RNR-based skills and that their clients had a lower recidivism rate. The findings suggest that training in the evidenced-based principles of the RNR model can improve the interactions of POs with their clients. 6 tables, 1 figure, and 25 references