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GINA M VINCENT, PHD Associate Professor, UMass Medical School National Youth Screening & Assessment Project (NYSAP) Risk Assessment in Juvenile Justice.

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Presentation on theme: "GINA M VINCENT, PHD Associate Professor, UMass Medical School National Youth Screening & Assessment Project (NYSAP) Risk Assessment in Juvenile Justice."— Presentation transcript:

1 GINA M VINCENT, PHD Associate Professor, UMass Medical School National Youth Screening & Assessment Project (NYSAP) Risk Assessment in Juvenile Justice DOING IT RIGHT April 25, 2013

2 Leads a national movement State-based juvenile justice coalitions and organizations Laws, policies and practices that are fair, equitable and developmentally appropriate for all children, youth and families Photo: MorizaMoriza

3 Risk Assessment in Juvenile Justice: A Guidebook for Implementation Combines empirical evidence with the consensus of experts from three panels & multiple reviewers. Experts/Scholars on Risk Assessment Advisory Group (practitioners) Legal Stakeholders Focuses on risk assessment at probation or probation intake Layout Executive Summary Explanation of risk assessment concepts 8 steps of implementation CD with policy and other document templates

4 Outline Why is knowledge of a youths risk-level important for dispositional decisions and case management? What is a risk assessment tool? Why is it better than current practice? What makes a tool evidence-based? What can risk assessment do for you if it is properly implemented? Implementation Issues

5 WHY IS KNOWLEDGE OF A YOUTHS RISK-LEVEL IMPORTANT?

6 Guiding Principles: Research Evidence There is emerging consensus on characteristics of effective programming for young offenders: Punitive sanctions without effective services do not have a significant effect on re-offending (Gatti et al., 2009). Most low-risk youth are unlikely to re-offend even if there is no intervention (Lipsey, 2009). But mixing them with high risk youth can make them worse. When services are matched to youths crime-producing (criminogenic) needs, the lower the chance of repeat offending. The goal is to have the right services for the right youth.

7 Results of Cost/Benefit Research: Benefits Per Dollar Invested For every $1.00 spent on the following services, you save: Functional Family Therapy: $28.34 Multisystemic Family Therapy: $28.81 Multidimensional Treatment Foster Care: $43.70 Adolescent Diversion Project: $24.92 Juvenile Boot Camps: $0.81 Scared Straight: -$ (NET LOSS)

8 Risk-Needs-Responsivity (RNR) Approach to Case Management Risk – Match the intensity of the intervention with ones level of risk for re-offending Tells us Who to target Useful for level of supervision/intensity of services/ placement & disposition Need – Target criminogenic needs (or dynamic risk factors) Tells us What to target Provide only services for areas where youth have the highest needs Responsivity – Match the mode & strategies of services with the individual

9 Matching Services to Criminogenic Needs Can Have a Large Impact (Vieira et al., 2009) Match based on # of Services Given in Response to a Youths Criminogenic Needs % Re-offended

10 Risk Changes Across Adolescence, For Most

11 Why are Objective, Validated Instruments Better Than Current Practice? What do we do now? What is the accuracy?

12 ELEMENTS OF AN EVIDENCE-BASED RISK ASSESSMENT TOOL

13 What is a Risk Assessment Tool? Risk = risk for serious delinquent or violent offending A risk for reoffending or violence assessment tool is an instrument developed to help answer the question: Is this youth at relatively low or relatively high risk for reoffending or engaging in violent behavior? Brief risk assessment Comprehensive risk assessment Some, also address What is possibly causing the youth to be at low or relatively high risk for reoffending? Comprehensive risk assessment

14 What Does the Risk Level Mean? Risk is relative Low risk – Few risk factors, or few salient risk factors – Low intensity management/supervision sufficient – If left alone or with minimal management, would likely not reoffend High risk – Many risk factors, or some critical risk factors – High intensity management/supervision necessary – If left alone or with minimal management, would likely reoffend Moderate risk: neither high nor low risk

15 Example Actuarial Tool 42 Risk Items 8 Domains - Family - Attitude/orientation + Strengths Items rated present/ absent using interview + all available info

16 Example Structured Professional Judgment Tool 24 Risk Items - 10 Static - 14 Dynamic + 6 Protective Items Items rated a on 3-pt scale using interview + all available info

17 Definition of Terms: Risk Factor Risk factor: anything that increases the probability that a person will re-offend: 1. Static Risk Factors – do not change Examples: Early Onset of violent behavior Early Onset of arrests Number of past delinquent acts Onset of Substance Use

18 Risk Factors 2. Dynamic Risk Factors – changeable, targets for services and intervention (criminogenic needs) Personality/Attitude Traits – Lacks Remorse, Lacks Empathy, CD/ODD Attention Deficit Impulsivity/Risk-Taking Antisocial Attitudes Family Factors Inconsistent discipline Low parental involvement/supervision

19 Dynamic Risk Factors Substance Use/Abuse If it has a direct effect on their delinquent activity and is outside of the norm for adolescence Poor School/Work Achievement Antisocial Peers Needs that are NOT Criminogenic do NOT belong in risk assessment tools (at least not for calculating a risk score) : Some mental health variables Self-mutilation Learning Disability

20 Protective Factors or Strengths Decreases the potential harmful effect of a risk factor (a buffer) Pro-social activities/sports Positive social support Excelling at school

21 Elements of a Comprehensive Risk Assessment. Most Appropriate for Deep End Use Evidence-Based Assessment Static Risk Factors Dynamic Risk Factors (criminogenic needs) Protective or Responsivity Factors Well-Being or Non- Criminogenic Needs Enables reassessment of risk level to measure change

22 How to Pick an Evidence-Based Risk Assessment Tool – 5 elements (Vincent et al., 2009) Purports to assess risk for re-offending Has a test manual Was developed for, or validated on, juvenile justice youth in the right setting (gender, race, etc) Demonstrates reliability - two independent raters would reach similar conclusions Demonstrates a strong relation to re-offending (research refers to this as predictive validity)

23 RISK ASSESSMENT IMPLEMENTATION

24 Eight Steps of Implementation 1. Getting ready 2. Establishing stakeholder and staff buy-in 3. Select the tool and prepare to use it 4. Developing policies and other essential documents 5. Training 6. Pilot test implementation 7. Full implementation 8. Tasks to promote sustainability Case examples

25 Point in the Process for Using Risk Assessment: Pre-Adjudication Divert? Formally Process Risk Assessment Family Service Substance Abuse Treatment Peer Relations Disposition Reduce Re-Arrest?

26 Point in the Process for Using Risk Assessment: Post-Adjudication/Pre-Disposition Probation Group Home Secure Risk Assessment Family Service Substance Abuse treatment Mental Health Life Skills Reduce Re-Arrest?

27 What Else Should Be In Place for An Effective Risk Assessment System? Policies about… Use of the risk assessment tool Requirements for staff training Administration (when, by whom, to whom) How the information will be communicated (to courts, treatment providers, etc.) & appropriate information-sharing agreements Quality assurance procedures (by supervisors, via data reports)

28 What Else Should Be in Place? cont. Policies and documents structuring and standardizing how the information will be used in decisions…. Disposition recommendations Case plan Service referrals (application of a Service Matrix) Supervision level

29 Service Matrix Example (partial) Substance Abuse Family Circumstances/ Parenting Education/ Employment Low risk Fill in services Moderate Fill in services High risk Fill in services YLS Risk/Need Area

30 WHAT CAN RISK ASSESSMENT IF IMPLEMENTED PROPERLY DO FOR YOU?

31 Results of the MacArthur Risk Assessment Study: Reducing Use of Out-of-Home Placements (Vincent et al., 2012) OR = 0.56 OR = 0.37

32 Improved Allocation of Services (Vincent et al., 2012) Mean # Services p =.01 p =.04

33 Reducing Use of Maximum Levels of Supervision on Probation (Vincent et al., 2012) % At Supervision Level

34 In Some Cases, Reduce Recidivism OR =.47OR =.48OR =.42 New Petitions – 18 month follow-up (N = 442)

35 What Risk Assessments Do NOT Do NOT prescriptive These types of general risk assessments are NOT appropriate for identifying risk for sexual offending NOT mental health assessments They also do not identify potential mental health problems in need of an assessment Typically do NOT include items that are unrelated to future offending, like well-being needs (e.g., special education, depression, trauma)

36 Summary: Benefits of Risk Assessment Helps states to conserve resources Can help improve outcomes for young offenders….. Improved chance of reducing risk = reduction in re- offending Better use of placement and monitoring = improved functioning and cost-savings Provides a means for data tracking to evaluate…. Changes in youths risk (if using a dynamic assessment) Services and decisions pertaining to out-of-home placement Caveat: The benefits are unlikely to be attained without appropriate implementation

37 Questions? NYSAP website: - for downloading the manualhttp://www.nysap.us


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