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2014 Issue Brief: To Monitor Changing Risks and Needs, Repeat Assessment of Young Offenders Over Time

Published Dec 8, 2014, Models for Change Resource Center Partnership

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Valid, practical screening and assessment tools are now available to evaluate juvenile offenders’ risks for future criminal involvement and their case management needs. Analyses from the Pathways study show that these risks and needs change significantly over time, influenced by how an adolescent’s life unfolds.

This suggests a two-part system for managing risk in young offenders:

  1. Conduct periodic assessments throughout a youth’s contact with the system. This will not merely help identify offenders most likely to harm the community; it will also identify changes in risk and intervention needs as the youth progresses through the system.
  2. Match interventions to the youth’s current risks and needs, so the most intensive interventions can be targeted at those with the greatest risk. Getting the right services to the right adolescents and families should help change the factors that lead adolescents to offend and promote positive development.

IMPLICATIONS FOR POLICY AND PRACTICE Juvenile justice systems should conduct ongoing assessments of adolescents’ risks for reoffending and their case-management needs.


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Models for Change was a juvenile justice systems reform initiative supported by the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, website operated by Justice Policy Institute.