Matching Services to Criminogenic Needs Following Comprehensive Risk Assessment Implementation in Juvenile Probation [2018]

One emphasis of juvenile justice reform has been implementation of risk assessment instruments to improve case planning. This study examined the ability of juvenile probation departments to apply the risk-needs-responsivity (RNR) framework into case planning following a comprehensive implementation protocol. Data were collected on 385 adolescent offenders across three probation departments following implementation of the Structured Assessment of Violence Risk for Youth (SAVRY) and an RNR-related case planning policy. As expected, as risk levels of youth increased, probation departments assigned more services and addressed more criminogenic need areas in their case plans. Most case plans (86%) adhered to the policy to limit the number of needs addressed at one time. The quality of service-to-need matching varied by criminogenic need area, risk level, and site. Implications to juvenile courts’ and probation officers’ case planning and the challenges of research on service-to-need matching are discussed.

Rebecca J. Nelson, Gina M. Vincent
Criminal Justice and Behavior, Vol 45, Issue 8, 2018