The Risk-Need-Responsivity Model Revisited: Using Biosocial Criminology to Enhance Offender Rehabilitation [2017]

During the past four decades, researchers and practitioners working in corrections have shifted from a “nothing works” to a “what works” orientation. Emphasizing the importance of adopting evidence-based interventions, Andrews and Bonta have argued that efforts to rehabilitate offenders should adhere to a number of specified principles of effective intervention, three of which—risk, need, and responsivity—are considered the most critical. These principles were derived from Andrews and Bonta’s theory of the psychology of criminal conduct, which underscores the necessity to link correctional practice to empirically defensible theories of offending. The vast majority of research has provided evidence of the effectiveness of the risk-need-responsivity model; however, far less attention has been given to expanding its theoretical foundation. Given the wealth of evidence supporting biosocial explanations of criminal behavior, we consider potential avenues for enhancing the risk-need-responsivity model through the integration of key findings from biosocial research.

Jamie Newsome, Francis T. Cullen

Criminal Justice and Behavior, Vol 44, Issue 8, 2017