Risk Assessment

Publications

Domestic Violence Risk Factor Guide: An Implementation Manual for Civil Courts

Domestic Violence Risk Factor Guide: An Implementation Manual for Civil Courts

The goal of this guide is to increase the capacity of civil judges and self-represented litigants to identify and respond to domestic violence risk factors in civil protective order hearings. With funding from the State Justice Institute, the Center has created three risk factor guide templates and an Implementation Manual. These address the need for self-represented litigants to have a tool outlining the domestic violence risk factors and legal remedies available to them through the civil protective order process, along with the need for judges to have clearly articulated risk factors linked to legal sanctions, conditions, and mandates.

Publications

A Person-Centered Approach to Risk and Need Classification in Drug Court

A Person-Centered Approach to Risk and Need Classification in Drug Court

By Warren A. Reich, Sarah Picard-Fritsche and Michael Rempel

This study suggests relying on summary risk scores alone to decide on treatment options for an important, hitherto under-emphasized, subpopulation of drug court participants may be leading to counter-productive outcomes. For the purposes of the study, 265 New York City drug court participants completed two commonly-used risk and needs assessments: the Level of Service Inventory—Revised, and the Texas Christian University Drug Screen II. By examining the pattern of responses used to compile the summary scores, rather than only the scores themselves, study authors statistically identified three distinct groups of participants. One group was distinguished by the confluence of an extensive criminal history, severe mental health issues, and substantial interference in major life-roles from substance use.

Download PDF from Justice Quarterly (subs. required)

Read More

Publications

Demystifying Risk Assessment: Key Principles and Controversies

Demystifying Risk Assessment: Key Principles and Controversies

By Sarah Picard-Fritsche, Michael Rempel, Jennifer A. Tallon, Julian Adler and Natalie Reyes

This paper explains the science underlying risk-based decision-making and explores both the promise and controversies associated with the increasing application of “big data” to the field of criminal justice. While the technology has contributed to important policy reforms, such as the diversion of low-risk groups from jail and prison, debate has arisen over the potential for risk assessments to reproduce existing racial biases, the lack of transparency of some proprietary tools, and the challenge of applying classifications based on group behavior to individual cases. Along with identifying an emerging professional consensus that the careful and ethical implementation of risk assessment tools can improve outcomes, the paper closes with a series of best practices urging jurisdictions adopt a localized, collaborative approach.

Publications

Jail in New York City: Evidence-Based Opportunities for Reform

Jail in New York City: Evidence-Based Opportunities for Reform

This report lays out a series of reforms to significantly reduce New York City's jail population, a move that would also cut costs substantially. To identify ways to safely reduce the use of jail, the New York City Mayor’s Office of Criminal Justice commissioned research on the path of criminal cases from arrest through bail decisions to sentencing. Among the report’s findings:

Download Summary of Report

To hear a podcast with the report's lead author

Read More

Publications

FACT SHEET: Jail in New York City: Evidence-Based Opportunities for Reform

FACT SHEET: Jail in New York City: Evidence-Based Opportunities for Reform

To identify ways to safely reduce the use of jail, the New York City Mayor’s Office of Criminal Justice commissioned research on the path from arrest through bail to sentencing. The research also examined how much taxpayers spend on incarceration.

Download Full Report

To hear a podcast with the report's lead author

Publications

Evidence-Based Risk Assessment in a Mental Health Court: A Validation Study of the COMPAS Risk Assessment

Evidence-Based Risk Assessment in a Mental Health Court: A Validation Study of the COMPAS Risk Assessment

By Warren A. Reich, Sarah Picard-Fritsche, Virginia Barber Rioja and Merrill Rotter

This study examines the validity of the COMPAS with offenders who have a serious mental illness. A widely used risk-needs assessment tool, the COMPAS was found to be a good predictor of re-arrest with this population, although it was more effective in distinguishing low-risk offenders from all others than in identifying those who pose a medium as opposed to a high risk of re-arrest. Overall, approximately two-thirds of study-participants were classified as low risk. At the same time, more than half of the sample scored in the high range on the important needs domains of substance abuse, criminal personality, and criminal thinking. The study discusses potential implications for using the COMPAS with mentally-ill individuals.

Video

Connecticut Governor Malloy Addresses Justice Summit

Connecticut Governor Malloy Addresses Justice Summit

Dannel P. Malloy, the governor of Connecticut, was the keynote speaker at Justice Innovations in Times of Change, a summit sponsored by the Center for Court Innovation and the U.S. Department of Justice's Bureau of Justice Assistance in September 2016. The governor spoke about reforms under way in his state that have raised the age of criminal responsibility to 18, reduced the use of incarceration, and lowered crime to levels not seen since the 1960s.

Interviews

Taking a Collaborative Approach to Addressing Racial and Ethnic Disparities in the Justice System

Taking a Collaborative Approach to Addressing Racial and Ethnic Disparities in the Justice System

Tshaka Barrows, deputy director of the Burns Institute, discusses his organization's collaborative and community-centered approach to addressing and eliminating racial and ethnic disparities in the justice system. Barrows spoke with Robert V. Wolf, director of communications at the Center for Court Innovation, after participating in a panel on Race and Procedural Justice at Justice Innovations in Times of Change on Sept. 30, 2016.

Interviews

The Potential for Bias in Risk-Assessment Tools: A Conversation

The Potential for Bias in Risk-Assessment Tools: A Conversation

In this New Thinking podcast, Reuben J. Miller, assistant professor of social work at the University of Michigan, and his research collaborator Hazelette Crosby-Robinson discuss some of the criticisms that have been leveled against risk assessment tools. Those criticisms include placing too much emphasis on geography and criminal history, which can distort the actual risk for clients from neighborhoods that experience an above-average presence of policing and social services. "Geography is often a proxy for race," Miller says. Miller and Crosby-Robinson spoke with the Center for Court Innovation's Director of Communications Robert V. Wolf after they participated in a panel on the "The Risk-Needs-Responsivity Framework"  at Justice Innovation in Times of Change, a regional summit on Sept. 30, 2016 in North Haven, Conn.

Publications

Reducing Jail and Protecting Victims: A Roundtable on Pretrial Supervised Release

Reducing Jail and Protecting Victims: A Roundtable on Pretrial Supervised Release

By Julian Adler and Katie Crank

In January 2016, jail reduction and victim advocates discussed strategies for including the voices of survivors of crime in implementing pretrial supervised release programs. This document highlights the far-reaching and complicated discussion. The facilitated roundtable was convened by the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation and the Center for Court Innovation as part of the Safety and Justice Challenge, a national initiative to reduce mass incarceration by changing the way America thinks about and uses jails.

Video

Advanced Topics in Risk and Needs Assessments: Panel at Community Justice 2016

Advanced Topics in Risk and Needs Assessments: Panel at Community Justice 2016

This panel, held at the Community Justice 2016 International Summit, takes a comprehensive look at risk and needs assessment tools. Moderated by Brett Taylor, senior advisor on problem-solving justice at the Center for Court Innovation, the panelists include Sarah Fritsche, associate director of research at the Center for Court Innovation, Leah Garabedian, senior program manager of the Justice Management Institute, and Mark Kammerer, supervisor of the Alternative Prosecution/Sentencing Unit at the Cook County State's Attorney's Office.

Audio

Prosecutors Explore New Solutions to Public Safety Concerns: A Conversation about the 'Smart Prosecution Initiative'

Prosecutors Explore New Solutions to Public Safety Concerns: A Conversation about the 'Smart Prosecution Initiative'

The Bureau of Justice Assistance at U.S. Department of Justice created the Smart Prosecution Initiative to encourage prosecutors to explore new solutions to public safety problems. Grant recipients work with researchers to document outcomes and develop effective, economical, and innovative responses to crime. In this podcast, Denise O'Donnell, the director of the Bureau of Justice Assistance, sits down with Jose Egurbide of the Los Angeles City Attorney's Office and Mark Kammerer of the Cook County State’s Attorney’s Office to talk about their Smart Prosecution programs, which use risk assessment tools to divert low-level offenders from court.

Read More

Publications

Implementing Evidence Based Assessment and Treatment Matching: A Feasibility and Impact Study in Three New York City Drug Courts

Implementing Evidence Based Assessment and Treatment Matching: A Feasibility and Impact Study in Three New York City Drug Courts

By Sarah Picard-Fritsche, Michael Rempel, Warren A. Reich, Erin Farley and Ashmini G. Kerodal

This report presents an overview of the feasibility and impact of introducing evidence-based risk assessment and treatment-matching protocols into three established New York City drug courts.

Read More

Publications

Assessment and Treatment Matching: A Case Study of Traditional Practices in Three New York City Drug Courts

Assessment and Treatment Matching: A Case Study of Traditional Practices in Three New York City Drug Courts

By Erin Farley, Michael Rempel and Sarah Picard-Fritsche

The findings in this report are based on an analysis of two years of clinical assessment and treatment placement data in three established New York City drug courts. Findings suggest that case management staff in these courts regularly completed a lengthy bio-psychosocial assessment of each participant, but ultimately relied on a small number of factors related to current and past drug use, social support, employment, and residential stability when making treatment planning decisions. Further, treatment planning decisions were broadly informed by a desire to place drug court participants in the “least restrictive” treatment setting as an initial modality.

Read More

Audio

Innovations in Pretrial Justice: The View from Denver

Innovations in Pretrial Justice: The View from Denver

At Reinvesting in Justice, Aubree Cote, smart pretrial site coordinator for Denver, talks about the city's reform efforts and what different states and jurisdictions can learn from each other regarding pretrial justice.

Contact
  • New York
  • 520 8th Avenue
  • 18th Floor
  • New York, NY 10018
  • phone: 646.386.3100
  • Syracuse
  • 601 Tully Street
  • Syracuse, NY 13204
  • phone: 315.266.4330
  • London
  • Canterbury Court
    1-3 Brixton Road
  • London, SW9 6DE
  • phone: +44 2076.329.060