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Center for Sentencing Initiatives Shares New Brief

A new brief by the National Center for State Courts’ Center for Sentencing Initiatives, funded in part by The Pew Charitable Trusts, addresses evidence-based sentencing (EBS) as part of a comprehensive sentencing policy for probation-eligible felony offenders.

Intended for a judicial audience, the brief:

  • defines evidence-based sentencing;
  • explains what risk and needs assessment (RNA) instruments are;
  • how they differ from risk assessment (RA) instruments; and,
  • outlines how judges may appropriately use RNA information to inform community corrections-related sentencing decisions.

Also detailed is the use of RNA tools to adjudicate matters fairly, without predictive or implicit bias.  The brief notes it is, “critical that the RNA tool be properly validated on the local criminal justice population with whom it will be used.”

The brief, Use of Risk and Needs Assessment Information in State Sentencing Proceedings, and other resources can be found online: