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New Report Highlights Risk and Needs Assessment at Sentencing

In 2011, the National Center for State Courts (NCSC) developed a report summarizing guidance from a National Working Group on how courts use offender risk and needs assessment (RNA) information to inform corrections-related decisions.  The Conference of Chief Justices and the Conference of State Court Administrators subsequently endorsed the report, and passed Resolution 7 recommending that “offender risk and needs assessment information be available to inform judicial decisions regarding effective management and reduction of the risk of offender recidivism.”  A new report that explores how ten jurisdictions from across the country have been using defendant risk and needs assessment information at sentencing is now available.  This report, Using Risk and Needs Assessment Information at Sentencing: Observations from Ten Jurisdictions, offers examples of how these jurisdictions have implemented the nine guiding principles for using RNAs to inform sentencing and probation revocation decisions.  It also captures themes in stakeholder perceptions of RNA information and its use at sentencing, experiences in adopting these reforms, and lessons learned.  Visit the NCSC’s Center for Sentencing Initiatives website for more details on the project and additional resources on the sentencing of offenders in the state courts.