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2021 Review and Revalidation of the First Step Act Risk Assessment Tool

NCJ Number
Date Published
December 2021
56 pages

This report documents the activities and accomplishments of a project to develop the Prisoner Assessment Tool Targeting Estimated Risk and Needs (PATTERN), which stemmed from the federal First Step Act (FSA) of 2018, which mandates the development and implementation of a risk and needs assessment system for use with each person in the custody of the Federal Bureau of Prisons.


The current report complies with the FSA’s requirement to review, validate, and release publicly its risk and needs assessment system, i.e., PATTERN. This report details activities to date under the National Institute of Justice’s (NIJ’s) contract established in April 2019 to develop PATTERN. Part 1 of this report summarizes the development and initial review of PATTERN. As documented in NIJ’s January 2021 report, discrepancies were identified with some of the measures used to create PATTERN. The current report presents the results of consultants’ collaboration with staff from the Bureau of Prisons’ (BOP’s) Office of Research and Evaluation (ORE) to correct the discrepancies. Part 2 of the current report describes the study sample and statistical models that were estimated using the updated data to create PATTERN version 1.3. This section also summarizes the new version 1.3 item weights, item point assignments, risk-level categories, and descriptive statistics of risk scores and RLC’s for the validation and revalidation samples. This report also includes the review and revalidation analyses related to the predictive validity, dynamic validity, and racial and ethnic neutrality of PATTERN 1.3, as required by the FSA. Overall, results suggest PATTERN 1.3 has a high level of predictive accuracy, with AUCs ranging from 0.75 to 0.79 across validation and revalidation samples. Extensive figures, tables, and references

Date Published: December 1, 2021