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Bulletin 4: Prediction and Risk/Needs Assessment (Study Group on the Transitions Between Juvenile Delinquency and Adult Crime)

NCJ Number
Date Published
July 2013
45 pages
This fourth of six bulletins on the findings from the National Institute of Justice Study Group on the Transitions From Juvenile Delinquency and Adult Crime (the "Study Group") summarizes a chapter included in Loeber and Farrington's (2012) "From Juvenile Delinquency to Adult Crime."
The chapter begins with a discussion of general issues regarding prediction and risk/needs assessment regarding criminal behavior. The discussion includes consideration of the parameters of risk prediction as well as legal and ethical issues associated with risk assessment. The bulletin summarizes risk factors associated with criminal activity. Technical issues in conducting risk are then addressed, followed by reviews of the major established juvenile and adult risk-assessment tools. The chapter concludes with recommendations for research and clinical practice related to risk assessment and prediction. Regarding research, the chapter notes the primary need for more information about the risk, need, and protective factors associated with criminal activity from ages 18 to 29. Another area requiring research is the generalizability of current knowledge about the risk, need, and strength factors associated with early adult offending. The chapter also recommends the use of longitudinal studies of community samples that would permit post-hoc scoring of risk-assessment tools using variables available in the data set. The chapter draws three implications for clinical practitioners. First, based on a wealth of research findings, there are specific risk factors that should be contained in any risk-assessment tool for youth. Second, it should not be assumed that the factors associated with the initiation of criminal activity or desistance is the same for the early adulthood years as for earlier or later developmental stages. Third, lessons for broad systemic changes exist. The period of early adulthood has been traditionally neglected in the areas of educational, vocational, mental health, and social services. 83 references

Date Published: July 1, 2013