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Importance of Risk Assessments to Positive Outcomes for Youth - Juvenile Justice Research Spotlight

NCJ Number
Date Published
May 2020
3 pages
In this 5-minute video, Gina Vincent - Associate Professor and Director of Law and Psychiatry at the University of Massachusetts Medical School - is interviewed about her research on how risk assessment and the risk-need-responsivity model influence change in how individuals in the justice system are processed.
In answering the question regarding her general research interests and focus, she discusses her research on how risk assessment and the risk-need-responsivity model have changed the way that individuals are processed by the justice system, especially juveniles. Her main research interest is how these tools and processes are implemented and whether they can be improved to achieve better outcomes. When questioned about the key findings of her research related to juvenile justice, she gives priority to the significant change that is occurring in the sentencing (dispositions) of youth in the juvenile justice system. She reports that when a risk assessment and risk-need-responsivity model are implemented, accompanied by a multidisciplinary assessment of the findings, then youth receive less severe sentences and informal dispositions. They may also be diverted from the traditional formal processing of the justice system. Other subjects discussed in this interview are her view of the implications of her research for justice system policy and practice; what she hopes will be the response of academics, practitioners, and the public to discussions of the justice system's use of risk and needs assessments; and what additional research, development, and collaboration is needed for juvenile justice issues.

Date Published: May 1, 2020