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Tailoring to a Mandate: The Development and Validation of the Prisoner Assessment Tool Targeting Estimated Risk and Needs (PATTERN)

NCJ Number
Justice Quarterly Dated: 2021
Date Published

This article reports on the development and validation of the Prisoner Assessment Tool, which targets estimated risk and needs (PATTERN) of inmates.



In December 2018, the First Step Act of 2018 was signed into law, which required the Federal Bureau of Prisons (BOP) to begin using risk and needs assessment to assign programs and provide inmates with required treatment. The Attorney General was tasked to develop an assessment to assess and assign inmates to four possible risk levels. In response, BOP and National Institute of Justice (NIJ) researchers created the Prisoner Assessment Tool Targeting Estimated Risk and Needs (PATTERN). Developed and validated on a large sample (N = 222,970) of inmates released between 2009 and 2015, the PATTERN is a gender-specific instrument and uses static and dynamic items to assess general and violent recidivism. Using a boosted regression procedure, the PATTERN achieved a high level of predictive validity. Tests for bias revealed the PATTERN further reduced racial/ethnic disproportionality. (Publisher Abstract)


Date Published: January 1, 2021