Review and Revalidation of the First Step Act Risk Assessment Tool: A letter to the Research Community
With this solicitation, NIJ requests proposals for rigorous research to examine reentry initiatives that incorporate promising practices, strategies, or programs. NIJ is interested in supporting evaluations of innovative reentry initiatives that focus on offenders with a moderate-to-high risk of reoffending.
With this funding opportunity, NIJ seeks review and revalidate on an annual basis the risk assessment tool developed in response to the First Step Act (FSA). The risk assessment tool, the Prisoner Assessment Tool Targeting Estimated Risk and Needs (PATTERN), will be implemented and used by the Federal Bureau of Prisons (BOP) to predict the likelihood of general and violent recidivism for all BOP inmates.
Researchers have devoted considerable attention to mass incarceration, specifically its magnitude, costs, and collateral consequences. In the face of economic constraints, strategies to reduce correctional populations while maintaining public safety are becoming a fiscal necessity. This panel will present strategies that states have undertaken to reduce incarceration rates while balancing taxpayer costs with ensuring public safety.
What changes are you seeing in corrections and reentry?
Terri McDonald, chief probation officer, Los Angeles County Probation Department and John Wetzel, secretary of corrections, Pennsylvania Department of Corrections talk about recent changes in corrections and reentry. Wetzel elaborates on what the Pennsylvania DOC is facilitating with housing and how it individualizes its reentry programs. McDonald remarks on Los Angeles County’s systems approach to reentry and the idea of treating the whole person.
How do you use data and science to measure program success?
John Wetzel, secretary of corrections, Pennsylvania Department of Corrections and Grant Duwe, Ph.D., director of research and evaluation, Minnesota Department of Corrections explain how their agencies evaluate programs using data and science. Duwe details how the most effective programs provided by the Minnesota DOC have been those that focus on known risk factors for recidivism.
Alix McLearen, Ph.D., acting assistant director, Reentry Services Division, Federal Bureau of Prisons and John Wetzel, secretary of corrections, Pennsylvania Department of Corrections discuss programs and services that their agencies offer to help individuals overcome the challenges encountered when leaving incarceration. These various programs and services address the individuals’ needs in areas such as physical and mental health, addiction, education, vocation, and life skills.