Does the Risk of Recidivism for Supervised Offenders Improve Over Time? Examining Changes in the Dynamic Risk Characteristics for Offenders Under Federal Supervision

16 Pages Posted: 9 Jul 2014 Last revised: 9 Oct 2014

See all articles by Thomas H. Cohen

Thomas H. Cohen

Government of the United States of America - Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts

Scott VanBenschoten

Office of Probation and Pretrial Services, Administrative Office of the United States Courts

Date Written: September 2014

Abstract

Federal probation embraces the concept of using the risk, needs, and responsivity model of community supervision. In 2009, the federal probation system began developing, validating, and implementing the Post Conviction Risk Assessment (PCRA) tool. The PCRA is a risk assessment instrument that identifies offenders most likely to commit new crimes and the criminogenic characteristics that, if changed, could reduce the likelihood of recidivism. Implementation of the PCRA allows federal probation officers to measure whether the criminogenic factors of offenders are lessening over time. In order to assess how offenders fare during their supervision term, this study tracked a population of 21,152 offenders placed on federal supervision from May 2010 through October 2013. The study found that many offenders initially classified at the highest risk levels moved to a lower risk category by their second assessment and that these changes were mostly driven by improvements in offenders’ employment and substance abuse-related dynamic factors. Those offenders experiencing improvements in their risk levels were less likely to have their probation terms revoked compared to offenders with stable or increased risk classifications.

Suggested Citation

Cohen, Thomas H. and VanBenschoten, Scott, Does the Risk of Recidivism for Supervised Offenders Improve Over Time? Examining Changes in the Dynamic Risk Characteristics for Offenders Under Federal Supervision (September 2014). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2463376 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2463376

Thomas H. Cohen (Contact Author)

Government of the United States of America - Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts ( email )

One Columbus Circle N.E.
Washington, DC 20544
United States

Scott VanBenschoten

Office of Probation and Pretrial Services, Administrative Office of the United States Courts

United States

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