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NCJ Number: 228808 Find in a Library
Title: Organizational Politics of Implementing Risk Assessment Instruments in Community Corrections
Journal: Journal of Contemporary Criminal Justice  Volume:25  Issue:4  Dated:November 2009  Pages:412-423
Author(s): Melinda D. Schlager
Date Published: November 2009
Page Count: 12
Type: Issue Overview
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: This essay identifies features of organizational politics that impede the successful implementation of risk-assessment instruments by community corrections agencies, and it suggests elements of change management that can address these features.
Abstract: Once it was accepted that actuarial risk assessment outperformed clinical judgment, scholars began to focus on developing actuarial measures predicated on relevant theory and multiple criminogenic domains. As actuarial risk assessment instruments have become more refined over time, their relevance to and impact on changing the face of community corrections policy and practice has become more apparent; however, comprehensive staff acceptance of and commitment to actuarial risk assessment is essential to its successful implementation. This new way of thinking about risk will require a paradigm shift for many community corrections officers. The adoption of an actuarial risk-assessment instrument as the means of determining the needs and required services for supervised offenders in the community will replace the traditional use of clinical judgment of risk. In many cases, this change elicits resistance from staff, who may perceive that they are losing control over case management decisions. Many officers view personal discretion in decisionmaking as a core element of their jobs. Moving away from clinically based decisionmaking will require comprehensive agency change that encompasses an agency’s mission, vision, objectives and goals, performance standards, work product, and forms used to perform community corrections. If these changes are not made and faithfully implemented, staff will assume that the customary tasks of case management have not changed. The key ingredients for a successful design and implementation of risk-assessment instruments in a community corrections agency include leadership, training, professionalism, and a commitment to evidence-based tools and practices that improve outcomes for the offenders it supervises. 36 references
Main Term(s): Community-based corrections (adult)
Index Term(s): Change management; Probation or parole agencies; Probation or parole decisionmaking; Probation or parole officer training; Probation or parole officers; Recidivism prediction; Risk management
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