The Center for Court Innovation seeks to help criminal justice officials make more informed decisions at all stages of the process—from bail to sentencing to reentry. The risk-need-responsivity model is a framework for developing treatment plans based on individuals’ histories and needs.
Risk refers to an individual’s chance of re-offending. Need refers to underlying problems such as addiction or joblessness that research has documented to impact the chances of re-offending. By using an evidence-based assessment to identify both risks and needs, criminal justice agencies can craft individualized treatment plans that target the problems that lead to criminal behavior.
The Center for Court Innovation attempts to promote the risk-need-responsivity model and evidence-based interventions through its operating programs and through its technical assistance work with reformers around the world. The Center is currently developing a short risk-need assessment instrument for busy urban criminal courts.
Risk Assessment, Racial Bias,
On December 5, 2016, the Center for Court Innovation hosted a small, half-day working session looking at recent developments in data science—machine learning, innovative data sources, and real-time computational abilities most notably—and whether they can be used to advance the practice of risk assessment while better safeguarding against racial bias. The session brought together criminal justice experts and practitioners, researchers, and top data scientists and ethicists and wrestled with some tough questions: How do we measure fairness? Can we live with some unmeasurable racial bias if the use of risk assessment tools ultimately reduces everyone's risk of incarceration? Can there be such a thing as algorithmic accountability? The group considered a range of empirical and practical strategies, although the consensus was that the discussion was just scratching the surface. The Center for Court Innovation is eager to continue fostering this mode of cross-disciplinary, cross-sector dialogue and problem-solving going forward. For a list of participants see here.
In The News
- Writing in the pages of Judges Journal, Center for Court Innovation Director of Mental Health Court Programs Carol Fisler discusses the implications of a growing body of research on the efficacy of mental health courts.
- An op-ed by the Center's Research Director Michael Rempel in the Albany Times Union on the findings from a study on the Rockefeller Drug Law reform.