Welcome to the Assessments Tool
Why an assessments tool?
Administrators, personnel, and service providers in jails, prisons, probation and parole departments, and community-based organizations often want to improve their assessment of the strengths, risks, and needs of people who are incarcerated or under community supervision to inform a plan that will prepare these individuals for a safe and successful return to the community. Re-entry is a new concept for many criminal justice professionals, however, and administrators are often unsure what issues to assess, and when, or what to do with the information their staff has collected.
What does this tool provide?
The purpose of this interactive tool is to encourage administrators and personnel in corrections and community settings to think comprehensively about screening and assessment, and to provide advice about what information should be collected about an individual’s risks and needs at key intervals throughout the period of incarceration and community supervision. The tool also describes who should be tasked with collecting this information and offers suggestions as to potential sources for this information.
Does this tool address issues of classification?
While this tool can be used to inform classification, its purpose is primarily one of helping to improve the assessment of the risks and needs of people under criminal justice supervision to inform treatment, programming, supervision, and service referrals that can prepare individuals for a safe and successful return to the community.
What if my organization doesn’t have the resources to do all of this assessment?
The content of this tool is aspirational. Many organizations do not have the resources to hire separate staff to gather and utilize all of the types of information described here. Most of this information can be collected by staff that already perform assessment functions. These staff can flag areas for further attention to specialists within their own agency or make referrals to other service providers in the community.
What other Justice Center assessment resources are available?
A forthcoming, complementary policy guide will address related issues such as information-sharing, confidentiality, and training, and include a series of case studies describing how administrators in several jurisdictions have improved their use of assessments in corrections and community-based settings. Together, these resources should prove valuable to helping the criminal justice and social service fields better prepare people for release from prisons and jails to the community.
Who contributed to this tool?
With the support of the Bureau of Justice Assistance, the Council of State Governments Justice Center developed this tool based on the Report of the Re-Entry Policy Council and the advice of numerous experts in the field (see Acknowledgments for a full list of advisory group members.)
Points of view or opinions in this tool are those of the authors and do not represent the official position or policies of project supporters, advisors, or CSG members.