Risk/Needs Assessment in Juvenile Justice: Predictive Validity of the SAVRY, Racial Differences, and Contribution of Needs Factors

Juvenile Specialty Court

Risk/Needs Assessment in Juvenile Justice: Predictive Validity of the SAVRY, Racial Differences, and Contribution of Needs Factors

January 1, 2011

This field validity study of the SAVRY used with a juvenile detention sample indicated that dynamic risk factors were crucial for predicting violent reoffending, and its predictive accuracy for violent reoffending was equivalent for White, Black, and Hispanic youth.

The authors conducted a prospective study of the predictive validity of the Structured Assessment of Violence Risk in Youth (SAVRY) using a 5-year follow-up period and a sample of 480 male adolescents assessed by juvenile detention personnel. Analyses were conducted to examine differential validity by race-ethnicity, the relative contribution of structured professional judgments of risk level, and the incremental validity of dynamic to static risk factors. Overall, the SAVRY total scores were significantly predictive of any type of reoffending with some variability across racial-ethnic groups. Youths rated as moderate to high risk by evaluators using structured professional judgment had greater odds of rearrest, but these risk ratings did not have incremental validity over numeric scores. Static factors were most strongly predictive of nonviolent rearrest, but dynamic factors (social-contextual) were the most predictive of violent rearrest. Implications for use of risk-needs assessment tools in juvenile justice programs and areas in need of further investigation are discussed.

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Peer-reviewed article
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