Studying Drivers of Risk and Needs Assessment Instrument Implementation in Juvenile Justice

Juvenile Specialty Court

Studying Drivers of Risk and Needs Assessment Instrument Implementation in Juvenile Justice

December 12, 2018

This bulletin describes Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention-supported research findings on factors that promote effective implementation of risk and needs assessment instruments in the juvenile justice system. Quality implementation has been shown to reduce reliance on formal system involvement and decrease recidivism. Using a framework based in implementation science, the authors analyzed qualitative and quantitative data to identify the following drivers of successful implementation: 

  • Positive staff perceptions about the reliability, credibility, and applicability of the instrument to the needs of their local jurisdictions.
  • Engagement of staff and other stakeholders in the initial strategic planning, goal setting, and problem solving to ensure early buy-in.
  • A pilot period that focuses on training of staff and other stakeholders.
  • Ongoing supervisory support and training.
  • Standardized operating procedures and written policies in state and local agencies and the ability to share information across multiple stakeholders.
  • A strong data infrastructure, including both user-friendly technological systems to support data collection and staff data expertise.