UC criminologist explains risk assessment tools

Risk assessment tools are used across the U.S. to assign scores to defendants or convicted offenders based on the likelihood they will recommit crimes, fail to appear at pretrial hearings or commit a crime before those hearings. But, implemented in different jurisdictions, the same risk assessment tool can yield vastly different results, reports Helping to shed light on the seeming discrepancy is University of Cincinnati criminologist Ed Latessa, a professor of criminal justice in the College of Education, Criminal Justice, and Human Services.

One common misconception about assessment tools is that they predict an individual’s recidivism or pretrial risk, Latessa explains. In reality, “they‘re not predicting [an] individual, they’re predicting a group,” said Latessa, who helped develop the Ohio Risk Assessment System (ORAS).

He adds, “A judge thinks if you’re standing in front of them and you scored low risk, you’re not going to [recidivate]. No—that just means you’re in a group with a low percentage of failure.”

Read the full story here.


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