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Risk & Needs Assessment •What is the purpose of a risk and needs assessment? •Are these assessments necessary? Why or why not?  Provide thorough, well-developed descriptions to demonstrate your understanding of these topics. In your initial post, you should refer to both the assigned course readings for the week as well as at least one source you located elsewhere that either helps define or explain the concepts being discussed in this forum.

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Risk and needs assessments are used to estimate a youth’s risk of recidivating. The findings can assist in developing treatment to reduce the youth’s likelihood of reoffending. Risk and needs assessments also helpful in developing a plan that provides treatment or services that is helpful to the juvenile.  Risk instruments are screening devices that forecasts future delinquent conduct or criminality. For example: A juvenile with abusive parents may be at risk for reoffending; therefore, a service can be offered to assist the parents in developing parenting skills. A judge could also determine the juvenile’s home is not safe and order the child to be placed in another home or program.  Needs assessments is an instrument that assesses juvenile offenders social, psychological and mental health needs and then make decisions such as: showing a juvenile leniency, sending a juvenile to a diversion program, or referring the juvenile to formal processing.  There are concerns that risk/needs assessments may contribute to the racial disparities and disproportionate minority contact (DMC) observed in the juvenile justice system. A person’s criminal history or prior offense has always served as an indicator of re-offending; however, research on the DMC has shown that minorities are more likely to come into contact with the juvenile justice system soThe likelihood of a juvenile that is a minority of having a history of criminal behavior or a prior offense is higher. In essence, a prior offense may reflect the juvenile was targeted because of his or her race, socioeconomic status, gender and/or age.  A juvenile that is considered to pose a great risk of committing a future crime is a prime candidate for a harsher sentence.  The danger in risk predictions is a juvenile who is suspected of being dangerous or posed a greater risk of re-offending may actually turn out not to be dangerous or may never re-offend whereas, a juvenile who did not appear to be dangerous and did not pose a risk of re-offending may actually turn out to be dangerous or re-offend. This is known as a false positive and false negative.

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