Risk assessment is the exercise of determining the probability of re-arrest and revocation. It helps in determining how best to assist an offender about to be discharged from serving his term. Often, these convicts have underlying problems that may lead him in getting involved in illegal activities that may get them rearrested. In resolving this issue, correction centers must identify means of assessing the risk of his involvement in such activities and help in minimizing the risk where possible (Kroner, Mills, Reitzel, Dow, Aufderheide, & Railey, 2007).
Most risk assessment formulas use certain criteria to determine the level of risk involved. The criteria involve the determination of movement over a specified period before he was arrested, percentage of employed time before the arrest, alcohol and drug usage, motivation to change, age at first arrest, number of previous probation periods and number of prior probations or parole revocations. Also considered are the criminal record and assault offenses. These are then used to determine the conditions of release of a convict to the society. Those found to have a bad criminal record are considered to be high risk cases while those who were serving their first sentence were considered low risk (Harris, 2006).
This method of assessment is ineffective for the most. It fails to cater for those offenders who are able to keep off from police custody for long. They are, therefore, in most cases, even released without supervision. New entrants of crime are also not nabbed since their criminal records appear clean. This method should be modified by assessing the level of crimes committed, mental health and attitude to ensure that future arrests are avoided through crime evasion (Seiter, 2011).
While such assessments may contribute towards an easier re-entry into the community, it fails to nab those who need the most help. The most help should be accorded to both ends; new entrants and seasoned criminals. This is because seasoned criminals have a leadership role in the crime world and may assist the authorities to curb crime if convinced. New entrants are easier to convert hence reducing the level of crime (Seiter, 2011).
Harris, A. (2006). Risk Assessment and sex offender community supervision: A context-specific framework. Fed. Probation, 70, p.36.
Kroner, D. G., Mills, J. F., Reitzel, L. R., Dow, E., Aufderheide, D. H., & Railey, M. G. (2007). Directions for Violence and Sexual Risk Assessment in Correctional Psychology. Criminal Justice and Behavior. doi:10.1177/0093854807301559
Seiter, R. P. (2011). Corrections: An Introduction (3rd ed.). Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice Hall
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