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Risk assessment and community management : the relationship between implementation quality and recidivism



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Risk assessment and case management are two important aspects of young offender corrections and reintegration. Evaluating the extent to which case management practices are guided by risk assessment is important because the impact of the risk assessment instrument cannot be adequately assessed if the instrument is not being applied as fully intended. Unfortunately, little research has been devoted to examining the use of risk/need instruments in offender case management. The purpose of the present study was to investigate the link between risk assessment and community case management of young offenders in Saskatchewan and whether adherence to the principles of risk, need, and responsivity vis-à-vis the Level of Service Inventory – Saskatchewan Youth Edition (LSI-SK; Andrews, Bonta, & Wormith, 2001) is related to recidivism. Risk assessment and case management data were collected for a total sample of 193 young offenders who were supervised by youth workers from the Saskatoon and Regina probation offices. The sample was followed up for an average of 644 days. The overall recidivism rate was 62.2% with no significant difference in recidivism according to office of supervision, sex, or ethnicity.The LSI-SK total and seven of the subscale scores were significantly, positively correlated with recidivism. Results also indicate that the LSI-SK was being used to guide supervision intensity as well as interventions. Moreover, the present study found that adherence to the need principle was associated with reductions in recidivism. Appropriateness (defined as the presence of interventions for identified needs or absence of interventions for areas that were not identified as needs) correlated significantly with recidivism (r = - .214). Appropriateness was found to be a significant predictor of recidivism after controlling for ethnicity and length of follow up. For every appropriate intervention listed on the case plan, the likelihood of recidivism was reduced by 24%. In terms of inappropriate treatment, under treatment was significantly correlated with recidivism (r = .283) but over treatment was not. Under treatment was a significant predictor of recidivism after controlling for ethnicity and length of follow up. For every identified need that did not have a corresponding intervention, the risk of recidivism increased by 91%. Implications for case management and direction for future research are discussed.



Level of Service Inventory, LSI, appropriate intervention, offender supervision, recidivism



Master of Arts (M.A.)






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