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An Examination of Risk Assessments for Juvenile Offenders in Community Corrections

1 January 2017


Currently, the number of children entering the juvenile justice system in Oregon is well above the national average, and most of these individuals are referred to the juvenile court for adjudication (Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention, 2014). One of the primary goals of the juvenile court, and the juvenile justice system more generally, is to reduce the likelihood a youth will reoffend in the future. The scope of this problem is quite large with recidivism rates exceeding 50 percent in some states and fluctuating between 20 and 40 percent in Oregon (Grunwald, Lockwood, Harris, & Mennis, 2010). Given the enormity of the problem, the state of Oregon developed and adopted the Oregon Juvenile Crime Prevention Assessment (JCP; 2006) and the Oregon Youth Authority Recidivism Risk Assessment (ORRA; 2011) in an effort to identify those youth at highest risk for recidivism. The JCP and the ORRA as used for all juveniles regardless of age, however, this may not be best practice as there is evidence that association of dynamic and static risk factors to recidivism varies with age (van der Put, Dekovic, Stams, van der Laan, Hoeve, & Amelsfort, 2011). The relation of ORRA and the JCP scores to recidivism may not be the same across age groups, and one may need to be prioritized over the other. This study examined whether the accuracy of ORRA scores and JCP scores varies with age. The risk assessment scores were compared between two groups of juveniles, those under the age of 15 and those age 15 and older. It was hypothesized that the JCP would have a stronger relation to recidivism for youth under the age of 15 and that the ORRA would have a stronger relation to recidivism for youth age 15 and older. This is because, according to international research, this is where dynamic variables begin to lose their importance (van der Put et al., 2012). This research explored relationships from a statistical perspective to gain a better understanding of which factors are most strongly related to recidivism among youth of different ages. This study reviewed literature on dynamic and static risk factors, and the JCP and the ORRA, followed by specific information regarding the research study including results and discussion.


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