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Long-Term Impact and Cost-Effectiveness of Risk-Needs Assessment and Risk-Need-Responsivity (RNR) Reforms in Juvenile Probation: The Long-Term RNR-Impact Study

NCJ Number
Date Published
195 pages

This report presents the findings and methodology of the Long-Term Risk-Need-Responsivity (RNR) Impact Study, a pre-post, quasi-experimental study of the impact of the implementation of risk-needs assessment (RNA) and risk-need-responsivity-related (RNR) case management in five juvenile probation offices in two states.


The Long-Term RNR Impact Study examined the long-term impact of one prominent recommendation for juvenile justice reform. This involves the policy and practice of basing case management decisions on the risk and criminogenic needs of each juvenile, using valid risk-needs assessment (RNA) instruments. The reported evaluation examined the 7-year sustainability of impacts of RNA programs for the five juvenile probation offices. The study used three time points (pre-implementation, first year post-implementation, and seventh year post-implementation). The focus was on the 7-year sustainability of impacts on system responses in terms of rates of informal processing, different dispositions, out-of-home placements, school and employment, and recidivism, as well as the overall cost-effectiveness of the RNR program. All sites continued to use their RNA over the past 7 to 8 years from their initial implementation, and most continued to improve their adherence to the RNA and RNR evidence-based practices over time. Overall, the cost-effectiveness findings suggest risk-needs assessment paired with the RNR approach is a relatively low-cost intervention that can maximize outcomes by reallocating resources. This is the first study to report the cost-effectiveness of implementation of risk-needs assessment and risk-need-responsivity using youth-level data before and after practices implementation. Policies and practices that promoted or undermined cost-effectiveness are outlined, along with recommendations for future research. 22 tables, 9 figures, 62 references, and appended evaluation instruments

Date Published: January 1, 2020