Developmental Issues in Risk Assessment: Implications for Juvenile Justice, Victims & Offenders

Juvenile Specialty Court

Developmental Issues in Risk Assessment: Implications for Juvenile Justice, Victims & Offenders

October 10, 2012

This study using the SAVRY indicated that dynamic risk factors are critical to include in the risk assessment of youth, and that risk assessment maintains sound predictive validity across developmental periods.

This study investigated two issues in youth risk assessment that may be important to juvenile justice agencies: (1) whether there are age-related differences that might impair the predictive accuracy of risk assessment across adolescence and (2) whether dynamic risk factors provide a unique contribution to risk assessment. The study tracked new petitions over an average 14.5-month follow-up for a large sample (n = 674) of adjudicated young offenders who received the Structured Assessment of Violence Risk for Youth (SAVRY). Findings indicated that age did not moderate the association between the SAVRY and reoffending between youth age 12 and under, age 13 to 15, and age 16 to 18. Dynamic risk factors had incremental predictive validity over static factors for each type of recidivism (e.g., violent, nonviolent) except probation violations. Implications to juvenile justice agencies include the critical importance of including dynamic risk factors in risk assessment tools of youth and the generalizability of these tools across age.

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Peer-reviewed article