At several points along the flowchart of the criminal justice system professionals are required to make judgments as to the likelihood an individual will commit a criminal act or another criminal act. For instance:

Pre-trial release – Is the person who has merely been accused of a crime such a danger to the community that they must remain confined while awaiting trial?
Post-Conviction sentencing – Is this person a viable candidate for supervision under probation or is they likely to commit another criminal act?
Correctional classification – What institutional environment (level of confinement, program availability, etc.) is most appropriate for this individual for their safety as well as that of staff and other inmates?
Release to community-based supervision (e.g., parole) – In light of the changes that have occurred since incarceration, is this individual suitable to complete their sentence under community-based supervision?
To assist in this determination, risk assessment instruments have been developed which, usually in combination with a clinical interview, will provide some measurable predictability of future criminal/violent behavior. Decisions about offender risk and potential for future recidivism are critical and can have dire consequences, including releasing offenders who are a serious threat to public safety, careers being tarnished or coming to an abrupt end as a result of negligence lawsuits, or imposing severe sanctions on offenders inaccurately identified as high risks for violence. So, do they work?

The student will prepare a PowerPoint presentation as follows:

1. Conduct research on the topic of criminal/violent risk assessment. Use the UMGC on-line library resources or other professional journals.

2. Identify two risk assessment instruments to compare and contrast.

3. Develop a PPT slide presentation which includes the following:

a. A brief summary of both risk assessments (for which population of offenders is the assessment most often used?)

b. Details on the validity and reliability of each risk assessment

c. The method, evidence and/or evaluation used in support of the risk assessment (i.e. identify a recent study and outline the findings)

d. A comparison of each risk assessment, as well as contrasting the two

e. A conclusion


1. A minimum of 15 slides, not including title and references slides.

2. The title slide should include the name and number of the course, the name of the student, title of the project and the date of submission.

3. Resources, including course materials, must be cited both in the narrative/slides where appropriate and on a separate references page, using APA citation rules.

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