Juvenile Detention Risk Assessment

A Practice Guide for Juvenile Detention Reform #1

By the Annie E. Casey Foundation

December 9, 2006


Risk screening evaluates arrested minors to see if they need secure lock up.  The risk assessment instrument (RAI) used by Casey’s Juvenile Detention Alternatives Initiative (JDAI) assures objectivity and uniformity for this process. This report reviews current risk-screening technology in the United States through the detention reform lens of JDAI sites. It is a practical guide to develop an objective risk-assessment instrument for those concerned about the quality of care and protection provided to children in the justice system. 

Table of Contents

Key Takeaway

risk assessment instrument

The average time frame to develop an objective risk assessment instrument is about six months.

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The risk assessment instrument (RAI) is a triage device, designed to orient the entire screening process toward detention goals.

Findings & Stats

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How Consensus Works

The consensus method of designing an RAI combines prediction science and local policy making with a common menu of tested factors from other jurisdictions and local experience, knowledge and informed guesswork.

Statements & Quotations