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Advancing Fairness and Transparency: National Guidelines for Post-Conviction Risk and Needs Assessment

The Issue

There are valid and growing concerns about accuracy, fairness, transparency, and communication in the use of risk and needs assessment. Risk and needs assessment results are not used enough to inform case decisions and management. Criminal justice agencies have not been given the guidance they need to communicate the strengths and limitations of risk and needs assessment. Furthermore, people who are being assessed rarely receive information about these assessments, how they work, and what they will be used to determine.

The Solution

Advancing Fairness and Transparency: National Guidelines for Post-Conviction Risk and Needs Assessment, a new resource from the U.S. Department of Justice’s Office of Justice Programs’ Bureau of Justice Assistance (BJA) and The Council of State Governments Justice Center, addresses these gaps with clear, concrete direction. Funded by BJA as a project of the Public Safety Risk Assessment Clearinghouse, the guidelines were developed under the advisement of a national group of researchers, risk and needs assessment instrument developers, practitioners, and leaders in the field. They prioritize accuracy, fairness, and transparency in the communication and use of risk and needs assessment.

Intended Audience

These guidelines and their associated resources were developed with a variety of audiences in mind, including legislators, administrators, practitioners, and researchers.


Justice Center: The Council of State Governments
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Copyright 2022 The Council of State Governments. All Rights Reserved.

This project was supported by Grant No. 2019-ZB-BX-K002 awarded by the Bureau of Justice Assistance. The Bureau of Justice Assistance is a component of the Department of Justice’s Office of Justice Programs, which also includes the Bureau of Justice Statistics, the National Institute of Justice, the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention, the Office for Victims of Crime, and the Office of Sex Offender Sentencing, Monitoring, Apprehending, Registering, and Tracking. Points of view or opinions in this document are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the official position or policies of the U.S. Department of Justice.