Department of Corrections Implements New Offender Risk Assessment Method
(Concord, N.H.) The New Hampshire Department of Corrections will be utilizing a new risk assessment system to allow for better placement of offenders into rehabilitative programs and treatment placement while they are incarcerated and after they are paroled or released into the community. The Ohio Risk Assessment System (ORAS) is an evidence-based practice that offers an array of benefits geared toward successful offender re-entry.
“Training of staff in the use of the ORAS method will begin in October and is integral to implementing the second phase of the Justice Reinvestment Initiative that began in New Hampshire in 2010,” Commissioner William L. Wrenn said.
“We are optimistic that this will help us define the appropriate needs of the offender population with the goal of lowering recidivism,” Commissioner Wrenn said.
According to the Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction, key components of ORAS include determining consistent meaning to outcomes of rehabilitative treatment, reduction in duplication of services, defining potential barriers to treatment, setting up an automatic tracking system for determining effectiveness of treatment, generation of inmate-specific case plans, and predicting the likelihood of re-arrest throughout all stages of the offender’s supervision.
Department of Corrections Counselors/Case Managers and Probation/Parole Officers will be trained in the use of this assessment and they will be responsible for training other staff in its use. Funding for the training was made available by a grant from the Council of State Governments Bureau of Justice Assistance.
The participants will also receive training in how to enhance communication with offenders so that they take more responsibility for their own actions.
The Justice Reinvestment Initiative was the result of a bipartisan multi-agency study to help reduce the prison population, decrease corrections costs, and lower the rate of recidivism while increasing public safety.