Assessing risk in justice-involved youth in transition to adulthood: Data from a 4-year national risk assessment study in the Netherlands

Assessing risk in justice-involved youth in transition to adulthood: Data from a 4-year national risk assessment study in the Netherlands

Assessing risk in justice-involved youth in transition to adulthood: Data from a 4-year national risk assessment study in the Netherlands

Individual presentation65Michiel de Vries Robbé, Amsterdam UMC/ VUmc, The Netherlands

Room 3AThu 10:30 - 12:00

In juvenile risk assessment, most assessment tools focus primarily on risk factors while little attention is being devoted to protective factors. It has been suggested that the emphasis on both risk factors and protective factors is crucial for an accurate prediction of risk level. This two-sided approach provides input for personalized care aimed at reducing risk of reoffending. Focusing on protective factors can provide additional treatment guidelines and may enhance treatment motivation amongst offenders and practitioners. Despite the positive influence of these protective factors, Dutch juvenile justice institutions previously had little emphasis on protective factors in risk assessment and risk assessment was mainly used to assess the risk of reoffending, while it’s potential for guiding treatment was not widely explored.

In 2016, the SAPROF-YV was implemented nationally in all juvenile justice institutions in the Netherlands in order to enhance the focus on protective factors and facilitate treatment guidance. A large-scale retrospective validation study was designed to evaluate the implementation process and assess the psychometric properties of the SAPROF-YV, SAVRY in juvenile as well as young adult offenders in transition to adulthood (N = 354; Age: 13 – 26 years, M = 18.5, SD = 2.06).

The body of literature on specifically the young adult population is surprisingly limited, which causes confusion in clinical practice about whether juvenile or adult assessment tools should be used. Therefore, this study was also designed to compare the predictive validity of the SAPROF-YV and SAVRY with adult versions of these tools (i.e. HCR-20V3 and SAPROF).

The SAVRY and SAPROF-YV provided moderate predictive validity for general violent and non-violent reoffending after release from the juvenile justice institutions. In addition, the SAPROF-YV provided incremental predictive validity over the SAVRY risk factors when assessing recidivism, and the predictive validity of the SAPROF-YV was found stronger for younger offenders. Finally, no differences were found in the predictive validity of juvenile and adult risk assessment tools when assessing recidivism in young adult offenders (18-26 years).

These findings provide important implications regarding the application of juvenile risk assessment in clinical practice suggesting that the SAVRY and SAPROF-YV are both valid tools for the assessment of violence risk in juvenile and young adult offenders released from juvenile justice institutions. Second, the findings in this study highlight the importance of protective factors for the predictive validity of risk assessment in young offenders, especially juvenile offenders up to the age of 18 years, for a wide range of criminal outcomes. As such, a balanced evaluation of strengths and weaknesses is recommended to arrive at the most accurate assessment of (violence) risk, and to determine effective personal guidelines for a strengths-based case management plan. Regarding young adult offenders, results suggest that juvenile and adult risk assessment tools appear equally applicable. This finding should offer flexibility regarding the application of these tools. Additional (prospective) research in different settings is warranted to determine whether these results translate to clinical practice and could be generalized to other young offender populations as well.
Co-authors: Anneke Kleeven, Eva Mulder, Arne Popma

Assessment and treatment of young and/or adolescent offenders
juvenile offenders, protective factors, risk assesment, young adult offender
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