Risky Business: Evaluating the Dynamic Risk Assessment for Offender Re-entry for Use with New Zealand Youth
An important assumption that decisions based on criminal risk assessments rely on is that our assessments of someone’s likelihood of reoffending are accurate. It is well known that young people share many risk factors for criminal conduct with adults, but there is also research to suggest that some factors may be more important at different ages. This research examined how well an adult dynamic risk assessment tool, The Dynamic Risk Assessment for Offender Re-entry (DRAOR), was able to predict any new criminal conviction as well as any new violent conviction in a sample of New Zealand youth (17-19 years) serving community supervision sentences. It was found that DRAOR scores were moderately strong predictors of future criminal conduct for youth, with better results being found for any reconvictions compared to violent reconvictions. The more recent an assessment was, the more accurate it was too. It was also found that those who did not go on to be reconvicted showed greater improvements on the risk scale throughout the course of their sentence than those who were reconvicted. These findings support the continued use of the DRAOR for youth in New Zealand who are serving community supervision sentences.