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Essay on Offender Classification and Therapy

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Over the last few decades classification systems for offenders have been used for a variety of organizational purposes. Over time these classification systems have evolved, not only as a whole in the criminal justice system, but also varying between different organizations. Classification systems that create models based on the risks and needs of offenders are most popular. Throughout the years these models and the purposes for their use have been in a state of change, as well as the way their effectiveness is gaged.
One of the most commonly used classification systems for offenders is the combination of risk assessment and need assessment. The combination of these two systems of classification is rather new. The earliest types of classification focused mainly on offender risks by using custody classification and separating prisoners into minimum, medium, and maximum security (Van Voorhis et al., 2009). Early risks assessments appeared to only focus on historical factors that did not tend to change over time. A supplement of the classification was introduced with the original needs assessment system. The needs assessment was meant to offer information relevant to treatment (Van Voorhis et al., 2009). Unfortunately, the needs assessments were rarely used for the purposes of locating treatment. The introduction of models that combined the two assessments was paramount because it opened assessments up to the idea that factors change over time that influence offenders.
The earliest risk assessment models that used actual scoring were created almost exclusively for use during offender incarceration. However, this is considered the second generation by Andrews and Bonta (2010). The first generation of risk assessment occurred at a tim...


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...sychology of Criminal Conduct. Cincinnati, OH: Lexis/Nexis,
Ch 10 & 11.

Bonta, J. (1996). Risk, Needs, Assessment and Treatment. In A. Harland (ed.), Choosing
Correctional Options that Work: Defining the Demand and Evaluating the Supply.
Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.

Goldstein, A., Glick, B., & Gibbs, J. (2011). Aggression Replacement Training: A
Comprehensive Intervention for Aggressive Youth (rev.ed.). Champaign, IL: Research
Press.

Van Voorhis, P., Braswell, M. & Lester, D. (2009). Correctional Counseling and Rehabilitation,
7th ed., Cincinnati, OH: Lexis/Nexis.

Van Voorhis, P., Salisbury, E., Wright, E., & Bauman, A. (2008). Achieving Accurate Pictures
of Risk and Identifying Gender-Responsive Needs: Two New Assessments for Women
Offenders. Washington, D.C.: United States Department of Justice: National Institute of
Corrections.


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