Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2023, $507,876)
Justice Innovation Inc., doing business as the Center for Justice Innovation (Center), proposes to develop, pilot, analyze, and finalize the country’s first tribal-specific risk-need-responsivity (RNR) assessment tool. This proposal is submitted in response to BJA’s invitation to apply for FY23 Administrative Funding Adjustments to Previously Funded Awards under the Field-Initiated Programs to Improve Officer and Public Safety Initiative. The service area is nationwide, and the primary beneficiaries are selected tribal jurisdictions as well as the field at large.
The Center successfully developed the tribal-specific RNR tool during the original award period. In developing this tool, the Center drew upon previously validated instruments, existing research and expertise on RNR assessment (including extensive input from its advisory council), and emerging research on the impact of historical and cultural factors on assessing risk and need in the American Indian and Alaska Native (AI/AN) populations.
The Center now seeks to pilot the tool, generate data on its efficacy, improve the tool and implementation process based on pilot results, and finalize the tool for public distribution. The project will be implemented in two phases: (1) a pilot phase to test the tool in 2-3 tribal jurisdictions; and (2) a second phase to analyze recidivism data, identify predictive risk-need factors, and finalize the tool.
With this proposal, 2-3 tribal jurisdictions with a relatively high volume of court cases and appropriate data collection capacity will serve as the pilot sites. The Center will first engage pilot sites in participatory research before piloting officially commences, reviewing the tool and discussing implementation. The piloting process involves 6-9 months of administering the tool to consenting defendants by either the research assistants or trained staff, with participant data collected and securely stored.
During phase two, recidivism data will be tracked for another six months on defendants who were administered the tribal RNR tool. All data from the sites will be analyzed by Center staff to produce an accurate risk-need profile of the AI/AN population at the pilot sites. Finally, predictive validity of the RNR tool will be determined by the analysis of the six-month recidivism data.
The advisory council and tribal sites will provide feedback based on pilot results in order to finalize the tool. The project will have several key products: (1) the finalized tool itself; (2) a research report with study findings; (3) an implementation guidebook, with instructions for using the tool and tips for integration; and (4) conference presentations and webinars for disseminating information about the tribal RNR tool.