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Decades of research tells us that integration of risk assessment and risk-need-responsivity (RNR) principles into service or treatment planning will reduce reoffending. Thus, it has become a significant priority for justice reform, however, studies of the impact of these practices in the field have not always found favorable results. Implementation science tells us that It is not enough to know ‘what works’; it is the proper implementation of what works that is critical. This presentation will review results of an implementation study of RNR in two states where researchers trained youth probation officers (N = 54) to prioritize referrals to risk reduction services and to utilize mental health services only when necessary. The most common service referral over a 1.5 year period with 444 court-referred youth was still to mental health services (47.1%). The presentation will discuss the implications and methods for increasing attention on dynamic risk.


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  • Differentiate between a risk factor and a responsivity factor;
  • Describe at least three methods for implementing an evidence-based practice with fidelity;
  • Apply at least three effective risk-need-responsivity concepts to treatment plan recommendations.


Gina Vincent, Ph.D.

Gina Vincent, Ph.D.

Professor and co-Director, Law & Psychiatry Program, Department of Psychiatry, UMass Chan Medical School, Implementation Science & Practice Advances Research Center (iSPARC)

Gina Vincent, Ph.D. is Co-Director of the Law & Psychiatry Program and Professor at the Implementation Science & Practice Advances Research Center (iSPARC) at the University of Massachusetts Chan Medical School (UMASS). She also is President of the National Youth Screening and Assessment Partners (NYSAP), a technical assistance center for assisting juvenile justice agencies with the selection and implementation of risk assessment, risk-need-responsivity, and behavioral health screening tools. She is author of the Risk Assessment in Juvenile Probation: A Guidebook for Implementation manual. She has assisted over 50 county or state juvenile justice agencies in their implementation of risk assessment instruments for decision-making and case planning. Additionally, she has received funding from NIMH, NIDA, the MacArthur Foundation, OJJDP, and NIJ for studies relevant to risk for reoffending, mental health concerns, and substance use disorders among youth involved in the juvenile justice system. This includes studying the implementation, impact on youth and the system, sustainability, and cost-effectiveness of the use of risk/needs assessment and risk-need-responsivity. She has over 75 publications in the areas of risk assessment, implementing risk-needs assessment in juvenile justice, adolescent substance abuse, callous-unemotional traits, and mental health symptoms.