Latessa: A Tool for Helping to Predict Crime Risk

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The Council of State Governments on March 8, 2015 by Ed Latessa

downloadImagine, for a moment, that a doctor performing kidney surgery makes such an egregious mistake that the patient dies on the operating table. It’s a terrifying thought but also a very rare occurrence. It is possible, however.

Meanwhile, of the tens of thousands of risk assessments performed each month to determine the likelihood that someone in the criminal justice system will reoffend, we also know that some individuals will go on to commit more crimes, no matter what their risk level or whether the assessment was done properly.

And although risk assessment is a core practice that helps criminal justice professionals make decisions and apply resources that can help reduce recidivism, a Feb. 24 Associated Press report in The Virginian-Pilot instead highlighted three devastating stories of former offenders who committed extremely violent crimes after being assessed as low risk to reoffend.