Risk assessments are predictions estimating the likelihood that an individual will engage in antisocial behavior or criminal offending. These types of evaluation are typically conducted to give suggestions on how to effectively deal with an individual that has been found guilty of a crime. For example, a risk assessment will evaluate what type of correctional facility is most appropriate for an offender, whether to release the individual from prison, and what issues need to be considered when implementing treatment interventions.
Risk assessments include reviewing and obtaining collateral information (e.g. police reports, employment records, CPS evaluations, witness statements, and interviews with treatment providers), clinical interviews of the offender, psychological testing, and structured clinical instruments. In addition, actuarial instruments are used to statistically determine various risk factors (i.e. static and dynamic factors) that would increase or decrease the likelihood that an individual would reoffend. Protective factors are also considered that would reduce the risk of reoffending.