Correctional authorities use risk and need assessment (RNA) tools to determine how likely a person who has been convicted and sentenced for a crime is to commit another crime or violate the rules of a previous sentencing. These tools help correctional authorities make decisions that maximize public safety in the most resource-efficient manner possible.
To assist correctional authorities with effectively using RNA tools, the National Institute of Justice published Guidelines for Post-Sentencing Risk Assessment. These guidelines offer a research-based approach for correctional authorities to use RNA tools in the most responsible and ethical way possible. These guidelines are built around the key principles of fairness, efficiency, effectiveness, and communication, and they help practitioners develop a step-by-step approach for using RNA tools.