Indiana adopts IYAS and IRAS
Supervising agencies in Indiana have used a variety of risk assessment tools for several years. In 2006, key stakeholders formed the Risk Assessment Task Force, staffed by the Indiana Judicial Center, to promote a uniform and consistent risk assessment process across the relevant supervising agencies as a part of the continuing effort to implement evidence-based practice in Indiana. This task force includes representatives from the supervising agencies, a member of the judiciary, and staff of the Judicial Automation and Technology Committee (JTAC) with the Indiana Supreme Court Division of State Court Administration. It continues to exercise oversight for this project.
In 2008, the task force recommended that Indiana adopt two systems developed by the University of Cincinnati: the Indiana Youth Assessment System (IY AS) for juveniles and the Indiana Risk Assessment System (IRAS) for adults. These systems are designed to be used at key stages in the criminal justice process to help guide decisions, ascertain the appropriate allocation of resources and programs, measure changes in an offender's risk and need factors during supervision, and improve public safety.
Following the recommendation to adopt the IYAS and IRAS, the task force began developing
implementation policies for the assessment instruments. A key policy is that individuals who
administer the assessments must be certified, which requires the completion of two-day training and a certification test. Also, there are minimum requirements for the administration of the assessments and the completion of case plans.
The Risk Assessment Process
The assessment process includes: (1) a semi-structured interview with the offender. (2) a file review, and (3) the gathering of necessary collateral information. It is not just one item or fact that makes someone more or less likely to re-offend, but it is the combination of multiple factors in multiple areas. Factors in the assessment-referred to as domains-are the offender's:
- history with the justice system,
- employment and education,
- family and social support,
- substance abuse and mental health,
- peers, and
- attitudes and behavioral patterns.
The assessment results provide an overall risk level and a risk level for each domain. Evidence-based practices research indicates that the most effective use of limited resources is to target individuals with high or moderate risk and need factors for more intensive supervision and services. These results assist the supervising agency in identifying the appropriate types of service or interventions needed to help reduce the individual's risk for re-offense. This identification forms the basis of an individualized case plan outlining the goals and objectives for each need area and the interventions required to address those needs.