Academic Publications

The (Twice) Failure of the Wisconsin Risk Need Assessment in a Sample of Probationers

Howard Henderson | Holly A. Miller

Summary

This study evaluated the original and revised scoring of the Wisconsin Risk Needs Assessment with 194 male probationers in Texas. Both the original and revised versions showed poor predictive utility, failing to effectively explain recidivism. The authors recommend discontinuing use of the Wisconsin instrument due to its lack of explanatory power and poor classification accuracy.

Key Takeaways

  • The original risk/needs sections showed poor predictive utility for recidivism.
  • The revised risk scoring improved classification but did not increase explanatory power.
  • 82% of variance in recidivism was left unexplained by both versions.
  • Very few individual risk/need items correlated significantly with recidivism.
  • The authors recommend discontinuing use of the Wisconsin instrument.