Louisiana to Launch Youth Risk Assessment Program

BATON ROUGE, La. — The state Office of Juvenile Justice is developing an evidence-based assessment tool to help identify youth offenders’ treatment needs and their risk for violence and recidivism.

The Structured Assessment of Violence Risk in Youth is designed to assist OJJ officials, courts and district attorneys in more accurately projecting needs for secure, moderate and non-secure resources for adjudicated youth statewide.

The assessment tool examines risk factors associated with violence and applies them to youths under assessment and then classifies the severity of the factors.

Officials are hopeful that the use of a standardized risk/needs assessment will help prevent the placement of low-risk youth in high-risk settings, which can reduce their chance of success with rehabilitation and reentry into the community.

Youths can be reassessed by the tool after receiving support services or treatment in order to identify any changes in risk factors.

OJJ plans to implement the tool as a pilot program in several of the agency’s 11 regional offices in the next two to three months, with statewide implementation expected within a year.