This article examines risk assessment, which is defined as the identification of “risk” and “protective” factors that make involvement in crimes more or less likely. It lists the available risk assessment methodologies, the empirical research on their legitimacy, and the ethical and legal issues related to their use. It considers the importance of risk assessment to sentencing, and then identifies the types and accuracy of risk assessment. This article also shows some uses of formal risk assessment in sentencing. Several concerns related to risk assessment are also addressed.
Francis T. Cullen and Paula Smith
This article explores the role of rehabilitation as a core purpose of American corrections. Section I argues that rehabilitation has been a fundamental sensibility of the correctional enterprise from its beginning stages. Despite the seeming hegemony of the punishment model for more than three decades, this abiding belief that the correctional system should not only punish but also “correct” remains strong. Section II traces the seeming collapse of the rehabilitation model in the 1970s. Section III presents what has become the dominant rehabilitation model, which is typically captured under the label of the principles of effective correctional intervention. Section IV concludes with a discussion of the future of rehabilitation as a core purpose of American corrections.