STATEWIDE COLLABORATIVE OFFENDER RISK EVALUATION SYSTEM (SCORES)
Over the past decade, the national focus on reentry in correctional practice has been embraced by the criminal justice system in Connecticut. The Department of Correction and Board of Pardons and Paroles, in particular, have invested significant and continuing effort to improve practices around reentry.
Pursuant to Public Act 08-01, both agencies partnered with Judicial’s Court Support Services Division to create both the state’s first Reentry Strategy and the first Assessment Strategy in an attempt to define a shared policy for recidivism reduction.
As we continued to improve on our reentry model, it became apparent that effective reentry was only accomplished when solid assessment of offender risk and need was completed and then followed through in treatment planning and program assignment. To illustrate how strongly a reliable assessment drives successful reentry, and to streamline our practices, the two statewide strategies were merged into one in 2011.
Our next steps in improving the assessment-reentry process involve merging and streamlining our actual every day processes, to work smarter and to get even better results.
WHAT IS SCORES?
There are many different assessment tools currently in use that help some people some of the time. [ex., TPAI, CARA system at Walker, the LSI-R used in parole and community services, the Criminal Sentiments Scale, the Hostile Interpretations Questionnaire, etc]
Ideally, a full assessment system would inform everyone, with specific assessment tools administered at identified stages of the offender’s journey through the criminal justice system. An ideal system would house all assessment information in one electronic system, that would facilitate data collection, program evaluation, and evidence based practice.
Researched in depth by the Board or Pardons and Paroles, the Ohio Risk Assessment System, originated at the University of Cincinnati and in use by the Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction, offers all of these elements. The system has the capacity to inform decision making from judicial sentence to prison program assignment to release decisions by the Board and Wardens alike, to community supervision levels. The system was renamed with the SCORES acronym to individualize it to Connecticut’s criminal justice systems.
The SCORES is a series of risk assessment tools which can be used as standalone assessments or integrated into a continuum of assessments that assists in sharing information across settings. To begin, only the DOC and Board will utilize the system, which has several assessment tools to be completed at certain points in the system. There are additional tools for use in the judicial branch, by the courts and by the probation offices, but those will not be implemented at this time.