Risk Assessment in Juvenile Justice Policy and Practice

Publication Date: February 2005

Publisher: MacArthur Foundation Research Network on Adolescent Development and Juvenile Justice (ADJJ)

Author(s): Edward P. Mulvey

Research Area: Law and ethics; Social conditions

Keywords: Juvenile offenders; Psychology; Juvenile delinquency; Actuarial science

Type: Book

Coverage: United States


This chapter reviews some of the assumptions about risk assessment that underpin certain juvenile justice policies and practices. It addresses three places where risk assessment plays a central role. First, it provides an overview of policy about transfer to the adult court and how risk assessment notions are built into these statutes. Next, it briefly reviews how risk assessment has been systematized by developing actuarial instruments, highlighting the conditions under which these instruments operate well. Finally, it examines how risk assessment first into the discretionary judgments made by juvenile court professionals and clinicians on a daily basis. The chapter ends by proposing three points about risk assessment in general that might help to improve policy and practice regarding juveniles specifically.

Chapter 10 from book Juvenile Delinquency: Prevention, Assessment, and Intervention (ed. Kirk Heilbrun; pub. Oxford University Press).