Research Central: Risk Assessment and Behavioral Health Screening for Youth in Probation

OJJDP’s Risk Assessment and Behavioral Health Screening Project, cofunded in 2014 with the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, examined whether using a risk assessment for reoffending coupled with mental health and substance use screening protocols improves case processing, service allocation, and recidivism rates.

The study encompassed multiple probation offices in Arkansas and Rhode Island. Both states administered a risk assessment instrument in conjunction with the Massachusetts Youth Screening Instrument-Version 2 (MAYSI-2) for mental health screening and the CRAFFT substance use screening tools. As one component of the study, the researchers examined service referral, how services were used, and recidivism outcomes of youth. They also studied if and how services and outcomes were influenced by the potential behavioral health needs identified in MAYSI-2 and CRAFFT.

Overall, the researchers found that mental health services were used more often than risk-reduction services in most sites and had little influence on recidivism. There was some evidence that substance abuse treatment reduced recidivism among youth identified in CRAFFT as having a substance use problem.

This is a link to the OJJDP website:

Link to the REPORT:

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