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Criminal Justice News Spring 2014 - Vol. 3, No. 1

WSIPP approves STRONG

A recent report released by the Washington State Institute for Public Policy (WSIPP) indicated approved use of the WSU Static Risk Offender Needs Guide (STRONG) instrument for offenders, which was developed by researchers from the Washington State Institute for Criminal Justice (WSICJ). The approval was the result of a culmination of a state policy and the intersection of WSU‘s current research efforts.

In 1999, the Legislature enacted the Offender Accountability Act (OAA) that set state policy regarding the intensity of community supervision. This statute required the use of a risk assessment tool for all WADOC supervised offenders. After initially using the LSI-R, the WSIPP-developed Static Risk Assessment (SRA) was implemented. For the last seven years, this instrument was used and established to have the highest predictive accuracy of all instruments using a Washington-based offender population. After several years of use, the Legislature identified the utility of the instrument. To insure that any additional modifications were grounded in empirical evidence, the Legislature required that new instruments must first be approved by WSIPP as having the highest degree of predictive accuracy for assessing offenders in the state of Washington.

WSU’s creation of the STRONG marked the first instrument to be required to meet this challenge. In a systematic analysis of all offender risk assessment instruments tested within the state, WSIPP identified the STRONG to be the most predictive of recidivism outcomes and recommended it succeed the current SRA assessment for use on future WADOC offender populations. The STRONG is currently in the final development stages and is scheduled to be implemented in January of 2015.

Washington State University