State of Nebraska
BOARD OF PAROLE
Parole Supervision Adopts New Risk Assessment
On June 1, 2018, the Nebraska Board of Parole – Division of Parole Supervision (DPS) moved from the Static Risk Offender Needs Guide – Revised (STRONG-R) assessment to the Ohio Risk Assessment System (ORAS). The primary consideration in making this change was a desire to have a risk assessment tool specifically developed for community supervision. Unlike the STRONG-R, which is a single assessment intended to be used with clients at all stages of the corrections system, the ORAS is a suite of nine assessments, and if fully implemented could be used to follow a client from presentencing through final discharge. At this time, DPS is utilizing two components of the ORAS, the Reentry Tool (RT) and the Community Supervision Tool (CST). The RT is intended to be used with clients just before they make the transition from incarceration to community supervision, while the CST is intended to be used with clients who are already in the community.
The RT is being used as part of a pilot project within the Nebraska Department of Correctional Services (NDCS). Parole Officers are assessing inmates who are set for parole hearings using the RT. One goal of this project is to get the inmates assigned to an appropriate officer, based on risk, prior to the parole hearing. The Reentry Officers then facilitate contact between the inmate and their future officers. This allows officers to begin building relationships earlier, which, in turn, allows them to hit the ground running once the inmate is released.
Once clients are released on parole, they are assessed using the CST. The CST is used to establish the client’s risk of reoffending and to identify his/her criminogenic needs. Criminogenic needs are the individual characteristics of the client that are likely to lead him/her into new criminal behavior. This combination of risk and need drives the decision making process while the client is under supervision. The risk dictates the level of supervision for each client. Risk is also a major consideration in determining the level of discipline for noncompliance. Parole Officers use the criminogenic needs to determine what programming and treatment the clients will be involved with. A major reason that the ORAS was chosen over competing assessments is that it, like our case management and case planning tools, was developed by the University of Cincinnati Corrections Institute (UCCI). This provides our officers with a huge advantage because their primary supervision tools are designed to work together seamlessly.
DPS is very excited about the move to this new assessment system and tremendous progress has been made toward implementation. By the end of October, all parole clients will have been assessed using the ORAS. We have also already achieved most of our technological integration goals. The assessment software passes data automatically to our behavior management system as well as our electronic case file system, making work much more efficient for both field supervision staff and administrative staff.