Youth Risk/Need Assessment: An Overview of Issues and Practices

Appendix Three: Provincial Profiles

ALBERTA

Main Risk/Need Assessment Tools

  • No formal tool, professional discretion
  • Policy guidelines (not provided)
  • HCR-20

When Alberta initially assumed responsibility for youth cases under the Young Offenders Act (YOA), they used a modified version of an adult[28] risk assessment tool (the Wisconsin tool, then the modified Wisconsin tool). They were dissatisfied with the Wisconsin tool and decided to discontinue its use because it was developed for adult males (not Aboriginals or females), and did not meet their youth assessment needs. Policy contacts indicated that a formal risk/need assessment instrument is not used for the preparation of pre-sentence reports or to make formal determinations about risk and need. Rather, a series of detailed policy guidelines (not provided to the researchers) exists to assist experienced staff in using their accrued knowledge and professional judgment. These detailed policy guidelines outline the areas probation officers need to consider when assessing the youth's level of risk and need.

These guidelines were derived from a version of the Minnesota risk assessment scale. The guidelines are not considered to be a risk assessment tool; however, Alberta's policy explicitly lays out the factors to be considered and those to be omitted in a pre-sentence report. Our interviews suggest the following criteria are considered in the preparation of pre-sentence reports: age, attitudes towards the offence, victim information, criminal history, prior incarcerations and/or supervisions, family history (single parent, residential mobility, degree of parental control, stability, child welfare involvement), education (performance, attendance), employment, social and emotional data (how the youth feels about him/herself, remorse, their perception of problem areas, illnesses, etc.), attitude, substance use, and psychological concerns. These reports are based on interviews with the youth and collateral contacts as well as reports (police, psychologists or psychiatrists). Determinations of risk, if and when made, appear to be based on offence criteria, criminal history, and response to supervision. Determinations of need reportedly focus more on peer group, family dysfunction, substance abuse, psychiatric concerns, leisure time, school, and level of physical fitness. Identified needs inform recommendations for specific conditions such as a curfew to prevent running away or counselling to improve communication and the youth's relationship with parents.

To make determinations about a youth's level of risk after sentencing (for community supervision), the probation officer is expected to review the above-mentioned aspects of the youth's life and "make an estimation as to the severity of any presenting needs and his risk to the community to reoffend". Based on those factors, professional judgment is used to determine the level of supervision required. Intervention type is determined by evaluating the youth's life and by considering probation conditions that have been imposed by the judge (often linked to the pre-sentence report). There are times when probation officers use overrides to adjust (up and down) the level of contact with the offender. For instance, if an offender is required to report on a weekly basis, but lives in a geographically remote area, which makes this level of contact implausible, then telephone contact may be arranged for some reports.

Probation officers receive training on these policy guidelines and routine audits of case files and reports are conducted to ensure compliance to guidelines. Every six to eight months, a youth's risk assessment is re-evaluated by the probation officer to note changes and/or progress. These policies are currently being reviewed and updated in accordance with the YCJA.There are no immediate plans by the province to adopt a tool for general use with youth. Current policy guidelines used to assess risk and need reportedly make considerations for women and Aboriginals; however, we were not able to review these provisions.

Youth custody

Two interviews completed with youth custody workers indicate that while needs identification and defining treatment are priorities, the classification or the assessment of risk, with the exception of screening for self-harm and suicide risks, are not. The pre-sentence report is sent to the youth facility and placed in the youth's paper file. Information contained in the predisposition report is not entered at intake into the computer database. The Intake Case Management form, which is completed within 30 days after the youth's arrival at the institution is the primary assessment tool used. The same format is used in open and secure custody. This tool relies on information provided by collateral contacts, and it documents possible learning disabilities, peer relationships, and substance abuse issues. It is a multi-purpose form in that it is used for case management and reintegration planning. The information collected during this process determines programming, educational, and spiritual needs. The information collected about the youth during the intake is sent to the community or probation worker when the youth is released from custody. Respondents indicated that this process was useful because it allowed individuals to "sit down with the youth and get to know them as well as key people in their life". The emphasis on needs is also preferable to that of risk.

Research

The province is considering the adoption of tools and evaluating their use in cases where youth are being considered by the court for special sentences: intensive rehabilitation and custody. For pre-sentence assessments in these cases the YLS/CMI and HCR-20 are being considered. The provincial research division is not to our knowledge currently engaged in any research projects pertaining to risk and need assessment. Respondents interviewed regarding youth custody, however, indicated that some research was underway on case management planning and fetal alcohol syndrome.

BRITISH COLUMBIA

Main Risk/Needs Assessment Tools

  • Community: Youth Community Risk/Needs Assessment (YCRNA)
  • Custody: Youth Needs Assessment/Youth Case Plan
    Youth Risk Assessment - Youth Classification

These tools were implemented to enable youth workers to systematically evaluate the likelihood of reoffending, identify factors that contribute to a youth's criminal conduct, and develop a focused supervision plan to manage a youth in the community within the framework of the conditions of the order.

The YCRNA is completed immediately following (within 30 days) the initial interview when youth are admitted to probation or conditional supervision and have an order of three months or more. The completed assessment is entered onto the CORNET system (which is an offender management system). The risk/need assessment tool makes a distinction between risk and need, wherein risk factors are static and historic, and needs refers to dynamic areas, which might be changed through interventions. The risk/need assessment is re-administered every six months or with every new offence.

If a youth is sentenced to custody, the Youth Community Risk/Needs Assessment completed by the probation officer follows them to the facility (to be sent within 8 days of the order of committal). Once the youth is in custody, the institutional case management staff conducts a separate risk assessment (within 5 days of admission) and a separate needs assessment (within 21 days). Assessments are reviewed every three months or as needed. Completed assessments are entered onto the CORNET system and used for statistical and tracking purposes.

Risk assessments are not conducted for inclusion in pre-sentence reports but may be conducted for the information of the probation officer as a part of preparation. Risk assessment is not conducted for extrajudicial measures. Probation officers receive training on risk assessment in conjunction with their standard six-week probation officer training. Individuals working with sex offenders must have received additional training on the assessment of sex offenders.

We were not informed of any ongoing research pertaining to youth risk and needs assessment practices. The province reported that such research on the YCRNA was not conducted on the youth population; however, the Ministry of Public Safety and Solicitor General recently evaluated the original Community Risk Need Assessment tool. The youth tool that is currently used was developed after it was discovered that the original tool was not adequate for youth (many factors were adult only). We have not obtained any information pertaining to the research supporting the tool or its origins. However, the tool was formulated with research from a Simon Fraser University professor specifically for use with youth.

MANITOBA

Main Risk/Needs Assessment Tools

  • Offender Risk Assessment and Management System (ORAMS)
    • Inmate Security Assessment - Young Offenders (ISA)
    • Primary Risk Assessment - Young Offenders (PRA)
    • Secondary Risk Assessment (SRA)
      • General Assault
      • Partner Abuse
      • Sexual Assault

The ORAMS is a risk/need assessment tool developed by Manitoba Corrections. The ISA was initially developed for use with adult offenders and was adapted with minor changes for use with young offenders. The ISA was tested in the province and separate cut-off levels were established for both adult and young offenders. Initially, the Wisconsin Probation and Aftercare Assessment Form was used as the PRA-Young Offenders. In the mid-1980s, research on the Wisconsin form indicated that it was not valid for use with young offenders. The Wisconsin form was replaced with a modified version of the Youthful Offender - Level of Service Inventory (YO-LSI), a tool developed by D. Andrews and validated in Ontario (henceforth referred to as the PRA - Young Offender). A test study, including a sample of 1000 provincial assessments, was used to establish the cut-off norms for the risk categories (e.g., the cut-off level for very high should ensure that no more than 5 percent of the population receive this score). This study did not test the validity or reliability of the tool. The SRAs were developed in Manitoba for use with both adult and young offenders.

Qualitative descriptive information from the PRA and, if an assault charge, the relevant SRA are used to complete pre-sentence reports. The actual risk/need score is not included in the report. A PRA is completed for all young offenders on probation and in custody within 30 to 60 days. If a young offender is charged with an assault, then the relevant SRAs will also be completed. The PRA is reviewed and can be re-administered if there is a significant change in circumstances, for example, when a youth is transferred from a secure- to open-custody facility. The ISA is completed for all young offenders upon intake to a custodial facility for both those denied pre-trial detention and those remanded to custody. There is no formal auditing of the assessments; however, managers are required to ensure their completion.

A five-day, in-house training course is being devised for all those using the tool. Previously, youth workers received a one-day training workshop on the PRA.

Research

The province has contracted researchers at the University of Winnipeg to conduct validation studies on all the assessment instruments. Initial results have indicated that the SRA-Sexual Abuse is not a valid tool for use with adult offenders. The province is considering other tools to replace this sexual assault scale. Testing on the remaining tools has not yet been completed.

NEW BRUNSWICK

Main Risk/Needs Assessment Tools

  • Youthful Offender - Level of Service Inventory (YO-LSI)
  • Competency Base Assessment
  • Family Assessment Tool

Researchers at the University of New Brunswick were contracted to recommend a risk/need assessment tool and to test the tool in the province. The YO-LSI was subsequently adopted and piloted in Miramichi. Due to lack of adequate access to offender data, the researchers were unable to test or norm the cut-off level for the province. Hence, the tool was not modified.

Qualitative descriptive information on the YO-LSI is included in pre-sentence reports. The actual risk/need score is not included in the report. The YO-LSI is used both in probation and custodial facilities. The Competency Base Assessment is also administered on all youth in custody. The YO-LSI is reassessed every six months or where a significant change in circumstances occurs. All youth workers attend a two-and-a-half-day training workshop on risk/need assessments.

Research

The province is in the process of implementing the Family Assessment Tool for young offenders in the intensive support and supervision program.

NEWFOUNDLAND AND LABRADOR

Main Risk/Needs Assessment Tools

Youth Level of Service/Case Management Inventory (YLS/CMI)

The YLS/CMI was introduced in January 2002. The YLS/CMI is used both in probation and custodial facilities. Reassessments are conducted every three months for high- and very high-risk cases and every six months for those with moderate- or low-risk scores. All youth workers attend a two-day training workshop on risk/needs assessments.

No tools other than the YLS/CMI are required by policy, although some staff
may use other specialized tools in certain circumstances. The pre-sentence report does not include the YLS/CMI. It is said to generally follow the outline provided in the Young Offenders Act/Youth Criminal Justice Act, although courts may only require specified portions of this information in certain cases. The content suggested by the legislation is supplemented by detailed provincial policy guidelines.

Research

No specific provincial validation studies were conducted prior to implementing the tools and the province is not currently engaged in any research projects pertaining to risk/need assessments.

NORTHWEST TERRITORIES

Main Risk/Needs Assessment Tools

  • Offender Risk Assessment and Management System
    • Inmate Security Assessment - Young Offenders
    • Primary Risk Assessment - Young Offenders
    • Secondary Risk Assessment
      • General Assault
      • Partner Abuse

The Northwest Territories adopted the ORAMS, which was developed in Manitoba. One significant difference is that the Secondary Risk Assessment - Sexual Abuse scale is not used. Research in Manitoba has indicated that the tool is not valid for use with adult offenders and, hence, this scale was not adopted(see Manitoba profile for a more extensive explanation).

Qualitative descriptive information from the PRA and, if an assault charge, the relevant SRA are completed for pre-sentence reports. The actual risk/need score is not included in the report. A PRA is completed for all young offenders on probation and in custody within 60 days. If a young offender is charged with an assault, then the relevant SRAs will also be completed. The PRA is re-administered if there is a significant change in circumstances, for example, when a youth is transferred from a secure- to an open-custody facility. The territory is contemplating instituting a mandatory six-month review. The ISA is completed upon intake to a custodial facility for both those denied pre-trial detention and those remanded to custody. Audits of the assessments are conducted by a team of two individuals who are responsible for reviewing the information for all facilities.

All security staff are trained to complete the ISA. Due to training costs, only the case managers are trained to conduct the other assessments. Refresher courses are offered for case managers.

Research

No specific validation studies were conducted on the tools and the Northwest Territories is not currently engaged in any research projects pertaining to risk/need assessments. It is examining the possibility of developing an institutional reporting matrix that would mandate how often a youth worker would formally meet with an offender. The matrix would be premised on the risk/need scores obtained from the PRA and ISA.

NOVA SCOTIA

Main Risk/Needs Assessment Tools

  • Youth Level of Service/Case Management Inventory
  • Adolescent Chemical Dependency Inventory (ACDI)
  • Drug Abuse Screening Test (DAST)
  • Criminal Sentiments Scale
  • Pride in Delinquency Scale
  • Leisure Assessment Tool

The YLS/CMI was introduced in the spring of 2001. Currently, only the ACDI may be reported in pre-sentence reports for youth with substance abuse problems. The province is, however, currently examining the potential use of the YLS/CMI for pre-sentence reports and some officers currently reference it in PSRs. The YLS/CMI is used both in probation and custodial facilities. For case planning purposes, only three risk/need levels are considered. The high- and very high-risk/need scores are collapsed together. The YLS/CMI is reassessed every six months, or earlier, at the discretion of the cases manager. In addition, the ACDI is used in probation and the following tools are used in custody: DAST, Criminal Sentiments Scale, Pride in Delinquency Scale, and Leisure Assessment Tool. There are no formal audits of the tools. All youth workers attend a two-day training workshop on risk/need assessments.

Research

The ACDI was validated on the Nova Scotia Probation population after the instrument was introduced. Both the YLS/CMI and ACDI were subject to extensive field testing throughout the province prior to implementation. However, we were not able to evaluate this research or review the findings. To our knowledge no specific provincial validation studies were conducted prior to implementing the tools and the province is not currently engaged in any ongoing research projects pertaining to risk/need assessments.

NUNAVUT

Main Risk/Needs Assessment Tools Used

  • Offender Risk Assessment and Management System
    • Inmate Security Assessment - Young Offenders
    • Primary Risk Assessment - Young Offenders
    • Secondary Risk Assessment
      • General Assault
      • Partner Abuse

Static-99

Nunavut was formed as an independent territory in 2001. At that time they adopted the ORAMS developed in Manitoba. One significant difference is that the Secondary Risk Assessment - Sexual Abuse scale is not used. Research in Manitoba has indicated that the tool is not valid for use with adult offenders. The Static-99 was instituted to replace this scale.

Qualitative descriptive information from the PRA and, if an assault charge, the relevant SRA are used to complete pre-sentence reports. The actual risk/needs score is not included in the report. A PRA is completed for all young offenders on probation and in custody within 30 to 60 days. If a young offender is charged with an assault, then the relevant SRAs or the Static-99 for sexual abuse will also be completed. The PRA is re-administered if there is a significant change in circumstances, for example, when a youth is transferred from a secure- to an open-custody facility. The ISA is completed upon intake to a custodial facility for both those denied pre-trial detention and those remanded to custody. It was unknown whether audits of the assessments were regularly conducted. Nunavut is in the process of developing policies and procedures for reassessments and audits.

Youth workers attend a one-day training session. The training emphasizes the need for careful interpretation of results. Nunavut is socially, culturally, and economically distinct from other provinces and territories. Over 80 percent of the population is Aboriginal and primarily Inuit. Hence, certain items that may be relevant to young offenders in other regions of the country may not be as relevant to those residing in Nunavut. As such, the interpretation, particularly of dynamic needs may, at times, be adjusted to reflect the social, cultural, and economic realities of the region.

Research

No specific validation studies were conducted on the tools and Nunavut is not currently engaged in any research projects pertaining to risk/needs assessments.

ONTARIO

Main Risk/Needs Assessment Tools

  • Phase I: Risk/Need Assessment - Case Management Review (RNA)
  • Phase II: Level of Service Inventory - Ontario Revised (LSI-OR)
  • Youth Management Assessment (YMA)

In Ontario, Phase I offenders (12 to 15 years old at the time of the offence) are under the jurisdiction of the Ministry of Community, Family and Children's Services ; Phase II offenders (16 to 17 years old at the time of the offence) fall under the jurisdiction of the Ministry of Public Safety and Security (MPSS). (The two phases are slated to merge.) Currently, each jurisdiction uses its own distinct risk/need assessment tool.

Phase I

The Risk/Need Assessment - Case Management Review is used with Phase I young offenders on probation and in custodial facilities. Pre-sentence reports include qualitative descriptive information derived from the RNA but the actual risk/need score is not included in the report. The risk level is reviewed every 30 days. Those administering the tool do receive training. (Note: We were not given access to conduct interviews with Phase I staff.)

Research

Since 1989, the Ministry has been exploring the use of risk/need instruments. A risk/need study consisting of three evaluation studies was conducted between April 1990 and March 1991. In 1996, the Ministry began implementing the RNA. The RNA was constructed specifically for use with Ontario Phase I young offenders and is an adaptation of the YLS/CMI. Preliminary studies testing the YLS/CMI on young offenders in Ontario have reported adequate validity and reliability scores.

Phase II

The LSI-OR was introduced in 1995 and mandated for use with Phase II young offenders in 1996. Pre-sentence reports include qualitative descriptive information derived from the LSI-OR but the actual risk/need score is not included in the report. The LSI-OR is used both in probation and custodial facilities. The LSI-OR is re-administered, at a minimum, every six months. It can be, and often is, re-administered prior to the six-month period when, for example, there is the intention to transfer a youth to a new correctional setting; there is a marked change in a youth's behaviour during supervision or while in care; or there is a need for purposes of temporary release decision making.

In 1992, the YMA was implemented in all open-custody facilities. The YMA is used to supplement information garnered from the LSI-OR by providing additional information regarding a youth's potential for self-harm, harm to others, and risk of escape.

In probation, area managers conduct audits. Those administering the tools attend a two-day training session and booster sessions are provided when needed.

Research

Research staff at MPSS have recommended a study comparing the validity and reliability of all tools used with young offenders in the province. Research on the LSI-OR has focused primarily on adult offenders. As of March 2003, no study with a sufficient young offender population exists. A Ph.D. thesis, soon to be defended, includes a longitudinal follow-up study of the LSI-OR with Phase II young offenders from a Northern Ontario region.

The YMA was developed and piloted in Ontario in 1992. Three pilot studies were conducted to measure the validity of the tool; however, we were not able to locate and thus evaluate the methods and results of these studies.

A shortened screening version of the YLS/CMI exists and is being piloted by the Ottawa police department in conjunction with researchers at Carleton University. While the use of this tool appears to be for research at the moment, it is anticipated that this tool, which is administered by the police when a youth is involved in an incident that requires a police response, will facilitate police officers in referrals to diversion programs. If a youth is sent to a community organization it is then anticipated that a more intensive follow-up assessment will occur. The way this tool is being used and what happens to the information generated by the tool when someone is sent to court versus being diverted is unclear. The police representative indicated that "the score [generated by the tool] helps you to determine what you're going to do with the young person and what kind of supervision is required to ensure compliance with the referral to extrajudicial measures and it also helps you determine what extrajudicial measure you should be referring to".[29]

Police officers who administer this tool should have completed a two-hour training session.

PRINCE EDWARD ISLAND

Main Risk/Need Assessment Tools

Youth Level of Service/Case Management Inventory (YLS/CMI)

Up until recently one psychologist conducted all formal risk/need assessments in PEI. In the past, PEI used the Wisconsin risk scale (for adults) and professional discretion to make risk/need determinations. The province commissioned a research report [30] to examine available risk/need assessment tools and related case management models in Canada and elsewhere for use by Community and Correctional Services and the Attorney General. The goal of this report was to identify and recommend a computerized risk/need assessment tool for young offender classification and case management (Williamson 2000:1). Based in part on the recommendations of this review, PEI decided to adopt the YLS/CMI to standardize the approach youth workers used and to ensure that the material contained in pre-sentence reports was defensible and comprehensive. A major advantage of this tool from the province's standpoint was the link between assessment and case management.

Research

No specific validation studies were conducted on the YLS/CMI and PEI is not currently engaged in any research projects pertaining to risk/need assessments. Researchers were unable to test or norm the cut-off level for the province because of the small provincial population. Hence, the tool was not modified. The norms they will eventually use are based on the Atlantic Provinces.

QUEBEC (declined to participate in the study)

After reviewing our ethics review and research questions, the province of Quebec declined to participate in the study because they considered it to be the beginning of the implementation of the YCJA. Quebec has challenged this legislation before the Quebec Court of Appeal.

SASKATCHEWAN

Main Risk/Need Assessment Tools

  • LSI-OR (revised for Saskatchewan - tool and manual not provided to researchers)
  • Strength Assessment Tool (under development - not provided to researchers)

The province of Saskatchewan is going through a period of transition and they are about to pilot a new risk/need instrument. We conducted only one interview with the policy contact. This province has done a considerable amount of research to facilitate the construction of a risk/need assessment tool for Saskatchewan youth. The research (conducted by a provincial reference committee)[31] involved reviewing several of the tools used in Canada and the United States and the validation research on these tools where it exists and is available for review. The validity and reliability research involved scrutiny of each of the items included in the scales as well as the scale as a whole. Researchers also assessed for clarity of purpose and criteria, feasibility in terms of human resources and for user friendliness.After reviewing this research, the province decided to adopt the LSI-OR and to conduct research on each of the factors that would aid in modifications to this tool to make it more appropriate for the Saskatchewan youth population. For example, the employment and education categories were modified to be age specific (two years behind age appropriate). The revised LSI-OR was made youth centred in that the items and manual are youth appropriate so it is easier for the assessor to locate relevant interpretations of items when administering the tool. Researchers and policymakers have devoted a considerable amount to time to ensuring that there are consistent and clear instructions on how to interpret the criteria contained in the revised LSI-OR. As a result, a documentation scoring form accompanies this tool - it allows the youth worker to systemically record the information they used to justify the score. This report card facilitates audits, which will determine if the correct information was used in compiling the risk score. The Saskatchewan youth population data is being used to check this tool's local validity and reliability. This validation research is part of a long-term agenda as data is collected using the tools research will be done to determine if changes are required or if gender or ethno-cultural concerns surface.

The revised LSI-OR will be used by youth workers at the pre-sentence level, in probation, and where needed secondary assessments are conducted by psychologists (i.e., in cases of violent or sexual offending). The LSI-OR is used to assess general risk to reoffend. The court may be interested in having additional secondary assessments conducted (i.e., psychological assessments pertaining to specific offences, sexual offending, and/or violent offending; other instances may include drug and alcohol assessments and developmental). These secondary assessments would be conducted by specialists in the respective professional areas.

This tool will not be used to make determinations about pre-trial detention (Judicial Interim Release) or extrajudicial measures. At present, a formal risk/needs assessment tool is not being used to facilitate these decisions. The revised LSI-OR will also be used in open and secure custody. A separate strength assessment tool is being developed for use in the case planning of sentenced youth.

In terms of training, Saskatchewan has provincial mastery criteria that must be obtained by supervisors and youth workers before they can administer risk/needs instruments or write a report for the court. There will be four provincial trainers who can certify youth workers and supervisors in the provincial mastery criteria (presently there are two).

YUKON

Main Risk/Need Assessment Tools

  • Youth Level of Service/Case Management Inventory
  • Crime Cycle Package (CCP)
    • Crime Cycle Questionnaire - youth interview
    • Social History Questionnaire - parent interview
    • Crime Cycle Summary
    • Youth Case Plan
  • Security Risk Questionnaire
  • Structured Assessment of Violent Risk in Youth (SAVRY)

In 1995, the Crime Cycle Package was introduced to assist in case management planning and the identification of risk and needs. In 2001, federal funding enabled the territory to set up a special assignment to examine risk/need assessments. The ensuing recommendation was the implementation of the YLS/CMI and the revision of the CCP to supplement the YLS/CMI and provide more intensive information for case management planning. The CCP was determined to be a superior tool for case planning but concerns were raised over the onerous completion time; it can take up to three hours to complete the interview with the youth alone. The revised CCP is to be used in conjunction with the YLS/CMI and the sections of the CCP have been revised to correspond with the eight criminogenic risk/need factors identified in the YLS/CMI. Typically the YLS/CMI acts as an initial screening tool. Those areas identified as high risk/need by the YLS/CMI can be explored in more depth by using the corresponding sections of the CCP. Hence, depending on the circumstances, the CCP can be completed in its entirety or partially based on the factors identified as high in the YLS/CMI. On June 3, 2002, Yukon mandated the use of both the YLS/CMI and the Crime Cycle Package. These instruments are used at intake levels throughout the youth criminal justice system in the Yukon, and are the base for all case management plans and decisions, including reintegration and court decisions.

In Whitehorse, youth charged under the Young Offenders Act appear before a Youth Justice Panel. The panel presents a recommendation to the Crown as to whether the case should proceed to court or be considered for extrajudicial sanctions. A YLS/CMI assessment is conducted for all youth appearing before the Panel. If there are several factors that are scored as high, or if there is insufficient information to fully complete the YLS/CMI, then the CCP may be administered in part or in its entirety.

Several regions outside of Whitehorse have a Community Justice Committee that presents recommendations to the Crown. These committees do not routinely use the assessment tools. The YLS/CMI and Security Risk Assessment are used if the youth is detained in pre-trial custody (not during a pre-trial detention hearing). A YLS/CMI is administered for all youth who are involved in extrajudicial sanctions. A CCP may or may not be conducted.

The YLS/CMI and a complete CCP are used to devise the pre-sentence report and to make recommendations to the courts. Pre-sentence reports have since been revised to correspond to the criminogenic risk/need factors identified in the YLS/CMI and the CCP. The YLS/CMI is also administered to all youth on probation. If a number of items are identified as high, or if there is insufficient information to fully complete the YLS/CMI, then a partial CCP will be conducted. Upon intake, the YLS/CMI is conducted or reviewed if one is on file for all youth. The SAVRY is conducted by a clinical psychologist on youth charged with a violent offence.

Youth workers administering the tools attend a two-day training workshop. Youth files and assessments are audited through the Yukon Youth Probation Office. Currently, there is no set policy for reassessments but the territory is in the process of establishing such guidelines. It is anticipated that the new mandate will require the YLS/CMI to be re-administered at the time of new offences, major changes in circumstances, or after six months of the initial inventory. No research has been conducted to test the validity of the tools aside from the YLS/CMI, which is a validated, copyrighted instrument published by Multi Health Systems. All other instruments in use have been developed in co-ordination with contracted youth forensic psychologists. The territory is not to our knowledge currently engaged in any research projects pertaining to risk and need assessments.


  • [28] The ORAMS is currently used with adult offenders.
  • [29] Interview Transcript ON-019(Z)
  • [30] Anet Williamson (2000) Final Report - Risk/Needs Assessment Project. PEI: Joint Initiative of the Department of Justice Canada, Department of Community Social Services and Attorney General, Province of Prince Edward Island. This report reviews the LSI-R, the YO-LSI, the YLS/CMI, and the Wisconsin risk scale. It provides a brief cost/benefit analysis of the various tools and case-management strategies. It does not conduct a systematic review of the literature supporting these tools or any data on the reliability and validity of these tools.
  • [31] The provincial reference committee was comprised of 17 stakeholders in the youth system (social workers, managers, a contract researcher, psychologists from child and youth services, an adult federal correctional representative, a Saskatchewan Federation of Indian Nations' representative, and drug and alcohol counsellors and educators).
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