Post Conviction Risk Assessment
The federal Post Conviction Risk Assessment (PCRA) is a scientifically based instrument developed by the Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts (AO) to improve the effectiveness and efficiency of post-conviction supervision.
The PCRA makes it possible for officers to focus their efforts on the people who are at the greatest risk of failing on supervision and committing new crimes.
The United States probation and pretrial services system embraces evidence-based practices (EBP), which employ the best available scientific data to influence supervision decisions. A key element of the evidence-based approach is the use of the PCRA to achieve maximum, measurable reductions in recidivism. Using the PCRA, officers can make informed decisions about:
- Which persons to target for correctional interventions.
- What characteristics or needs to address.
- How to deliver supervision and treatment in a way that produces the best outcomes.
On this page, you will find links to two important documents that provide more information about the PCRA:
The Overview of the Post Conviction Risk Assessment provides an easy-to-digest overview of risk assessment and the use of the PCRA in the United States probation system. You will find:
- A summary of the history of risk assessment in the United States probation and pretrial services system and the purpose and development of the PCRA.
- A description of EBPs and principles that form the foundation for risk and needs assessment instruments.
- A discussion of implementation issues, such as training and certification, and the AO’s ongoing monitoring and research on the PCRA.
The PCRA Research Compendium summarizes the empirical research on the PCRA to date. This document will be updated over time to incorporate the latest research.
Research Articles from Federal Probation Journal
This journal is published each June, September, and December by the Administrative Office of U.S. Courts and presents current thought, research, and practice in corrections, community supervision, and criminal justice.
The neglected “R” — Responsivity and the federal offender (September, 2014)
Research Articles from Other Publications
These articles are from publications not a part of the federal Judiciary and will require an account to access:
Risk Assessment Overrides: Shuffling the Risk Deck Without Any Improvements in Prediction (pdf) (September, 2020)