An asset to youth justice?

The importance attached to risk assessment tools is increasing, with news that the Youth Justice Board is introducing a ‘scaled approach’ to young offenders:

Young people committing the same crime could get different sentences under the Youth Justice Board’s (YJB) Scaled Approach, charity Nacro has claimed. Under the plans, the Scaled Approach policy would see the intensity and duration of an offender’s community sentence depend on their risk of committing further crimes, as assessed by their Asset score.

‘Asset’ is part of the stable of risk-assessment processes (eCAF, Onset, APIR) that look at every area of a child or young person’s life in order to make predictions and decide on ‘interventions’ purported to prevent them from coming true.

It’s actually been around since 2000, during which time re-offending has risen by 4%.

An evaluation (pdf) in 2003 (coincidentally, carried out by the person who designed Asset) found that this tool had an overall 67% accuracy rate. I wonder how much comfort that will offer to those who receive extended community punishments because they were in the remaining 33%?


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