The Risk-Need-Responsivity principle was developed by Donald Arthur Andrews and James Bonta in 1990. It integrates the psychology of criminal conduct into an understanding of how to reduce recidivism. Using this concept, they identify three principles to guide the assessment and treatment of offenders to advance rehabilitative goals as well as reduce risk to society: risk principle, need principle, and responsivity principle (RNR). 

The evidence-based practices framework emphasizes that justice agencies should match offenders to services and programs based on their risk and need factors. The effective use of RNR principles is challenging to implement because of the availability of services for offenders in the community are often not consistent with the risk and needs of offenders and competing issues exist that make it difficult for policy makers to consider how best to simultaneously manage the offender in the community, ensure public safety, contain or reduce costs, and reduce individual offender recidivism. 

The Center for Correctional Excellence (ACE!) at George Mason University

ACE! developed the RNR Simulation Tool to assist justice and behavioral health agencies (government, private, or non-profit) who wish to translate EBPs into practice. This approach integrates the science around effective screening, assessment, programs, and treatment matching (responsivity) to improve individual and system outcomes. To that end, the RNR Simulation Tool has three portals:

1) Assess an Individual; 
2) Assess a Program; and

3) Assess Jurisdiction’s Capacity

The RNR Tool allows jurisdictions to modify the parameters of the model based on the unique features of their jurisdictions. It complements efforts to advance the use of EBPs by helping jurisdictions strategically review their existing correctional and treatment services and then make choices based on maximizing different outcomes (i.e., costs, offender change, and public safety) in their jurisdiction.



 Strategic Training Initiative in Community Supervision (STICS)

STICS is a job training program for probation officers to help them apply the risk–need–responsivity (RNR) model with probationers to reduce recidivism. This program was implemented in three Canadian provinces: British Columbia, Prince Edward Island, and Saskatchewan.

The objectives of the training include changing how probation officers interact with offenders and adjusting the focus of sessions with clients. Research shows that probation officers often focus on non-criminogenic needs and infrequently use prosocial modeling, role playing, or other cognitive–behavioral techniques with probationers (Bonta et al. 2004, 2008). By training probation officers to implement RNR principles into their interactions with probationers, they may reduce recidivism rates in their probationers. 


 The Office of Justice Programs’ CrimeSolutions.gov

CrimeSolutions.gov uses rigorous research to determine what works in criminal justice, juvenile justice, and crime victim services.
  The website captures on-going reviews of justice programs and now also presents reviews of justice practices. A practice is a general category of activities, strategies, or procedures that share similar characteristics with regard to the issues they address and how they address them.