Risk/needs assessment with juvenile offenders in NSW

  • McGrath, Andrew (Creator)
  • Jane Delahunty (Creator)
  • Anthony Thompson (Creator)

Impact: Public policy Impact, Social Impact

Impact summary

Juvenile offending is a matter of considerable concern to the public and policy makers. Charles Sturt University researchers have been instrumental in introducing best international practice in offender supervision and rehabilitation to NSW. This period has coincided with a decline in both adult and juvenile offending rates. 
Researchers from Charles Sturt have been collaborating with the NSW Department of Juvenile Justice for over 20 years to develop and refine the risk assessment practices used by the Department. Associate Professor Tony Thompson originally proposed the Department adopt the Youth Level of Service/Case Management Inventory (YLS/CMI) and was successful in obtaining funding to adapt this Canadian instrument for Australian use. 
The instrument was officially launched in October 2002 and used by the Department to assess youth under community supervision since 2003. Approximately 2-3000 assessments are carried out annually to determine level and quality of supervision given to young people.
Researchers examined the psychometric properties of the instrument using data from 2003 (Thompson & Pope, 2005), 2003-2005 (McGrath & Thompson, 2012; Thompson & McGrath, 2012), and 2008-2010 (McGrath, Thompson, and Goodman Delahunty, 2018). 
The research had a major impact on supervision practices used by the Department, seeing the introduction of the widely recognised risk/need/responsivity correctional framework (Andrews, Bonta, & Wormith, 2006). 
In our most recent work we conducted file reviews to examine errors of prediction and this work was published in the highly ranked journal Criminal Justice and Behavior in 2018. 
Impact date20012018
Category of impactPublic policy Impact, Social Impact
Impact levelBenefit


  • risk assessment
  • psychometric evaluation
  • case management inventory
  • young offenders

Countries where impact occurred

  • Australia