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Risk Assessment Factors

Describe about the Rehabilitating Offenders for Effective Rehabilitation.

Rehabilitating offenders is not an easy task but when carried out successfully then an offender is able to change and live a normal file. For effective rehabilitation to take place, risk principle, need principle as well as responsivity principle must be strictly observed. When the society locks offenders in prison and does not provide a means by which the individual can understand why he or she committed the crime in the first place, then the corrective behavior will be hard to come by. Through interventions, recidivism can be significantly reduced. The interventions must be directly proportional to the severity of the offense (Christian, Martinez & Veysey, 2009).

Nigel is a serious and violent juvenile offender. He was charged with assault and robbery as well as other cases which involve violence. He is also a persistent offender which is as a result of various factors. First, Nigel’s father has served time in prison. Furthermore, both of his parents are alcoholics and he has suffered a lot in their hands since he was abused physically and psychologically. An environment where drugs are being abused by the very people who are supposed to be role models contributed to intergenerational transmission behavior (Crow, 2001). Nigel became an alcoholic just like his parents since his surrounding at home had easy access to it. Lack of social skills is also a great contributor. Mostly because of his harsh environment at home, he feels like everybody is judging him and looking down on him. His abuse in the past has contributed to him feeling a sense of satisfaction when he inflicts harm on those he thinks are looking down on him. It is safe to conclude that violence is the only mode of solving problems that he knows since he does not have a mentor to offer guidance (Flowers, 2002).

Risk Assessment factors

As far as assessment is concerned, high-risk offenders should be accorded the first priority. The criminal justice system is tasked with correctly predicting future violence. These predictions are critical since they aid in correctly identifying those inmates who require additional security, extra supervision as well as treatment. Making correct predictions is of topmost importance since making wrong predictions may lead to unnecessary restriction of liberties (Kemshall, 2008).

Attachment theory

According to attachment theory, it is very fundamental for people to have strong emotional and physical attachment to at least one primary care giver to ensure better personal development. In this case, Nigel does not have any attachment to his parents since they are not available to offer any support needed for development.

Attachment Theory

According to this theory, a child’s ecological environment which comprises of siblings, community school, caregiver, peers as well as the extended family affects how he or she turn out to be as an adult. The hostile relationship between Nigel and his parents has contributed to the bad behavior observed in him.

Actuarial risk assessment

Actuarial risk assessment is most appropriate for this scenario since it more accurate than clinical prediction, reduces subjective biases, risk factor are empirically derived and finally risk scales can be tested for reliability (Priestley & Vanstone, 2009). Nigel is a moderate risk offender, therefore, he should receive medium intensity program. This conclusion is based on actuarial risk assessment. The offender in question has been in several juvenile institutions for committing several violent offenses. Currently, he is serving a six-year sentence for assault and robbery. Nigel’s records in prison show that he has been charged with assault against fellow prisoners. These events show a consistent violent behavior that has lasted for several years. He also shows general recidivism by physically harming those he thinks are looking down on him. The act of constantly inflicting harm on people especially based on a misguided idea that another person is looking down on him which might not always be true is an important fact to be considered. Abuse of alcohol seems to also contribute to violence since when he drinks heavily his chances of engaging in violence increases significantly. Nigel should be enrolled in a prison-based violent offender program since it is directly related to assault and robbery. Violent offenders make up a significant number of prison population hence the need rehabilitate them so that they can eventually be released back to society having transformed their lives (Sherman, 2002).

Vocational Training and Education

As far as the case study is concerned, to try and rehabilitate Nigel vocational training and education should be introduced to him. Nigel is only nineteen years old hence he has his whole life ahead of him. The fact that Nigel has at only nineteen years of age is serving a six-year sentence and has been in juvenile institutions since his early teens, it would be safe to conclude that he has not progressed a lot as far as education is concerned. This view can be supported by several statistics and observations. Basically inmates have fewer job skills and less educated compared to the general population. Statistics collected from police detainees in Australia back in the year 2007 reveal that forty-three percent females and forty- seven percent males had not completed beyond year ten and only five percent had reached university (Dawe & National Centre for Vocational Education Research (Australia), 2007). There is a link between employment and crime. It is worth noting that employment is also associated with education. High rates of unemployment lead to involvement in crime although this trend is usually more conspicuous among minority communities. Farrington research actually concludes that lack of employment does not in any way compel upstanding individuals to engage in crime but it hastens felonious rates of delinquency-prone youth.  Education and training while in prison proves fundamental because of various benefits. Participating in basic and secondary education is linked with lower recidivism rates as well as a more stable employment. Tertiary education however, produces mixed results but a huge chunk of the results are positive. Vocational training is linked with fewer violations of parole, fewer recidivism rates, encouraging institutional disciplinary record as well as better post-release employment patterns (Sherman, 2002).

Social Ecology Theory

As far as education is concerned, completing a course in prison proves difficult because of reasons like short prison sentences, waiting list for courses that is too long, inmates desire to make money in prison through paid prison work, early release or transfer to another prison as well as need for inmates to undertake other programs like offending behavior (Sherman, 2002). 

The treatment extended to the offender should focus on criminogenic needs. Criminogenic needs are essentially problems, issues or traits that are directly associated with the person’s chance to re-offend and commit another offense. These needs are categorized into two that is static and dynamic factors. Static factors cannot be changed while dynamic factors are those that structural factors that make an individual commit a crime (Burkhead, 2007). As far as the case study is concerned, alcohol is a great contributor. Whenever Nigel drinks alcohol heavily, he comes more violent and the chances of committing an offence increase. If measures are taken to ensure that he quits drinking alcohol, it would reduce the chances of being violent significantly. Secondly, there are a lot of issues back at home especially in regards to his parents and the environment they all live in. Nigel has been abused psychologically and physically by her parents and they are never there to offer the support that an ordinary individual needs from a loved one. They have for a very long time deprived him of love, guidance and sufficient education and instead exposed him to drug abuse and a life of violence. If Nigel is to be successfully rehabilitated, then constant counseling and a change of environment where he will be able to live far away from his abusive parents must be implemented. These treatment strategies are mainly informed by the social ecology theory that talks of the relationship between environment and how it affects an individual (Richmond, 2006).

As far as multisystemic interventions are concerned, Nigel’s parents should be encouraged to join parental training programs so that they can learn essential skills on how to handle children because judging from the treatment of their son, they have completely failed. The community should also get involved in establishing programs that ensure offenders who have served their time are welcomed back to society instead of being branded as robbers or thieves. Awareness should be made to the society that people can change their ways. When this is done, then social isolation is far much less likely and chances of repeating the offence also reduces significantly which is in line with the social ecological theory (Prins, 2005).

Actuarial Risk Assessment

Serious and violent juvenile offending can be prevented by carrying out several measures.  To avoid children from turning out to be serious and violent juvenile offenders, actions have to be taken early enough. During developmental stages, children have to be taught the negative effects of crime and abuse of drugs which contribute immensely to youth delinquency. In areas that are mostly disadvantaged in particular, public health tactics must be implemented to tackle risk factors that compel the youth to engage in delinquency (Seredycz, 2010). Integration of services needed like child services, medical services and schools coupled with co-ordination can make contribute a lot towards violent juvenile offending. Example of primary prevention approaches that can be executed may involve interschool interpersonal skills training, support for teenaged parents as well as parent training so that they can learn how to handle their children in an effective manner that is guaranteed to bring out their full potential (Hamilton, 2011). 

First, there are scarce resources available. Screening as well as prioritizing of resources is not easy since there are a lot of projects that need funding. Most of the time what is allocated for rehabilitation programs is usually not enough to see the programs through to the end (Lobley & Smith, 2007).

Secondly, the intervention efforts usually face resistant from the client or family members. Sometimes the client in this case the offender may frustrate any efforts of positive intervention. Other times the family members may not agree to such interventions hence denying the client any chance of changing his or her life (Parker, 2007).

Thirdly, organizational constraints also reduce the chances of success. At times, there are insufficient fitting and skilled practitioners. This makes the rate of interventions slower therefore not enough clients are able to gain from the interventions. Co-ordination of services across multiple agencies proves to be an uphill task therefore frustrating the rehabilitation efforts (MacKenzie, 2006).

There are several general needs that should be availed to persistent youth offenders and their families. First, their family environment should be improved. Dysfunctional family environments and interactions should be improved by all means necessary. The environment a child grows in will contribute a lot to the kind of adult the child becomes in the future as dictated by the social ecological theory. According to research, children who grow up in abusive environments where they are physically and psychologically abused end up engaging in crime and often elicit aggressive and antisocial behavior. This view is supported by the systems theory that family problems more often than not lead to delinquency (Masters, 2004).

Vocational Training and Education

Second, familial affection and bond should be enriched. Family bond ensures that family members care for one another and work hard to improve the welfare of one another. Familial affection ensures that children feel free to share their problems with their parents since they know they will receive the necessary support and guidance (McIvor & Raynor, 2007). This strategy is can be backed up by the attachment theory that calls for strong physical and emotional attachment among primary care givers.

Third, enhance problem-solving skills. In a world where problems and conflicts are virtually impossible to avoid, having appropriate problem-solving skills and developing non-violent conflict patterns will contribute a lot in living a better life. Most youth offenders are driven by anger and poor conflict management skills which compels them to do things that the society does not agree with.  As such, having this skills in their arsenal will ensure that they restrain themselves from resulting to violent means of handling their problems which may result in jail time (Layton, 2002).

Four, improving parenting skills should be prioritized. Every parent should have an idea of how children ought to be handled whether male or female. There should be an element of give and take and the parent must create a system where there are specific consequences for their actions. The discipline practices guarantee that the child exercises restraint as far as committing certain negative behaviors is concerned. Disciplining children also helps parents to be responsible adults who are able to respect the law of the land hence reducing their chances of finding themselves in prison for breaking the law in one way or the other (Cornelius, 2010).

Five, help is needed to help the young come up with constructive leisure activities. Whenever you people are idle, they tend to engage in destructive activities like drug abuse, unprotected sex as well as criminal activities. Persistent young offenders should be encouraged to engage in constructive hobbies like dancing, reading books as well as sports that will help in nurturing their talent and destruct them from any thoughts of going back to the negative ways of crime (Goodman, 2012). 


All in all, rehabilitating offenders is a noble task aimed at transforming offenders’ lives so that they can abandon their bad activities like engaging in crime and assault. For the rehabilitation to bear fruits, proper assessment must be done so as to determine the risk factors and in the process devise better ways as well as appropriate programs that will be of maximum help to an offender. As far as the case study is concerned, Nigel needs to be enrolled in a prison-based violent offender program where he can be able to go through different approaches like education and training to ensure he does not go back to crime. Taking courses in prison is rather difficult because at times prisoners are released early, some prefer to earn a living by participating in paid prison work and some get transferred to other prisons. As far as treatment is concerned, Nigel should counseling especially for the physical and psychological abuse that he received from his parents. In addition, Help should be offered on the best ways to avoid drug abuse. Some of the measures that can be taken to prevent the likelihood of children turning out to be serious and juvenile offenders comprise of tackling risk factors that compel the youth to turn to crime, integration of crucial services like medical and child services as well as proper coordination from different agencies. To ensure that there is a reduction in repeat youth offenders, assistance must be given to ensure that they come up with constructive hobbies. Parental skills and family affection must also be improved. Furthermore, their problem-solving skills must be enhanced and proper guidance given.


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Christian, J., Martinez, D. J., & Veysey, B. M. (2009). How offenders transform their lives. Cullompton: Willan Pub.

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Crow, I. (2001). The treatment and rehabilitation of offenders. London: SAGE.

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MacKenzie, D. L. (2006). What works in corrections: Reducing the criminal activities of offenders and delinquents. New York: Cambridge University Press.

McIvor, G., & Raynor, P. (2007). Developments in social work with offenders. London: Jessica Kingsley.

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