Development of a risk/treatment needs and progress protocol for juveniles with sex offenses.

With the post-Gault trend toward the criminalization of the juvenile court, the demand for risk prediction assessment scales took on newfound importance. The past several decades of research have underscored the limitations of these scales. To address these limitations, and to shift the focus from current and future risk to least restrictive management strategies and effective treatment, we have developed and implemented a new assessment protocol that relies on risk relevant dynamic factors to inform and individualize treatment interventions as a vehicle for reducing recidivism and promoting healthy development among juveniles with sex offenses–without focusing solely on risk prediction. This Treatment Needs and Progress Scale (TNPS) is currently being pilot tested in five states. This article reviews the methodological problems of the extant risk assessment scales, discusses the development of the TNPS and how this protocol seeks to address many of these problems, including shifting the outcome target from reoffense to mitigation of risk factors through treatment and healthy growth and adjustment. We conclude with discussing how the TNPS may improve decision making regarding the management of juveniles with sex offenses, inform public policy and law, and facilitate healthier outcomes. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2019 APA, all rights reserved)