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Rodriguez AL, Manfredi L, Wong AC, Nevedal A, Timko C, Rosenthal J, Blonigen DM. Implementation Potential of Structured Risk Assessments for Criminal Recidivism in the Veterans Health Administration: Qualitative Perspectives From Providers. Criminal justice policy review. 2017 Aug 14; DOI: https://doi.org/10.1177/0887403417725567 .
Utilization of tools to evaluate recidivism risk among justice-involved individuals is central to the risk-need-responsivity model of offender rehabilitation. Veterans Health Administration's (VHA) Veterans Justice Programs (VJP) Specialists link justice-involved veterans to appropriate services, aiming to reduce recidivism risk. To explore the implementation potential of structured risk assessments (SRAs) within VJP, semistructured telephone interviews were conducted with 63 VJP Specialists and qualitatively analyzed. While SRAs were not reported to be utilized as part of Specialists' formal duties, many Specialists indicated such a tool would be valuable for efficient triage, separation of clients by risk level, client feedback, and data collection for quality improvement purposes. Perceived barriers to SRA implementation included lack of time and resources, misinterpretation of scores, and concerns regarding documentation of risk level. Potential facilitators included leadership support, education, and training. Findings highlight potential pitfalls and promises of implementing SRAs within large, integrated health care systems such as VHA.