Instrument de evaluare a riscurilor si nevoilor in unitatile penitenciare din Romania: Raport de validare
The project "Contribution to the implementation of criminal legislation in Romania" was elaborated between September 2012 and May 2013. The partners involved in carrying out the project were the initiator of the project GRADO Association (Romanian Group for the Defense of Human Rights) and the National Administration of Penitentiaries, the Ministry of Justice - National Probation Division, the Foundation for Penal Justice Reform Romania and the Transcena Association. During this period, the partners analyzed the need to involve in the project a partner with experience in the field of developing a tool for assessing the risk of relapse. The conclusion of the analysis was that an experienced partner is needed and the steps were taken to obtain the agreement of the Canadian Correctional Service to get involved in the project. As a result of the positive response received from the Canadian Correctional Service, a Government Collaboration Protocol has been signed. The project "Contribution to the implementation of criminal legislation in Romania" continued from 01.07.2013 to 31.01.2016 with funding from the Open Society Institute. It allowed the development of the current methodology, which this report specifies and clarifies. During the project period, working groups were organized within the National Prison Administration and the National Probation Division, which designed the items (Step 1) and performed the pre-testing and inter-rater reliability for the questionnaires used, as well as calibrating the application for data collection and input. In this endeavor, smaller samples of convicted persons were used, and the whole team of consultants and ANP staff involved in the project analyzed the data in successive rounds. Details are important and are provided in this report. In short, the tool developed and used by the National Probation Directorate is the Risk and Needs Assessment Scale - SERN. It is based on a set of interrelated questionnaires. The tools developed and used by the National Prison Administration are currently: • C1 – Tool C1 for initial assessment • C2 – Tool C2 for periodical assessment • C3 – Tool C3 for parole • C4 – Tool for social reintegration assessment It is essential to be noted that the assessment work undertaken by staff of the Romanian Penitentiary System revolves around three important decisions, referred to in this report as C1, C2, and C3. C1 is the moment when an initial assessment is made. It refers to the situation of the new inmate, and determines his regime based on the received sentence. At that point, the tool described in this report offers information on the expected behavior of the inmate. C2 is a periodical reassessment that decides the type of imprisonment regime. The tool offers also expectations related to the future behavior of the inmate, in the same way that actuarial statistics provide expectations related to risks in case of insurance industry. C3 is the commission that decides upon parole release. Early release can be based on the past experiences with similar previously released inmates or with inmates that were at least previously referred to C3 (i.e. we offer recommendations based on previous decisions of the C3 commissions). Therefore, we offer such information at the C3 moment. We also note that one inmate may face several times the C3 commission until he/she is finally release, either anticipated or due to completing the sentence. With respect to activities for designing the tool, we note that several stages were important. During the first stage, we considered a pretesting form of the tool, adapted to each C1-C3 commissions. The revised form of the tool was consequently applied, with another revision later on, as explained in the following. In the pre-test stage mentioned (2015), the tool was applied for approximately 600 inmates for each of the committees C1, C2 and C3. Based on the analyzes carried out, the tool was adjusted, initial formulas for calculating the probability of return, reward, sanction were generated, formulas for warning and information indicators were drawn up. Recalibration and consolidation steps followed. Within them, the proposed tool was adjusted in successive analyzes based on the de facto application of the tool in the testing phase. The exact figures of inmates (cases) where the tool was applied are shown in Table 1. Starting from these thousands of cases analyzed, today we have three reliable interdependent tools that can be applied separately to inform the decisions of committees C1, C2 and C3. These tools will be reviewed annually or every two years, but we expect the changes made to be minor. Returning to the management of the validation process, it is useful to note its dynamics. Between 01.02.2016 - 31.12.2017 the activity continued and was carried out under a voluntary regime or with the financing of the activity of the partners from own resources. The National Penitentiary Administration (A.N.P.) issued Decision no. 403 of 13.04.2016 regarding the 6-month piloting of the Standard Tools for Assessing the Activity of the Inmates. On 01.11.2016 A.N.P. issued the Decision no. 761 by which the piloting period was extended for the C1, C2 and C4 tools and for C3 the piloting was suspended as corrections were needed. Between 01.01.2018 - 30.06.2019 the financing of the development of the standard assessment tools was covered by the budged from the project "Stay free! - Social reintegration of persons deprived of liberty” funded by the Zurich Canton Lottery and the VEBO Association - Switzerland. The National Administration of Penitentiaries extended the piloting period for C1, C2, C4 and resumed application to Instrument C3 by issuing the Decision no. 303 / 08.01.2018. Following the development and implementation of the IT application for data analysis and information management specific to the SERN assessment tool, the National Probation Directorate issued the Decision no. 167/28.12.2018 which authorizes it’s use for the computerized management of the probation files and the evaluation reports and for assessing the risk and needs of individuals from the probation records.
Citation : Szabo A. și Voicu B. (2019) Instrument de evaluare a riscurilor și nevoilor în unitățile penitenciare din România: Raport de validare [Risk and Needs Assessment in Romanian Prison Units: Validation Report]. București: Grupul Român pentru Apărarea Drepturilor Omului.
Peer Reviewed : Yes