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RSAT Forum > Monthly Discussion > September 2013: Screening and Assessment Tools for RSAT View modes: 
eeagle - 8/29/2013 1:38:13 PM
September 2013: Screening and Assessment Tools for RSAT
 Which Screening and Assessment toools work best for RSAT for substance use, mental health, cognitive intellectual and other functioning, risk for recidivism, and trauma?

The National Drug Court Institute provides the following list of tools at your disposal: 

What do you think? Do you have any experiences with these tools? What's worked for you? What hasn't? Join in the discussion in the comments below.  

svalle - 8/29/2013 9:55:19 PM
RE:September 2013: Screening and Assessment Tools for RSAT
In addition:
The Ohio Risk Assessment System (ORAS) is a "dynamic risk/needs assessment system to be used with adult offenders. Agencies must be trained to use the ORAS, but there is no cost to use the ORAS after training takes place."

Also, SAMHSA Tip # 44 Substance Abuse Treatment for Adults in the Criminal Justice System p. 36-42

Steve Valle & Roberta Churchill 

rchurchill - 8/30/2013 2:18:55 PM
RE:September 2013: Screening and Assessment Tools for RSAT
The updated version of the LSI-R is the LS/CMI which was developed to reflect the increasing knowledge base on offender risk assessment.  It also includes all the forms you would need for a comprehensive case management system (if you don't already have one).  The LS/RNR is another updated option - again based on current research but for those agencies / facilities who already have a solid case management system.  Both updated versions identify risk / need and have sections that capture specific risk/need factors, institutional factors, other non-criminogenic client factors, special responsivity considerations and client strength areas. Training is required in order to use the LSI-R, LS/CMI and LS/RNR and there is a cost involved for the instrument. More information can be found through and search for LS/CMI or LS/RNR. Our agency has used the LSI-R family of instruments in both institutional and community based setting for over 12 years along with other instruments during intake / guide treatment planning.  One of the most beneficial aspects of the instrument is that it helps identify those need areas of our clients that are directly connected to their reasons for engaging in criminal behavior so that we can direct them into the most appropriate services / groups in order to break that pattern of re-offending.  

rchurchill - 8/30/2013 2:32:40 PM
RE:September 2013: Screening and Assessment Tools for RSAT
 The Women's Risk Need Assessment (WRNA) assesses both gender-neutral and gender-specific risk factors and provides separate versions for the probation, prison and pre-release populations.  There is a "stand-alone" and a supplemental version as well depending on the needs of your Unit / program.  The reasoning behind a separate risk/need instrument for women is that there are unique needs that are not being adequately addressed by other risk/need instruments currently in use.  The WRNA identifies these gender-specific needs as trauma and abuse, unhealthy relationships, parental stress, depression, self-efficacy and mental health symptoms. This is a relatively new instrument since the research it is based upon is also relatively new (last 8 years or so) mostly coming out of the University of Cincinnati.  Our agency is planning to use this instrument with our female clients alongside the LS/RNR with our male clients within the next several months - I'll let you know how it goes!  For more information, please go to

rchurchill - 8/30/2013 3:47:58 PM
RE:September 2013: Screening and Assessment Tools for RSAT
 The Adult Substance Use Survey - Revised (ASUS-R) is a self-report survey appropriate for use with criminal justice clients 18 years or older.  It is designed to be a brief self-administered instrument to be used with clients who are suspected of having a history of substance use or abuse.  The ASUS-R provides a look at conditions related to drug and alcohol use, mental health concerns, antisocial behaviors and attitudes, readiness and motivation for services, willingness to disclose and perceived strengths.  It can be used to make decisions about treatment and referrals. Our agency uses the ASUS-R in most of our sites along with the LS/RNR to get more detailed information regarding substance abuse involvement and how it's affected their lives.  One of the most useful aspects of the ASUS-R is the Defensive Scale which identifies how disclosing the client was during the survey, and, if administered directly after the LS/RNR, how willing they were to disclose during the interview process at that time as well.  It also breaks down the various types of disuption that alcohol / drugs may have played in their life into three categories: social role, behavioral and psychophysical which can finetune interventions and treatment plans. There is a computerized version of the ASUS-R but we've always used the paper version. For a modest contractual fee per year, you're allowed to copy a large amount of the forms - probably more than enough to cover a large RSAT Program and other treatment programs you may have sited in your prison / jail as well! Training is suggested - especially for the interpretation of results.  For more info, go to www.

kdelliquadri - 9/9/2013 8:44:01 AM
RE:September 2013: Screening and Assessment Tools for RSAT
We use the Ohio Risk Assessment System (ORAS) tools here and they have proven to be very helpful in identifying areas of risk for the RSAT participants.  There is a portion of the assessment that evaluates responsivity factors as well which is helpful when it comes to case planning.  The online ORAS (through the ODRC portal) includes a case planning system too.
For further assessment we use the Adult Substance Use Survey (ASUS) which is comprehensive and can be electronically scored.

niki.miller - 9/16/2013 3:20:26 AM
RE:September 2013: Screening and Assessment Tools for RSAT
A shout out for the WRNA.  Thank you, Roberta, for mentioning it.  I found the assessment very helpful when I worked in women's facilties.  It also comes in three different verisions - Institutional - Prerelease & Community....
Different risk factors come in to play in each version.  For example, childhood sexual abuse is an institutional risk factor, but domestic violence is a pre-release/community risk factor.  My expereince is that women offenders with histories of DV, especially those who have sustained injuries, often expereince a period of unstabilty before release. Safety planning is often more effective at reducing their stress than mental health counseling.  Because the WRNA is designed to conceptualize trauma as a risk factor, it may have its uses with males.  Research is underway with male offenders to determine if it predicts institutional adjustment for males with trauma.    Niki

niki.miller - 9/16/2013 3:27:28 AM
RE:September 2013: Screening and Assessment Tools for RSAT
I think your point about responsivity factors and the benefit of assessing them, pre-release, is an excellent one. Once offenders begin to adjust to "real world" demands, a multitude of barriers emmerge.  If a pre-release assessment identifies those barriers, they can be addressed in the release plan.  Glad to hear the ORAS has your endorsement on that score.