Risk Principle, Illustrative Applications of

Once an individual is involved in the criminal justice system, the chance of him or her getting into legal trouble again can be predicted with a fair degree of certainty. Some people are more likely to reoffend, whereas others are less likely. The risk principle states that criminal behavior can be predicted, and the risk level of the offender can be determined with some accuracy. In this way, offender risk to reoffend can vary. The risk principle also states that interventions should match the offender’s risk level so that higher risk individuals receive more treatment and services than lower risk offenders.

This entry examines the risk principle by providing a definition of risk and a description of the major risk factors for future criminal conduct. The ...

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