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Migration and Home Affairs
Expert opinion

RAN PRISONS Risk and Needs Assessment Tools, online meeting 10 December 2020


Publication date
6 September 2021
Directorate-General for Migration and Home Affairs
RAN Publications Topic
  • Prison and probation


This paper presents the findings of the RAN PRISONS meeting on 10 December 2020, where practitioners involved in risk and needs assessment (RNA) in prisons met. This paper presents the main conclusions and insights of the discussions and provides some key recommendations.

In this regard, this paper concerns the practical use of RNA tools within the prison setting, addressing benefits, different possibilities and outlook for the future. Also, prison staff training on risk assessment to improve accuracy of information, motivation and evaluation techniques is something to be considered.

Some key outcomes of this practitioners’ exchange are as follows:

  • Risk Assessment Tools are overrated. Risk and needs assessment involves a way of working where the mentioned tools are just one component with agreed limitations.
  • Prison staff training is essential, if only to develop effective approaches to obtain information and engage the individual in the assessment and the whole process aimed at reintegration into society.
  • Risk assessment involves the detection of risks, but also the analysis and management of needs of the offender. This is related to the rehabilitation process, which is at the core of prison intervention.
  • The risk assessment starts with a good and trustful relationship with the offender, for which motivated staff is needed. It will lead to a more in-depth knowledge of the individual and there will be more opportunities to support the change needed.

This paper is structured as follows: firstly, an overview of the discussion on RNA tools will be presented as a framework for further discussion; secondly, main highlights of the discussion will be described; thirdly, some recommendations will be mentioned. Finally, relevant practices will be addressed and further reading provided.

RAN PRISONS Risk and Needs Assessment Tools cover


RAN PRISONS Risk and Needs Assessment Tools