Community courts respond to crime by promoting well-being—of victims, those who have done harm, and the community as a whole. To be successful, these courts have to assess what participants need and where the court’s impact can be most meaningful. Risk-need-responsivity (RNR) tools help practitioners make those decisions, uniformly gauging individuals’ needs and risk factors with a view to reducing recidivism and promoting better outcomes for all. This guide outlines best practices for community courts seeking to develop fair, evidence-based responses to crime, including advice on incentives and sanctions and a response matrix template.
Criminal Court Assessment Tool
Also included with this publication is the Center for Justice Innovation's free, non-proprietary RNR tool, the Criminal Court Assessment Tool (CCAT), available in both English and Spanish. Use of an RNR tool is often legislated for community justice programs or required by grant funding. The CCAT is available as an option for use in court-based programs in alignment with local requirements. Please contact the Center for a short, free training before using the CCAT. We also strongly recommend locally validating the tool on your jurisdiction’s population before implementing.