UMMS Affiliation

Department of Psychiatry

Publication Date


Document Type



Health Services Research | Law | Mental and Social Health | Psychiatric and Mental Health | Psychiatry | Psychiatry and Psychology


The Child Welfare League of America (2003) reported that between 1980 and 2000 the arrest rate for boys declined by 11% but increased for girls by 35%. A well tested case management approach being applied more commonly in juvenile justice is the Risk-Needs-Responsivity (RNR) approach, which suggests that interventions and services should be commensurate with ones level of risk and specific dynamic risk factors (criminogenic needs). The RNR model tends to be seen as "gender-neutral", based on assumption that it works equally well with both sexes. Few studies have examined whether gender differences exist in the effectiveness of RNR-type case planning.

Vitopoulos et al., (2012) examined possible RNR differences between justice-involved boys and girls using the Youth Level of Service/Case Management Inventory (YLS/CMI). Across all of the criminogenic need areas (e.g. antisocial attitudes, peer affiliations), only the personality domain was significantly different by gender, such that more girls than boys seemed to have a problem inthis area. They did not find any gender differences in the matching of services to needs identified; however, a higher match between clinician-recommended needs and assigned treatment services (service-to-needs match) predicted a decrease in boys' re-offending but not in girls' reoffending. Given the paucity of research, we are left to question the applicability of some RNR principles or the quality of their implementation for girl offenders. Using the Structured Assessment of Violence Risk for Youth (SAVRY)) in three probation officies to measure both risk level and dynamic risk factors (criminogenic needs), we examined whether within a large sample of youth there were gender differences in the (a) criminogenic needs identified, (b) ability of probation officers (POs) to match services to needs in their case planning and (c) the association of the serve-need match to recidivism.

Journal/Book/Conference Title

Massachusetts Department of Mental Health's DMH 2013 Research Conference


Presented at the Massachusetts Department of Mental Health's DMH 2013 Research Conference "Innovations in Research: Lived Experience Leading the Way."