Addressing the Equity and Fairness of Assessments: How the National Guidelines can Transform Agencies’ Communication and Use of Post-Conviction Risk and Needs Assessments


Monday, February 26, 2024
3:30 PM - 5:00 PM
Session Type: Workshop

In partnership with the Bureau of Justice Assistance, The Council of State Governments (CSG) Justice Center worked with a group of 26 national experts to develop a set of 13 practical guidelines and a suite of practical resources that advise criminal justice agencies on prioritizing accuracy, fairness, transparency, and effective communication and use of post-conviction risk and needs assessments. The guidelines permit agencies to follow a coherent set of guidelines on the development and use of risk and needs assessment and encourage testing of their instruments for accuracy and fairness across race, ethnicity, and gender. This session will describe the benefits of adhering to the national guidelines, discuss submissions to the supplementary self-assessment tool, identify the first group of states receiving technical assistance and their areas of priority, and hear from a group of panelists who are prominent leaders in the field on related research, specific challenges agencies have encountered, and efforts to adopt the national guidelines.


Jennifer Kisela
Deputy Program Director, Council of State Governments

Jennifer Kisela is a Deputy Program Director at the Council of State Governments Justice Center, providing technical assistance to states that are engaged in the Justice Reinvestment Initiative and overseeing special projects. In her role, she provides content expertise in the areas of evidence-based practices in community supervision, risk assessments, quality assurance, correctional programming, and parole board decision-making. Prior to joining the CSG Justice Center, she worked for 15 years in community corrections with her most recent position as the Research and Continuous Quality Improvement Administrator at Oriana House in Ohio where she implemented and oversaw the training and coaching of staff on the use of effective interventions. In addition, Jennifer has provided training and coaching services as an independent contractor to community corrections agencies throughout the U.S.  Jennifer holds a BA in Justice Studies from Kent State University and an MS in Criminal Justice from the University of Cincinnati.

Jeffrey Locke
Senior Policy Advisor, Bureau Justice of Assistance US Dept of Justice

Jeff Locke serves as a senior policy advisor within the BJA Policy Office’s Corrections, Reentry and Justice Reform team. Before joining BJA, Jeff served as an attorney advisor within the Office of the Secretary of Commerce’s Office of General Counsel, where he worked on trade, technology, and law enforcement issues. Prior to Commerce, Jeff served as Program Director for Criminal Justice and Legal Counsel at the National Governors Association, where he worked on justice reform and drug issues. Jeff has also served as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Togo, West Africa. Locke holds a master’s degree in public policy from Harvard Kennedy School and a J.D. from Boston College Law School.

Charles Robinson
Deputy Chief, Probation and Pretrial Services Office Administrative Office of the United States Courts

Charles Robinson is the Deputy Chief of the Probation & Pretrial Services Office of the Administrative Office of the United States Courts. Over the course of more than 20 years, he has worked in a variety of positions in both county and federal probation, including supervising a caseload of community supervision clients and serving as a chief probation officer. Charles has co-authored several widely used client and officer training programs for community and custodial correctional settings. Among these programs are Decision Points, an open-group cognitive-behavioral program that teaches clients to observe and interrupt thinking that leads to trouble; and Effective Practices in Correctional Settings (EPICS) II, a training program for criminal justice professionals based on existing behavioral change strategies found to be effective with criminal justice clients. He has extensive experience as a consultant training agency leaders and staff in both juvenile and adult correctional settings. He has helped leaders and agencies in the U.S. and other countries better align their community supervision systems with practices proven to exert a positive effect on clients and their communities. Charles has also co-authored several articles that contribute to the research literature supporting effective practices in community supervision. Charles is passionate about the work of probation officers and believes strongly that community supervision officers are uniquely positioned to influence the lives of clients and the community through direct service interactions.

Dr. Emily J Salisbury
Director and Associate Professor, Utah Criminal Justice Center

Dr. Emily Salisbury is an Associate Professor and the Director of the Utah Criminal Justice Center at the University of Utah College of Social Work. She is trained as an applied criminologist and focuses her research on correctional policy, risk/needs assessment, and treatment intervention strategies, with a particular focus on system-involved women, gender-responsive practices, and trauma-responsive care. Her research publications have appeared in several top academic journals and edited volumes. As a result of her scholarship on behalf of women, she was awarded the Marguerite Q. Warren and Ted B. Palmer Differential Intervention Award from the American Society of Criminology Division on Corrections and Sentencing. Dr. Salisbury is a co-creator of the Women’s Risk Needs Assessment (WRNA) instruments that were developed through a cooperative agreement with the National Institute of Corrections. The WRNA correctional assessments are specifically designed to focus on the risk, needs, and strengths of system-involved women, and have been implemented in over 80 international and domestic jurisdictions. For five years, she also served as Editor-in-Chief of Criminal Justice and Behavior, a top research and policy journal focused on correctional rehabilitation. Lastly, Dr. Salisbury is co-author of the book, Correctional Counseling and Rehabilitation, currently in its 10th edition.