December 23, 2011

Transitional Accountability Plans (TAP) and Risk and Needs Assessment (COMPAS)

Extract from Building Bridges, December 2011:

Transitional Accountability Plans (TAP) and Risk and Needs Assessment (COMPAS)

From the testimony of Andrea Evans, Chairwoman of the Board of Parole, before the Assembly Committee on Correction, Nov 10, 2011, we gained some further insight into how TAP and Risk and Needs Assessments will be used in parole decisions. The following information is from her written testimony to the Committee.

The Board has been working closely with the DOCCS in developing the TAP instrument. It will be the instrument that measures the rehabilitation of persons appearing before the Board, as well as their likelihood of success in the community when released. Each member of the Board has received training in the use of both the TAP instrument and a risk and needs instrument known as the COMPAS instrument. Currently the use of these instruments is being piloted in 3 correctional facilities for the purpose of establishing appropriate conditions of supervision. When the pilot phase is concluded, the Board will use them to assess the appropriateness of an inmate’s release to community supervision. Because the TAP instrument reflects an inmate’s overall effort toward his or her rehabilitation while incarcerated and draws upon information closely associated with their risk of re-offending, and their needs in order to become successful, the Board’s written procedures will call for the use and careful consideration of these documents.

As an interim measure, I have instructed the Board to use the TAP instrument where and when it has been prepared for a parole eligible inmate. I have emphasized that when the Board considers an inmate for parole, they must ascertain what steps he or he has taken toward their rehabilitation and the likelihood of their success once released to community supervision.

The one function that has been transferred from the Board to DOCCS is the granting of certificates of relief and certificates of good conduct. Last year the Board granted 1,695 such certificates. DOCCS has granted 1,581 since April 2011.

See also:
Andrea W. Evans' memorandum to the Members of the Board of Parole, dated October 5 2011, regarding the recent amendment to Executive Law §259-c(4).

In the memorandum she gives details of the COMPAS Risk and Needs Assessment tool and the TAP instrument, and lists the statutory criteria to be considered by the Board. She states: "Please know that the standard for assessing the appropriateness for release, as well as the statutory criteria you must consider has not changed through the aforementioned legislation."

She ends the memorandum by giving the following instruction to the Board: "

Therefore, in your consideration of the statutory criteria set forth in Executive Law §259-i(2)(c)(A)(i) through (viii), you must ascertain what steps an inmate has taken toward their rehabilitation and the likelihood of their success once released to parole supervision. In this regard, any steps taken by an inmate toward effecting their rehabilitation, in addition to all aspects of their proposed release plan, are to be discussed with the inmate during the course of their interview and considered in your deliberations."