Women’s Risk and Need Assessment (WRNA)
Over a period of 10 years, the Women’s Risk and Need Assessment (WRNA) was developed based on Canadian research that stressed the importance of assessing and addressing dynamic risk factors and gender-responsive research and theory, including research suggesting that women’s pathways to criminal legal involvement is different from men’s [ChesneyLind, 1997; Daly, 1992]. The research also summarizes the gender-responsive tools that are available for managing and supervising women in various correctional settings [Bloom, Owen, & Covington, 2003; Buell, Modley, & Van Voorhis, 2011; Covington, 1998, 2000]. The premise for the development of the WRNA was that tools currently in use generally over-classified (and on some occasions under-classified) women, and therefore inappropriately assigned them to institutional placement or housing and did not match services and programs to their actual risk and need. Further, services and programs were often not available, as there had been no accurate determination for their need, an outcome based on tools that often overlooked issues more salient to women. Therefore, the mandated completion of assessment and classification tools often became a “paperwork” exercise, and ultimately the assessments were filed away and not used to guide decision-making. Today, the WRNA, a tool that appropriately accounts for women’s risk and need, has been applied nationally and internationally for assessment and case planning with women who are at various points of involvement with the correctional system, from pretrial to community supervision.