Evidence-Based Sentencing

3. Sentence: Use assessment results to inform sentencing decisions about community supervision, treatment, and other services for the offender

What does this involve?

In deciding the appropriate sentence for the offender, the judge will consider information pertinent to several different sentencing goals. For example, the judge may decide that sentencing goals such as punishment or restitution are most important in a case. EBS, however, applies only to sentencing decisions in which the judge seeks to address the goal of public safety through offender risk reduction and management. This sentencing goal is typically considered with offenders who are eligible for probation, or who are presumed to be sentenced to probation based on the nature of the offense.

To make evidence-based sentencing decisions, the judge will review and consider:

  1. The offender’s individual risk level, dynamic needs, and responsivity factors
  2. The supervision and monitoring options available in the community
  3. The sanctioning options available in the community, in the event that violations occur
  4. The treatment services and other programmatic interventions designed to address criminogenic factors (needs) that are available in the community

To address public safety goals, the judge will make decisions about the conditions of supervision designed to ensure effective recidivism risk management if the offender is placed in the community. To address risk reduction goals, the judge will make decisions about the conditions of community supervision specifically designed to target the offender’s individual criminogenic needs and responsivity factors for the purposes of reducing the offender’s individual recidivism risk.  The options available in the local community to support an evidence-based community corrections case plan for the offender based on his or her individual risk level, dynamic needs, and responsivity factors may also inform a decision about amenability to community supervision. 


In addition to Key NCSC Resources, see: