Emotional and Behavioral Disorders

Evidence of Success from the Use of Emotional and Behavioral Disorders & Risk Needs Responsivity Framework and Principles

More and more data is being collected to support there is evidence of success from emotional and behavioral disorders (EBD)/ risk needs responsivity (RNR) framework and principles. The Council for Exceptional Children defines emotional and behavioral disorders as a condition exhibiting an inability to learn, build or maintain satisfactory interpersonal relationships, inappropriate types of behavior or feelings, a general pervasive mood of unhappiness/depression and lastly, the tendency to develop physical symptoms or fears associated with personal or school problems. The Federal Probation Journal defines risk needs responsivity (RNR) as a framework that officers use to figure out which individuals are most likely to recidivate again and what drives this action. It is based on the adherence to principles of effective intervention including the risk, need and responsivity principles. The risk principle is matching the level of service to the offender’s level of risk and results in providing intensive services to higher-risk clients and minimal services to lower-risk clients. The need principle targets criminogenic needs or dynamic risk factors related to criminal behavior such as pro-criminal attitudes and substance abuse. Finally, the responsivity principle matches style and mode of intervention to the abilities, motivation and learning style of the offender.

One of the largest changes that comes from successful implementation and use of EBD/RNR framework is the reduction in recidivism rates. On average, 45% of released prison populations reoffend and end up back in jail according to the Justice Center. However, 25% of the 45% end up back in prison due to technical violations, such as missing appointments or failing drug tests, which can be avoided with the proper intervention. The use of EBD/RNR in these technical violations can help individuals get to the root of why they missed appointments or how they can start to deter from using drugs.

According to a study done by the Federal Probation Journal, adherence to the risk needs responsivity principles showed promising results with recidivism rates and helping alter people’s criminogenic behaviors. Adherence to at least one principle led to small (3%) decrease in recidivism rates, with adherence to at least two principles leading to a large (17%) decrease in recidivism and lastly, adherence to all three principles led to a larger (25%) decrease in recidivism rates. Officers who applied RNR when with probation clients only had 53.8% reconvicted compared to officers who did not apply RNR had a 64% reconviction rate of those on probation. Finally, non-adherence showed a small (2%) increase in recidivism rates. Data is providing evidence that RNR framework and EBD can be successful in helping change individuals lives for the better. It provides support and acceptable behaviors that successfully rehabilitate people back into society and drastically lower recidivism rates.