Determining an Offender’s Risk Level

The committee assesses the risk posed by an offender who is about to be released from confinement on a case-by-case basis. The committee has access to various data, including medical data, court services data, corrections data, and criminal history data. It considers various risk factors to determine the offender’s risk of reoffending. These risk factors include:

  • the seriousness of the offense should the offender reoffend, including the degree of likely force or harm, the degree of likely physical contact, and the age of the likely victim;
  • the offender’s prior offense history, including the relationship of prior victims to the offender, the number of prior offenses or victims, the duration of the offender’s prior offense history, the length of time since his or her last prior offense while he or she was at risk to commit offenses, and the offender’s prior history of other antisocial acts;
  • the offender’s characteristics, including response to prior treatment efforts and history of substance abuse;
  • the availability of community support to the offender, including the availability and likelihood that he or she will be involved in therapeutic treatment, the availability of residential supports, familial and social relationships and the support offered from these relationships, and lack of education or emotional stability;
  • whether the offender has indicated or credible evidence in the record indicates that the offender will reoffend if released into the community; and
  • whether the offender demonstrates a physical condition that minimizes the risk of reoffense, including, but not limited to, advanced age or a debilitating illness or physical condition.
    Minn. Stat. § 244.052, subd. 3.

A risk assessment scale is used to assign weights to these risk factors and to determine the risk level to which offenders with various risk assessment scores will be assigned. This scale was developed by the Commissioner of Corrections, with input by county attorneys, treatment professionals, law enforcement officials, and probation officers. Minn. Stat. § 244.052, subd. 2.

There are three risk levels, as follows:

  • Level I offenders have a risk assessment score that indicates a low risk of reoffense.
  • Level II offenders have a risk assessment score that indicates a moderate risk of
  • Level III offenders have a risk assessment score that indicates a high risk of reoffense.

Minn. Stat. § 244.052, subd. 3.

CREDIT: The content of this and any related posts has been copied or adopted from the Minnesota House of Representatives Research Department’s Information Brief, Sex Offenders and Predatory Offenders: Minnesota Criminal and Civil Regulatory Laws, written by Legislative Analyst Jeffrey Diebel.

This post is also part of a series of posts on Minnesota Criminal and Civil Regulatory Laws Regarding Sex Offenders and Predatory Offenders.