Behind-the-Scenes: The Making of the COMPAS-R Core

Use Data Effectively: What Are You Missing?

Have you ever wondered how risk and needs assessments (RNAs) are developed? Let’s take a behind-the-scenes look at our newest RNA, the COMPAS-R Core

Once Upon a Time … It all started with the standard COMPAS Core assessment. Justice practitioners have been using the COMPAS Core for 25 years to make evidence-based decisions about supervision and identification of treatment targets. The tool was developed by Northpointe researchers in collaboration with our experienced practitioners, and it has long been a standard for evidence-based practice in the United States.

The COMPAS Core that was originally developed in 1996 has gone through many updates and improvements in response to methodological advances and changes to agencies’ requirements. The COMPAS-R Core is the latest evolution.

We Kept Our Ears Open. Just because we have the most trusted RNAs in the country doesn’t mean we’re sitting back and relaxing. Quite the contrary. We’re in the field working with agencies like yours every day, and we’re constantly looking for ways to make your job easier. Our team of former practitioners is always listening, learning, and innovating. They came back to the research team with some ideas about what a completely revised COMPAS Core could be.

We Kept Innovating. Our customers expressed three key needs for any new tool contributing to their evidence-based practice:

  1. Transparent. Agencies need to be able to equip their stakeholders with an easy-to-understand tool.
  2. Effective. Users need an evidence-based tool where the weights given to each item on the assessment are clear and easy to explain. Any tool that’s going to help inform the critical, life-altering decisions that justice practitioners make every day needs to be derived from rigorous academic and practical research.
  3. Efficient. All the measures you need without any you don’t. Customers were looking for a short, streamlined tool without sacrificing effectiveness.

We Problem-Solved. For some of our team members, this was the best part. We love a good challenge, and we love finding ways to marry practical needs with research and data. Letting our team loose on a real-life problem to create a real, tangible solution is a truly incredible thing. We geeked out on this for months, and we’re thrilled with the results.

Happily Ever After. We did it. We created the COMPAS-R Core, the most streamlined, transparent, user-friendly, and rigorous RNA available today. And the most gratifying part is that it’s already making a difference for our customers.

Are you ready to check out the COMPAS-R Core and what it can do for your agency’s EBP? Contact our team of experienced practitioners today.