Needs Assessment and Programs

The BOP begins focusing on reentry when an inmate first enters custody, assessing criminogenic and other needs as part of the intake assessment and semi-annually thereafter. Inmates meet with BOP staff to discuss assessment findings and are referred for appropriate programs based on these results.

Risk and Needs Assessment System Tools Cover
Key Components of the Federal Bureau of Prisons' Current Needs Assessment System

The BOP assesses an inmate for a variety of needs in determining how to best assist inmates in their self-improvement process and prepare them for reentry. This document summarizes the primary areas in which the BOP assesses needs and provides programming to address these areas.

Needs Assessment in the Federal Bureau of Prisons

August 2020 report describing the steps BOP has taken to build upon and enhance current processes, resulting in the present improved needs assessment system.

First Step Act Approved Programs Guide
First Step Act Approved Programs Guide

The July 2021 Approved Programs Guide is a collection of the Bureau's robust reentry programs, designed to ensure all sentenced inmates have the skills necessary to succeed upon release. The approved programs are standardized across institutions, described in the Bureau's national policies, implemented with dedicated resources, and regularly reviewed to ensure program fidelity.

First Step Act Needs Assessment
First Step Act Needs Assessment

With the passage of the First Step Act (FSA), the BOP turned its attention to formalizing and enhancing the needs assessment system. This June 2021 document clearly defines the 13 FSA need areas each inmate must be assessed for and the correlating EBRRs and PAs available to address each need area identified.

FY'22 Review and Revalidation of the BOP's Needs Assessment System

The National Institute of Justice (NIJ), in collaboration with the Bureau of Prisons (BOP), is seeking responses to support the annual review and revalidation of the BOP's needs assessment system, the Standardized Prisoner Assessment for Reduction in Criminality (SPARC-13). This initiative supports Section 3631 of Title I of the First Step Act (FSA) of 2018 and furthers the mission of the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) by supporting research to reduce crime and protect public safety. More information, including the Consultant Statement of Work, can be found on NIJ's website.

Have an idea for a program?

Submit proven programs to reduce recidivism through the FSA External Program Review process.

If you have an evidence-based recidivism reducing program you'd like to propose to BOP, you can submit it for consideration to be used in the Bureau of Prisons. Each program submission will be independently reviewed by social research scientists from an external organization to determine if evidence of recidivism reduction is observed and other BOP-relevant criteria are met.

FSA External Program Submission Form

Submit Form By Mail

FSA Program Submissions
320 First Street NW
400 Building, Room 2054
Washington D.C  20524

Submit Form By E-mail

RSDFSAProgramSubmissions@bop.gov