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FSA Update

AG released update on the new Risk and Needs Assessment System

FSA Update

(BOP) - On July 19, 2019, the Department announced the initial release of a new Risk and Needs Assessment System called PATTERN (Prisoner Assessment Tool Targeting Estimated Risk and Needs) in accordance with the requirements of the First Step Act (FSA). Attorney General William Barr stated that while "crafting the System, the Department worked to make the benefits of the FSA as widely available as possible without compromising predictive reliability. The System is a good initial step based on the available information, and we will aim to improve it, with more time, consultation, data, and research."

Today, January 15, 2020, the Attorney General released an update on PATTERN that includes responsive information compiled from the 45-day public study period held following the initial launch. During this time, the public was able to review the System and consider ways in which it may be improved. Additionally, the update includes feedback about PATTERN gathered from stakeholders, public interest organizations, and the public who were invited by the Department in September 2019 to review the System following the initial 45-day study period. Finally, the update includes analysis and input from the Independent Review Committee as to how the instrument could be improved.

The FSA required the BOP to complete an initial risk and needs assessment for each inmate within 180 days of the release of the initial report. The BOP has completed an initial assessment for each inmate and assigned applicable programs for identified needs. As a result of the changes to PATTERN that have been approved and announced by the Attorney General, the BOP will review current risk scores and levels to determine where adjustments may need to be made to some inmates' risk scores and risk levels. As a result of these reviews, some inmates may see a change (e.g. a Low risk inmate may now be a Medium risk offender which may make him or her eligible for higher priority to participate in evidence-based recidivism reduction programs or a Medium risk inmate may now be a Low risk, making him or her eligible for additional time credits.)

The BOP will continue to implement the requirements of the FSA, including expanding available programs and enhancing its needs assessment processes. To see more in this area, see