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An Examination of the Implementation Fidelity of the Risk, Need, Responsivity Model of Rehabilitation in Ontario’s Direct Operated Youth Justice Facilities Open Access


Other title
Criminogenic Needs
Risk-Need-Responsivity Model of Offender Reh
What Works Research
Type of item
Degree grantor
University of Alberta
Author or creator
Walls, Lori J
Supervisor and department
Pei, Jacqueline (Department of Educational Psychology)
Examining committee member and department
Rinaldi, Christina (Department of Educational Psychology)
Hanson, William (Department of Educational Psychology)
Daniels, Lia (Department of Educational Psychology)
Peterson-Badali, Michelle (Department of Human Development and Applied Psychology)
Buck, George (Department of Educational Psychology)
Department of Educational Psychology
School and Clinical Child Psychology
Date accepted
Graduation date
Doctor of Philosophy
Degree level
Youth Justice Services in Ontario, Canada utilizes the Risk Need Responsivity Model of Rehabilitation (RNR model) as the evidence supporting their case management practices. The use of the RNR model has been substantiated through research that has suggested that when all components of the model are adhered to significant reductions in recidivism are possible. Since achieving reductions in recidivism is a primary goal of Ontario’s youth justice systems, fidelity to the RNR model is essential to assist in reaching the desired outcomes. The aim of this research project was to test fidelity to the RNR model in the direct operated youth justice system in Ontario, as well as to examine the contention that the principle of responsivity is the least understood and therefore least utilized component of the model. A retrospective chart review design that examined the files of all male youth meeting the study criteria between the fiscal years of 2001 and 2014 in the direct operated facilities was used to address three research questions. The first research question sought to understand what information was collected in the case management process that aligned with the model components. The second question examined how the information collected was applied to case management goals for youth. The third question compared the identification and utilization of RNR information between the case management plans created in the community with those created in the direct operated facilities. The key findings from this study suggest that fidelity to the RNR model can be achieved in respect to the identification of information that aligns with each of the model components. However, operationalization of the information into case management goals has proven to be less successful. Study results indicate that neither identification nor utilization of responsivity factors in case management plans is occurring in either the community or the facility setting.
Permission is hereby granted to the University of Alberta Libraries to reproduce single copies of this thesis and to lend or sell such copies for private, scholarly or scientific research purposes only. The author reserves all other publication and other rights in association with the copyright in the thesis and, except as herein before provided, neither the thesis nor any substantial portion thereof may be printed or otherwise reproduced in any material form whatsoever without the author's prior written permission.
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