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Creating a Marketing and Training Strategy for the Women's Risk and Needs Assessment (WRNA)

Principal Investigator (PI) / Project Lead:


Funding Organization:

National Institute of Corrections (NIC)


21CS16 - NIC FY 2021 Women’s Risk and Need Assessment (WRNA)

Award Number:


Project Period:

8/19/2021 – 8/18/2022

Total Funding:


Project Status:



Project Description:

The Women’s Risk Needs Assessment (WRNA), an instrument that appropriately accounts for women’s risk and need, has been applied nationally and internationally for assessment and case planning with women who are at various points of involvement with the correctional system, from pretrial to community supervision. This project addresses the need for creating a national marketing, training, and technical assistance strategy for the WRNA.



Despite there being nearly 50 years of research supporting the need to have correctional approaches that are specific to women (Van Voorhis, 2012), and recent calls for equity in services for justice-involved women as opposed to exactly the same services for women as men (Buell & Abbate, 2020), several myths continue to persist among the correctional field. The shift from a one-size-fits-all treatment approach to a gender-responsive one is filled with the misperception that doing so “coddles” women while not holding them accountable. There are also many misperceptions about gender-responsive risk/needs assessment among the correctional academic discipline. Namely, that instruments deemed ‘gender-neutral’ are just as effective for justice-involved women as they are for men. These instruments (e.g., LS/CMI, ORAS, etc.) are not actually ‘neutral’ upon careful examination, even though they have demonstrated predictive validity among female populations. Importantly, just because an instrument is valid does not mean it is working as well as it could be if it had been designed for women at the outset, similar to the Women’s Risk Needs Assessment (WRNA). In order to provide a consistent message about the evidence-based nature of the WRNA, it is clear that a national marketing and training strategy is needed.

This project addresses the need for creating a national marketing, training, and technical assistance strategy for the WRNA. With the below listed five central goals, the Utah Criminal Justice Center (UCJC) will use existing University of Utah infrastructure to develop an asynchronous marketing video and other promotional content that outlines the purposes, goals, and implementation needs for adopting the WRNA.

  1. Promote and market the WRNA to correctional agencies (particularly community corrections) across the nation.
  2. Review and modify as needed UCJC’s curriculum of WRNA training and coaching.
  3. Review and select applicants to receive WRNA training and coaching.
  4. Deliver modified UCJC WRNA training to selected correctional agencies.
  5. Deliver WRNA coaching and technical assistance to selected correctional agencies.


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Last Updated: 8/29/23