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Welcome to the Annals of Research and Knowledge

(The ARK)

A blueprint for an evidence-based justice system

The best outcomes for those involved in the criminal justice system occur when court personnel can assess individuals’ risk and need profiles and match them to the most effective and cost-efficient programs given their stage in progressing through the criminal justice system.

To assist in this process, for the very first time, the Annals of Research and Knowledge (ARK) brings together decades of research into justice programs and outcomes in a dynamic online tool. With the ARK, you can indicate an individual’s risk and need profile and his or her stage in the justice system and view detailed information on evidence-based and promising programs matched to that individual.

In other words, you can now find detailed information on the programs best suited for a high-risk and high-need individual on probation, or a low-risk and low-need individual on pretrial supervision.

The ARK is a complex tool. We encourage all users to learn about the ARK's design and development before using it. You can also request training on the ARK by clicking here.


The ARK combines two evidence-based criminal justice frameworks:

  • Risk, need, responsivity (RNR) theory, developed by Andrews and Bonta (2010)
  • The sequential intercept model, developed by Munetz and Griffin (2006)

According to Andrews and Bonta’s risk, need, responsivity theory, the best outcomes are achieved when (1) the intensity of justice supervision is matched to an individual’s risk for recidivism (criminogenic risk) or likelihood of failure in treatment (prognostic risk), and (2) treatment focuses on the specific disorders or conditions that are responsible for criminal behavior (criminogenic needs).

Note: Criminogenic risk and prognostic risk do not refer to a risk for violence or dangerousness. Most individuals who score high on risk assessment tools are not violent or dangerous, but rather are unlikely to change their behavior without close supervision, consistent reward and consequences, and indicated treatment and social services.

Researchers have found that providing the wrong kinds of services can make outcomes worse by wasting resources and placing excessive burdens on people that interfere with productive activities like work or school (Lowenkamp & Latessa, 2004). In addition, placing people in the wrong treatment can actually increase crime and other undesirable outcomes (Lloyd, Hanby, & Serin, 2014; McCord, 2003; Welsh & Rocque, 2014).

The ARK designates programs as evidence based only if they are implemented for persons with suitable levels of risk and need.

As described in Munetz and Griffin’s sequential intercept model, the justice system has various stages or intercept points at which it encounters individuals, ranging from an initial street encounter with law enforcement to community-based reentry services after a jail or prison sentence.

The obligations that may be imposed on someone, and the services that are likely to be available to them, are often dictated by their stage in the system.

For example, pretrial defendants are presumed to be innocent; therefore, the goals of pretrial supervision may extend only far enough to ensure that the individual returns to court for adjudication and does not commit an offense while on release. Meanwhile, the goals of probation and parole can extend considerably further to include punishment or rehabilitation of the convicted individual. For these reasons, selecting evidence-based programs requires careful attention to an individual’s stage in the criminal justice proceedings.


Each quadrant in the ARK matrix represents a specific risk and need profile for individuals at a specific stage in the criminal justice system. Associated with each quadrant are evidence-based and promising programs that match that profile and stage. For example, you can view evidence-based and promising programs for a high-risk, high-need individual on probation, or for a low-risk, low-need individual on pretrial supervision.

The dynamic ARK interface lets you explore it all. You can also download PDFs of manuals and other materials, review scientific studies, and connect to relevant websites and libraries of governmental, scientific, and consumer organizations.


The Annals of Research and Knowledge (ARK) was developed by the National Association of Drug Court Professionals (NADCP) with funding from the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP)