PCRA revisited: Testing the validity of the Federal Post Conviction Risk Assessment (PCRA)

Psychol Serv. 2015 May;12(2):149-57. doi: 10.1037/ser0000024. Epub 2015 Mar 23.


The Post Conviction Risk Assessment (PCRA) was developed for use in the U.S. Probation System in 2009. Although previous publications have demonstrated the predictive validity of the PCRA using development and validation samples, this study uses assessments completed by U.S. probation officers on 113,281 offenders during the course of supervision. The current research assesses the PCRA's validity in predicting arrest for any new criminal conduct and arrest for violent offenses at 6, 12, 18, and 24 months. Bivariate and multivariate models were estimated based on race, gender, and ethnicity. The area under the receiver operating characteristic curve (AUC-ROC) values ranged between .70 and .77 depending on the subsample, outcome being predicted, and follow-up time. Overall, this research indicates that the PCRA predicts equally well across race, gender, and ethnicity and for differing follow-up time periods. In addition, the PCRA is a valid predictor of arrest for any criminal behavior and arrest for violent criminal behavior.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Crime / statistics & numerical data*
  • Criminals / statistics & numerical data*
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Middle Aged
  • Psychometrics / instrumentation*
  • Reproducibility of Results
  • Risk Assessment
  • Violence / statistics & numerical data*
  • Young Adult