Risk Scales and Handbooks

Please note: The following information is available in Adobe Acrobatfile format. The Acrobat Reader is available at the Adobe website. Follow the instructions there for downloading the Acrobat Reader.

Colorado Actuarial Risk Assessment Scale (CARAS)

The Division of Criminal Justice is mandated by statute to develop actuarial risk assessment instruments for use by the state parole board when it considers inmates for release to parole supervision. Over the years, the Colorado Actuarial Risk Assessment Scale (CARAS) has been revised many times to accommodate changes in the characteristics of prisoners. The CARAS applies to both men and women. Following the latest re-validation process, the newest version of the CARAS was implemented in September 2015. Available below is the current CARAS, Version 6 scale (including items, item descriptions, item weights and scoring categories). Forthcoming will be Brief Description and a Technical Summary of the CARAS, Version 6.

CARAS Version 6: Scale 108KB   
 (Typo on Item #4. Assessed Custody Level, updated, 12/01/2015; typo on Item #2. Number of All Prior Parole and Probation Revocations, updated, 05/05/2016)

CARAS Version 6: Brief Description - FORTHCOMING!

CARAS Version 6: Technical Summary - FORTHCOMING!

Available below is the previous CARAS, Version 5 scale in effect between 2008 and 2015 (including items, item descriptions, item weights and scoring categories), a brief description of the CARAS, Ver. 5, external reviews by criminologists Christopher Baird and Gerald Gaes, and an overview of the CARAS, Version 5 in PowerPoint presentation format.

CARAS Version 5: Scale 96KB 

CARAS Version 5: Brief Description 149KB

CARAS Version 5: Reviews by criminologists 241KB

CARAS Version 5: PowerPoint Overview 3.3MB


Colorado State Board of Parole Administrative Release Guideline Instrument

Pursuant to 17-22.5-107(1), C.R.S., the Colorado State Board of Parole is mandated to work with the Division of Criminal Justice (DCJ), to develop an administrative release guideline instrument for use by the Board in evaluating applications for parole.

Below is a link to the document, Overview: The Colorado State Board of Parole Administrative Release Guideline Instrument. This document includes a description of the instrument, the items and advisory decision matrix that provides an advisory recommendation for each release application hearing conducted by board members.

Colorado State Board of Parole Administrative Release Guideline Instrument 217KB


Sex Offender Risk Assessments (SORS, SVPASI, and the SOMB Checklist)

The General Assembly also mandated that DCJ develop a risk assessment tool to assist in the determination of sexually violent predators (SVPs). An offender's score on the Sex Offender Risk Scale (SORS) is one of four criteria identified by the state Sex Offender Management Board (SOMB) to be included in the recommendation to the court regarding the SVP designation for offenders whose crime qualifies for possible SVP status, per Colorado Revised Statute 18-3-414.5(1). The SORS, then, is incorporated into a larger decision-making tool (the Colorado Sexually Violent Predator Assessment Screening Instrument).

The SORS was developed using actuarial methods and cannot be modified without additional empirical research. The non-SORS SVP designation criteria were developed by an expanded membership of the SOMB that convened for the purpose of explicitly defining the statutory criteria. The non-SORS criteria may change over time should policy makers decide to reconsider the current screening process.

Each of the seven dynamic items in the SOMB Checklist (three of which are included in the SORS) statistically correlated with problems in treatment and supervision within the first 12 months following sentencing. The instrument was developed and tested without instructions, yet reliability rates for each item were very high. It has the capacity to be used over time to document an offender's changes in each of the domains.

Accompanying are the handbooks, instruments, and additional resource material.

The Colorado Sex Offender Risk Scale (SORS) (2010)
This can also be found in Part 3B of the Sexually Violent Predator Instrument/Handbook
Instrument 24KB

Sexually Violent Predator Assessment Screening Instruments (SVPASI) (2014 revision)
Handbook 648KB
Instrument (This form has been revised to allow editable fields) - Open and "Save As" the document on your desktop 200KB

SOMB Checklist Instrument
SOMB Checklist Instrument 159KB

Colorado Division of Criminal Justice Adult Sex Offender Risk Assessment Screening Instrument
Progress Report 1.a (June 1999) 78.7KB
English, K. , Retzlaff, P. , & Kleinsasser, D. (2002) The Colorado Sex Offender Risk Scale. Journal of Child Abuse, 11, 77-96. 1.01MB