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Prioritizing Responsivity in the RNR Model

Shannon Magnuson, Michael Menefee

Probation agencies across the country use the risk-need-responsivity framework to inform supervision conditions and practices. Yet, in practice, agencies focus on “risk” and “needs” and rarely consider “responsivity.” In fact, while it is a central tenet of the framework, responsivity is is often treated as the framework’s third-wheel. Responsivity refers to uniquely responding to individuals as people who have complex needs and varied experiences and identities. 

This resource defines and discusses information capacity and experience sensitivity as a responsivity factor, and applies this factor to the field of probation. Responding to an individual’s information capacity and experience sensitivity can help probation officers more appropriately structure the frequency, format, and contents of probation contacts to help individuals successfully complete probation.