Despite the increased use of violence risk assessment instruments in the criminal justice system, they remain the topic of continued discussion and debate. This Article will discuss the state of science and practice as it relates to assessing risk for violent recidivism, highlighting current issues of concern and empirical investigation. We first provide an overview of violence risk assessment and describe the role of violence risk assessments instruments in this process. We then discuss their current status in science and practice, including the accuracy with which violence risk assessment instruments forecast violent recidivism, their impact on criminal justice decisions, and their effectiveness as a strategy to reduce violent recidivism. Finally, we turn our attention to contemporary issues in violence risk assessment, including the notion of fairness and the potential benefits, as well as concerns related to the application of technological and statistical advances in violence risk assessment—most notably, artificial intelligence. We conclude that the use of violence risk assessment instruments represents the state-of-the-art approach, but that there remain critical avenues for continued research and discussion.

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