Date of Conferral





Public Policy and Administration


Karen Shafer


The U. S. criminal justice system has used risk assessment tools in an effort to reduce recidivism and risk assessment tools are now commonplace. Correctional organizations, however, have struggled with officers' resistance to these tools in spite of the evidence for their utility. There is limited research that explores the impact of resistance to organizational change within the context of correctional agencies. To address that gap, this correlational study used organizational change theory to examine officers' resistance to the use of risk assessment tools based on officers' opinions of the risk assessment tool being used in North Carolina. Data were collected through an online survey of 109 North Carolina probation and parole officers. Multiple linear regression analysis was used to examine the statistical relationship between officer use of risk assessment tools and the dependent variables which included officers' opinions of the risk assessment tool, knowledge of risk assessments, training for use of risk assessments, risk assessments in the sentencing process, and officers' length of time employed. Findings indicated that opinions of the risk assessment tool and training to use the tool statistically impact officers' use of the tool in daily supervision of offenders. Organizational change theory predicted these findings as officers' resistance to policy change was manifested in their opinions of that policy. Implications for positive social change include recommendations for corrections agencies to refine training regarding risk assessments in efforts to minimize officer resistance of properly applying risk assessment tools in daily job duties with the intended outcome of reducing recidivism, and therefore preventing future harms to the community.