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What Is RANT and How Do Drug Courts in Virginia Use It?

What Is RANT And How Do Drug Courts In Virginia Use It?

The Risk and Needs Triage (RANT) tool is an evidence-based framework developed by the Division of Law and Ethics Research at the Treatment Research Institute. It’s designed to help match drug offenders to the most appropriate community correctional programs based on their individual risk and needs profiles. 

How Does the RANT Tool Work?

The RANT tool uses a 19-point analysis to classify offenders into one of four risk/need quadrants: high-risk/high-need, low-risk/high-need, high-risk/low-need, and low-risk/low-need. These classifications help Virginia prosecutors and drug courts make disciplinary decisions and determine the best course of action for each offender:

  • High-risk/high-need individuals often require intensive supervision and clinical services.
  • Low-risk/high-need individuals are often best suited for a lower level of supervision but still require more intensive clinical services.
  • High-risk/low-need individuals typically require closer supervision but less intensive clinical help.
  • Low-risk/low-need individuals can often get by with less intensive supervision and modest, prevention-based clinical intervention.

The factors measured by RANT include the age of onset of criminal activity or substance use, deviant peer affiliations, prior failures in drug or alcohol rehab and diversion programs, serious misdemeanors or felonies, unstable living arrangements, unemployment status, physical addictions to alcohol or drugs, and chronic mental or medical health conditions. 

The Benefits of RANT in Correctional Programs

RANT is designed to be quickly administered (in fewer than 15 minutes) by non-clinically trained personnel like probation officers and case managers. It provides immediate scoring and recommendations, assisting real-time placement and dispositions.

Importantly, RANT is empirically derived. That means its process is backed by reliable and valid scientific evidence that suggests it has value in predicting outcomes for corrections-based programs and drug abuse treatments. The tool does not rely solely on clinical judgment or offender self-reporting and doesn’t implicate protected classes like minorities.

Research has shown that the RANT tool can effectively predict re-arrest and re-conviction rates. A field trial showed that high-risk offenders, as identified by RANT, were significantly more likely to re-offend than low-risk individuals. The study also found that offenders who were categorized based on their risk and need profiles achieved better outcomes in their correctional programs.

Overall, the tool has demonstrated good internal consistency, predictive validity, and clinical utility without evidence of gender or racial bias. 

RANT, the Courts, and Drug Treatment Programs in Virginia

In Virginia, RANT plays a significant role in determining an individual’s eligibility for various drug treatment programs. Based on a person’s risk and needs assessment, the RANT tool helps drug courts make placement decisions regarding clinical services, prevention-based interventions, and more.

For example, a high-risk, high-need individual might be directed toward more intensive programs that offer robust clinical services and close supervision. In contrast, a less intensive, prevention-oriented program might best serve a low-risk, low-need offender. 

The Role of the Criminal Defense Lawyer in Drug Crime Cases

If you are facing criminal charges for drug crimes in Virginia, the RANT tool could have significant implications for your case. A skilled criminal defense lawyer can provide crucial guidance through each stage of the RANT process, working to protect your rights, verify that your RANT assessment accurately represents your situation, and possibly even argue for a more favorable RANT classification if necessary.

Your defense attorney can also influence the outcome of your case by presenting compelling evidence or arguments to the judge or other decision-makers as they interpret your RANT results. The role of the defense lawyer often extends beyond the courtroom, too. They can also provide advice and support as you work through the drug treatment programs recommended based on your RANT classification.

Remember, a good defense lawyer is an essential ally. Contact Bain Sheldon today at 804-282-8625 for a free consultation to learn more about your rights and discuss your case with a knowledgeable Virginia attorney.

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