Version 3 of the Historical-Clinical-Risk Management-20 (HCR-20V3): Relevance to Violence Risk Assessment and Management in Forensic Conditional Release Contexts



Kevin S. Douglas LL.B., Ph.D.

Behavioral Sciences & the Law

September 2014


The conditional release of insanity acquittees requires decisions both about community risk level and the contextual factors that may mitigate or aggravate risk. This article discusses the potential role of the newly revised Historical-Clinical-Risk Management-20 (HCR-20, Version 3) within the conditional release context. A brief review of the structured professional judgment (SPJ) approach to violence risk assessment and management is provided. Version 2 of the HCR-20, which has been broadly adopted and evaluated, is briefly described. New features of Version 3 of the HCR-20 with particular relevance to conditional release decision-making are reviewed, including: item indicators; ratings of the relevance of risk factors to an individual's violence; risk formulation; scenario planning; and risk management planning. Version 3 of the HCR-20 includes a number of features that should assist evaluators and decision-makers to determine risk level, as well as to anticipate and specify community conditions and contexts that may mitigate or aggravate risk. Research on the HCR-20 Version 3 using approximately 800 participants across three settings (forensic psychiatric, civil psychiatric, correctional) and eight countries is reviewed.








Human Services and Justice Coordinating Committee