(a) General rule.--The commission shall adopt a sentence risk assessment instrument for the sentencing court to use to help determine the appropriate sentence within the limits established by law for defendants who plead guilty or nolo contendere to or who were found guilty of felonies and misdemeanors. The risk assessment instrument may be used as an aide in evaluating the relative risk that an offender will reoffend and be a threat to public safety.
(b) Sentencing guidelines.--The risk assessment instrument may be incorporated into the sentencing guidelines under section 2154 (relating to adoption of guidelines for sentencing).
(c) Presentence investigation report.--Subject to the provisions of the Pennsylvania Rules of Criminal Procedure, the sentencing court may use the risk assessment instrument to determine whether a more thorough assessment is necessary and to order a presentence investigation report.
(d) Alternative sentencing.--Subject to the eligibility requirements of each program, the risk assessment instrument may be an aide to help determine appropriate candidates for alternative sentencing, including the recidivism risk reduction incentive, State and county intermediate punishment programs and State motivational boot camps.
(e) Definition.--As used in this section, the term “risk assessment instrument” means an empirically based worksheet which uses factors that are relevant in predicting recidivism.
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