Defendant Questionnaire

Defendant Questionnaire

Specifically designed for defendant (misdemeanor and felony) assessment.

The Defendant Questionnaire (DQ) is an adult defendant (male and female) assessment instrument or test. The DQ is appropriate for drug, alcohol, substance use and violence screening. The DQ was designed for Drug Court and General Population Court use.

The Defendant Questionnaire (DQ) consists of 137 items and takes 30 minutes to complete. It has a high 5th to low 6th grade reading level. If a defendant can read the newspaper they can read and understand the DQ. Reports are computer scored and printed on-site within 3 minutes of data (answers) input.

Seven DQ Scales

1. Truthfulness Scale: measures how truthful the defendant was while completing the DQ. It would be rather naive to assume defendants always tell the truth, particularly in court-related assessment settings. The Truthfulness Scale detects denial, problem minimization and attempts to "fake good".

2. Drug Scale: measures the severity of drug (marijuana, crack, ice, cocaine, LSD, amphetamines, barbiturates, heroin, etc.) use and abuse. This scale is independent of the Alcohol Scale.

3. Alcohol Scale: measures alcohol use and the severity of abuse. Alcohol refers to beer, wine and other liquors. This scale measures the severity of alcohol abuse. This scale is independent of the Drug Scale.

4. Substance Use Disorder: substance (alcohol and other drugs) use and abuse are classified with DSM-5 criteria. Thus the DQ assesses substance use, along with specific alcohol scale and drug scale scores. This enables assessers to match alcohol and drug use severity with matching treatment intensity.

5. Violence (Lethality) Scale: measures the defendant’s propensity for using force to injure, damage or destroy. This scale identifies defendants that are dangerous to themselves and/or others.

6. Antisocial Scale: measures antisocial attitudes and behaviors. It identifies defendants that are opposed to society and are aggressive, irresponsible and destructive. In general, antisocial defendants are opposed to existing social organizations.

7. Stress Management Scale: measures the defendant’s ability to manage stress, tension and pressure. Stress exacerbates emotional and mental health problems. Stress management strategies and techniques are taught and learned.

2 Ways to Administer the DQ

The Defendant Questionnaire (DQ) can be administered in two different ways: 1. On Risk & Needs Diskettes or USB Flash drives (, or 2. Over Risk & Needs internet testing platform ( These choices enable test users to select the system that best meets their needs.

Advantages of Screening

Screening or assessment instruments filter out individuals with problems that may require intervention or treatment. This filtering system works as follows

Defendant Questionnaire

Risk Category

Risk Range Percentile

Total Percentage

Low Risk

0 - 39%


Medium Risk

40 - 69%


Problem Risk

70 - 89%


Severe Problem

90 - 100%


Reference to the above table shows that a problem is not identified until a scale score is at or above the 70th percentile. These risk range percentiles are consistent with risk range history, are logical and confirmed by thousands of defendants and offenders that have taken the Defendant Questionnaire. This procedure is fair and avoids both extremes, i.e., over identification and under-identification of problems and risks. Without a sound screening program there is usually more risk of over or underutilization of professional services.

Budgetary control (or savings) could be large with no compromises in needy defendants receiving appropriate evaluation, screening or treatment services. Indeed, more needy defendants would receive help.

Unique DQ Features

Truthfulness Scales: identifies denial, problem minimizing, attempts to fake good and lying. It is known that most defendants attempt to minimize their problems in court settings. The DQ Truthfulness Scale has been validated with the Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory (MMPI), polygraph exams, and other tests. Much of this research is available in the DQ: Inventory of Scientific Findings. The DQ Truthfulness Scale has been demonstrated to be reliable, valid and accurate. The DQ Truthfulness Scale is similar to the MMPI's L, F and k scales. It consists of test items (questions and statements) that the overwhelming majority of defendants agree or disagree with.

Truth-Corrected Scale: has proven to be important for assessment accuracy. This proprietary truth-correction process is comparable to the MMPI k-scale correction. The DQ Truthfulness Scale has been correlated with the other six DQ scales. The Truth Correction equation then converts raw scores to Truth-corrected scores. Truth-corrected scores are more accurate than raw scores. Raw scores reflect what the defendant wants you to know. Truth-corrected scores reveal what the defendant is trying to hide.

Substance Use Disorder: classification incorporates 11 DSM-5 criteria. DSM-5 Substance Use Disorder severity is based, upon the number of the 11 symptom criteria endorsed. When “none or one” of the 11 symptom criteria are endorsed (admissions), the offender does not meet substance use disorder criteria. When “two or three” symptom criteria are endorsed, the offender’s substance use disorder severity is classified Moderate. Problem severity is identified by the endorsement of “four or five” of the 11 symptom criteria. A severe substance use disorder is identified by the presence of six or more of the 11 symptoms.

Reading Impaired Assessment: reading impaired defendants represent 20+ percent of the defendants tested. This represents a serious problem to most test providers. However, Risk & Needs has developed an alternative for dealing with reading impaired defendants and it is called Human Voice Audio.

Human Voice Audio is provided free. Defendants' passive vocabularies (what they hear) are usually greater than their active (spoken) vocabularies. Hearing test items read out loud helps reduce reading, cultural and other communication problems. Human Voice Audio requires earphones and simple instructions to orient defendants to the up-down arrow keys on the computer keyboard. This innovative and proprietary approach to resolving many defendants' reading problems can be very helpful.

Confidentiality: Risk & Needs provides a free name deletion program to its test users. Test users are encouraged to delete defendant names from diskettes and USB flash drives before they are returned to Risk & Needs. This proprietary "name deletion" procedure involves a few keystrokes and insures client confidentiality. Deleting client names does not delete demographics or test data (answers), which is used in subsequent research. This name deletion procedure insures confidentiality and compliance with HIPPA (federal regulation 45 C.F.R. 164.501) requirements. It is the test user’s responsibility to use the "delete names" program.