Recidivism Risk Measurement and Social Psychological Relationships
AuthorLee, Brian M.
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In order to address the problem of recidivism, a growing number of risk/need assessment tools have emerged. These tools are largely created from the risk-need-responsivity principles, or the principles of effective classification. Although these actuarial tools are more valid in predicting recidivism outcomes than previous methods, such as unstructured clinical assessments, they are still only slightly better-than-chance at determining who is likely to recidivate. Additionally, they often are not as statistically valid when applied to different populations from where they originated, and the scales need reconstructing. One possible explanation for this issue is the utilitarian approach of the tools and their creation. Although these tools are examining known risk factors in recidivism from previous research, they lack a good theoretical explanation for why these factors are related to recidivism. This dissertation explores potential social psychological theoretical connections between the predictors and outcomes that may have been overlooked. The two studies discussed herein examine several research questions and explores the role self-control, mindfulness, trait aggression, and emotion regulation play in recidivism risk assessments. First, social psychological measures of those concepts are explored for relationships with risk/need assessment tools, and for relationships with risk factors within the tools. Second, this research project examines differences between those who are first-time offenders and repeat offenders on these measures. Third, potential changes in risk/need assessment tools’ scores and changes in social psychological measures’ scores are examined for inmates who participated in evidence-based programming and interventions.