Examining ethnic and cultural differences in the prediction of violence risk among male former offenders

Author: 
Date created: 
2019-10-16
Identifier: 
etd20563
Keywords: 
Risk assessment
Race
Cross-cultural validity
Recidivism
Prediction
Sentencing
Abstract: 

The use of violence risk assessment instruments to estimate an offender’s likelihood of recidivism has become commonplace. However, questions abound regarding the cross-cultural validity of these tools, and whether ethnic differences can jeopardize their predictive accuracy. Furthermore, many static risk factors included in these tools are highly associated with race and class, potentially overestimating the risk scores of underprivileged minorities. The current study examined ethnic/cultural differences in the predictive validity of 10 commonly used historical risk factors, and whether certain race-correlated risk factors can be considered “proxies” for race. Caucasian, African American, and Hispanic adult ex-offenders (N = 270) completed a series of risk rating scales and reported lifetime engagement in criminal activity. While no risk factors emerged as proxies for race, several risk scores were found to misclassify ethnic minorities as high risk. These findings bear implications for the ethical use of risk assessment with cultural minority groups.

Document type: 
Thesis
Rights: 
This thesis may be printed or downloaded for non-commercial research and scholarly purposes. Copyright remains with the author.
File(s): 
Senior supervisor: 
Kevin Douglas
Department: 
Arts & Social Sciences: Department of Psychology
Thesis type: 
(Thesis) M.A.
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