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Volume 4 Issue 2

Using the MMPI-A to Predict Recidivism in Adjudicated Minors

Peterson, M., & Robbins, B.

This study explored the ability of selected subscales of the Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory-Adolescent; an objective measure of personality used in the psychological evaluation of juvenile delinquents (Archer & Krishnamurthy, 2002), to predict recidivism. Previous literature suggested the subscales refl ecting "excitatory" behavior have been useful in discriminating delinquent from nondelinquent adolescents. In this study, three scales that refl ect excitatory behavior, including one Clinical Scale (4- Psychopathic Deviate) and two of the Content Scales (Adolescent-Conduct Problems and Adolescent-Cynicism), were used to predict recidivism for adjudicated minors. For the purposes of this study, recidivism was defi ned by legal charges, excluding detainment. Participants included 107 males, ages 12-17 (x= 14.5 sd= 1.25), with the following ethnic representation, 32 Caucasian (30%), 34 Native American (32%), and 41 Hispanic American (38%). Juveniles were assessed and then followed for one-year post-assessment, and recidivism was measured according to the presence or absence of subsequent legal charges, not including detainment. Results showed that both A-Conduct Problems and Scale 4 successfully predicted recidivism with the strongest relationship between A-Con and re-offense. In the regression analysis, A-Con explained 29.8% of the variance, and Scale 4 increased the predictive utility by 2.7% accounting for 32% of the variance in recidivism. Results suggest that the content of the A-Con scale may capture some of the attitudes and behaviors that characterize these high-risk adolescents.

Principle-based Correctional Counseling: Teaching Health versus Treating Illness

Kelley, T. M.

Principle-based correctional counseling (PBCC) is based on the assumption that all offenders have innate mental health. Thus, the primary goal of PBCC is to teach offenders how to rekindle and experience their natural capacity for psychological well-being. PBCC accomplishes this by teaching offenders: (a) how the principles of Mind, Thought, and Consciousness create their experience from the inside-out, and (b) how to use their thinking agency in accord with its natural design. According to PBCC, as offenders understand these principles and realize how to use thought in their best interest, their overall psychological functioning improves. This paper describes the principles and assumptions behind PBCC and compares this paradigm to other contemporary correctional counseling models on several key dimensions. Finally, it summarizes research fi ndings supporting the effectiveness of PBCC-based interventions with adolescent and adult offenders.

Capital Punishment in Texas and California: A Comparison

Price, K. J., & Byrd, G. R.

This study compares two versions of the use of capital punishment. Texas rigorously implements the death penalty. California reluctantly executes capital punishment. The study examines similarities and differences in the two approaches. Execution rates, death penalties imposed by juries, implementation of death, the cost of capital punishment, murder rates, and the reciprocal effects of execution rates and murder rates were viewed in light of posed research questions. The study revealed that Texas was signifi cantly higher in the rate of executions, jury imposed death sentences, and the implementation of capital punishment than California. The cost of capital punishment was also substantially higher in Texas than in California. Despite the differences in the practice of capital punishment, the murder rates of Texas and California were remarkably similar. There was a strong correspondence in year-to-year changes and no signifi cant difference in the rates of the two states. An examination of execution rates and murder rates over time via a cross-lagged panel analysis, unfortunately, produced no clear fi ndings. However, this study did illustrate the value of the Heilbrun (2006) challenge to examine states that rigorously versus reluctantly implement their death-penalty sentences.

From Obsession to Confession: A False Confession Paradigm in the Murder of JonBenet Ramsey

Moffa, M. S., & Platania, J.

In this study, we used a fact pattern similar to the John Mark Karr scenario to examine perceptions of DNA and confession evidence. Specifi cally, we hypothesized that DNA evidence, confessor level of psychopathology, and presence or absence of Miranda protections would affect participants' perceptions of guilt and attitudes towards the interrogation process. One hundred nine undergraduates read a two-page summary based on John Mark Karr's confession. Summaries varied based on psychopathology of confessor, the presence or absence of DNA evidence, and the provision of Miranda warnings prior to confession. The DNA manipulation explained participants' attitudes towards specifi c aspects of the interrogation process. The importance of perceptions of forensic type evidence, specifi cally DNA, in our legal system is discussed.

Police Stress: Effects of Criticism Management Training on Health

Garner, R.

A survey of law enforcement officers found that stress associated with interpersonal conflict, especially when dealing with criticism from others (both within and outside the law enforcement agency) was rated as one of the highest occupational stressors. Supervisors reported added stress when they were required to evaluate and criticize subordinates. The damaging effects of poor stress management on health has been well documented. The present study examines the impact of a 16-hour stress-inoculation training program, along with two subsequent 1-hour booster sessions, administered to a sample of police officers assigned to field duty. Results suggest that those who participated in the criticism management program reported increased effi cacy in dealing with interpersonal stress and reduced health-related consequences.