1 FINAL NOTES - Pages 363-405
- Most of focus in risk assessment research has been on perfecting the prediction of violence;
especially true in actuarial methods where factors are selected based on their statistical relation to
a specific outcome - therefore need for understanding causes (why) risk factors lead to violence
- coping relapse model of criminal recidivism: Zamble and Quinsey explain why an individual
will commit another offence after release (REFER TO FIGURE 12.1 on page 364)
1 - first level is a type of environmental trigger (e.g. lose a job, financial difficulties, stuck in
2 - emotional and cognitive appraisal of the event; if appraisal results in experience of negative
emotions (e.g. anger, fear) then the individual will attempt to deal with those unpleasant feelings;
if individual does not possess adequate coping mechanisms, the cycle worsens and eventually
leads to criminal behaviour.
3 - perception and response to environmental trigger is based on two things: individual and
- individual influences include criminal history and enduring personality traits (e.g.
psychopathy); these factors influence how the individual perceives an event and the likelihood of
them engaging in criminal behaviour. For example, psychopathic individuals are more likely to
perceive ambiguous event as hostile and are impulsive, which increases the likelihood of
engaging in criminal behaviour.
- response mechanisms include coping ability, substance use, criminal attitudes and associates,
and social supports. These also influence how an individual perceives a situation, which
mediates their response.
Protective factors: factors that mitigate or reduce the likelihood of a negative outcome (e.g.
aggression, psychopathology); can explain why some individuals with many risk factors do not
- the protective factors vary across time and include prosocial involvement, strong social
supports, positive social orientation (school, work), strong attachments, and intelligence. A
variable identified as a potential protective factor for high-risk offenders is employment stability,
whereas strong family connection is a potential protective factor for low-risk offenders.
- Webster et al.: START (Short-Term Assessment of Risk and Treatability) - help guide decision
making for risk domains such as violence, self harm, suicide, substance abuse etc. uses two
separate scales, risk and strength. For example, coping could be seen as a strength (having
adaptive coping skill) or a risk (having maladaptive coping skills)
-despite strides and advances, many practitioners are not using these new instruments. Most
common is MMPI at 87%. Only 11% use Hare PCL-R and only 1% use VRAG or LSI-R
-why do some criminals stop?: majority (almost 70%) show significant declines in crime by
adulthood. Some reasons include insight (realize how wrong your actions were), social
avoidance (avoid situations you know you cannot handle peacefully), and orientation to the
family (commitment to children/spouse to avoid making the same mistakes, and to teach them
not to do so).
Chapter 13: Assessment and Treatment of Young, Female, and Aboriginal Offenders
-young offenders - adolescents older than 12 and younger than 18 who come in contact with the
criminal justice system; under 12 is processed through family and social services agencies under
provincial or territorial legislation
1 - young were treated as adults in 17 and 18 centuries, even when it came to prisons time and
2 - Originally, Juvenile Delinquents Act in 1908 applied to youth between 7 and 16 (only to 18
in certain jurisdictions). A separate court system was developed. Youth were called
“delinquents” rather than “offenders”, and punishments were dealt in a way which parents would
discipline a child (generally viewed as misguided children in need of support). Parents were
encouraged to participate in the process. For example, punishment may have included being sent
to a trade school to learn a skill for future employment, or just a fine or probation. Some issues
included that the youth were often striped of basic rights, such as a right to counsel, right to
appeal, not to mention the ambiguous definitions which allowed judges to impose open-ended
sentences or punish acts that are not illegal for adults
3 - Replaced in 1984 with the Young Offenders Act. Youth are held accountable for their
actions, but not to the full extent that adults are (different level of cognitive development).
Diversion: a decision not to prosecute a young offender but rather have him/her undergo an
educational or community-service program. Also an option for the courts dealing with offenders
with mental illnesses who are facing minor charges. The court can divert the offender directly
into a treatment program rather than having him/her go through the court process. This process
involves the offender pleading guilty, although it included some sentences such as absolute
discharge (receive no sentence other than guilty verdict) or custody. Custody could be open
(community residential facility or group home) or secure (youth prison). The YOA identified that
the public has the right to be protected from young offenders but young offenders have legal
rights and freedoms including those described in the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.
Children have to be at least 12 to be charged with a criminal offence. Bill c-37 allowed 16 or 17
year olds that were charged with murder, manslaughter, or aggravated assault to go to adult court
because of the severity of the crimes. First degree murder was limited to 10 years, with only 6
incarcerated; second degree murder was limited to 7 years, with only 4 incarcerated..
4 - Replaced in 2003 with the Youth Criminal Justice Act. Three main objectives are: prevent
youth crime; provide meaningful consequences and encourage responsibility of behaviour; and
to improve rehabilitation and reintegration of youth into the community. Changes included that
less violent offences should be kept out of the formal court process. The YCJA increased the
number of extrajudicial measures. Extrajudicial: term applied to measures taken to keep young
offenders out of court and out of custody (e.g. giving a warning or making a referral for
treatment). Transfers to adult court are removed, but instead youth court judges can impose adult
sentences for those as young as 14 years old (the Crown must notify the youth court that it is
seeking an adult sentence). The interests and needs of victims are recognized by giving the
victims the opportunity to participate, by informing them of court proceedings, and by giving
them the right to access youth court records.
Youth crime rates: in general, decreasing in the past few years (violent offences and property offences). Sentencing is heavily based on probation (63% of youths under supervision), and the
number of youth in sentenced (secure) custody has decreased by half since 2003 (when YCJA
- clinicians must obtain consent from the parents or guardians, and then an agreement with the
child before beginning any assessment. The emotional and behavioural difficulties can be
categorized as either internalizing problems or externalizing problems. Internalizing problems:
emotional difficulties such as anxiety, depression, and obsession experienced by a youth.
Externalizing problems: behavioural difficulties such as delinquency, fighting, bullying, lying,
or destructive behaviour experienced by a youth. Externalizing problems are considered more
difficult to treat and more likely to have long-term persistence. They are also quite stable with
symptoms often peaking in the teenage years and decreasing by the late twenties. Males are more
likely to have them (ratio is 10:1 compared to females). In order to assess, multiple informants
are needed to obtain accurate reports, including the duration, severity, and frequency of troubled
behaviours (the child may not be aware of his/her behaviour or the influence it has on others).
Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD): a disorder in a youth characterized by a
persistent pattern of inattention and hyperactivity or impulsivity. (e.g. lose items, fidget, does not
listen, talks excessively: requires number of symptoms present, occurring in two or more
settings, and persisting for at least 6 months). Some behaviours are part of normal development,
however, hyperactive-impulse and/or inattentive symptoms before the age of 7 usually points to
impairment. ADHD kids also usually diagnosed with ODD and CD. (20-50% of ADHD kids
found to have ODD or CD)
Oppositional defiant disorder (ODD): a disorder in a youth characterized by a persistent
pattern of negativistic, hostile, and defiant behaviour. (e.g. loses temper, deliberately annoys
others, vindictive). 40% of children will ODD develop CD; but if a child qualifies for a CD
diagnosis, an ODD diagnosis is not used. Usually not officially diagnosed until 18 or older.
Conduct disorder (CD): a disorder characterized by a persistent pattern of behaviour in which a
youth violates the rights of others or age-appropriate societal norms/rules. (e.g. physically cruel
to animals, initiates physical fights, lies for gain, set fires). 50% of children with a CD diagnosis
go on to be diagnosed with antisocial personality disorder in adulthood. Usually not officially
diagnosed until 18 or older.
- estimated that 5-15% of children display severe behavioural problems. In the Ontario Child
Health Study of 1987, 18% were found to experience CD, hyperactivity, emotional disturbance,
or combo of these.
- two trajectories: childhood onset (social transgressions and behavioural problems in very early
childhood) and adolescent onset (problem behaviours emerging in teen years)
- age of onset is a good predictor of future behaviours (e.g. early onset of antisocial behaviour is
related to more serious and persistent antisocial behaviour later in life) **However, most young
children with behavioural difficulties do not go on to become adult offenders (or even young
-70% of general population experiences adolescent-onset pattern (e.g. rebel in teen years, but not
enough times and/or not enough things to classify as CD)
1. Biological: examined relation of frontal lobe functioning (responsible for planning and inhibiting of behaviour) and antisocial behaviour. Those with CD have less frontal lobe
inhibition of behaviour, which means they act more impulsively; and that can lead to poor
decisions later in life.
- CD youth have slower heart rates; genetics influence chances of antisocial behaviour (between
parent and child - if parent has it, high chance child will too), especially if the father has it.
2. Cognitive: Kenneth Dodge model - thought process starts when people pay attention to and
interpret social and emotional cues in their environment. Next step is to consider alternative
responses to the cues. The final step is a response is chosen and performed. CD youth have
deficits, so they have fewer cues and misattribute hostile intent to ambiguous situations. CD
youth also have limited problem solving skills, produce fewer solutions to problems, and
solutions are generally aggressive in nature.
- two types of aggressive behaviour: reactive aggression and proactive aggression. Reactive is an
emotionally aggressive response to a perceived threat or frustration (earlier onset of problems);
proactive is aggression directed at achieving a goal or receiving positive reinforcers.
3. Social learning theory: a theory of human behaviour based on learning from watching others
in the social environment and reinforcement contingencies. (e.g. imitate parents, peers, siblings
media - will usually imitate actions associated with positive reinforcement [reward]). If parents
are aggressive though, child will likely imitate those actions because of the close relationship.
-Dr. Richard Tremblay: studies “how nice kindergarten children become juvenile delinquents
and violent offenders”. Participants are getting younger and younger (started with adolescents,
now very young children). Studied developmental paths and the factors that affect them - now
working on preventative interventions for pregnant women based on genetic factors and
changing parents’ behaviour. Will use scan to examine brain development in fetus and long term
development of behaviour. He later wishes to examine environmental interactions and how they
may influence deviant development.
Risk factor: a factor that increases the likelihood for emotional and/or behavioural problems
(individual or social factors). Multiple risk factors can lead to negative child outcomes (but not
just one factor).
- individual: genetic/biological, such as a parent’s own ADHD will affect the offspring,
especially boys; Pregnant mother’s use of drugs/alcohol place fetus in high risk for behavioural
problems; diet and expose to high levels of lead after birth are risk factors for externalizing
disorders; difficult to sooth as children and children whoa re impulsive are at risk.
- familial: parents who neglect children or children that do not attach securely to the parents are
at high risk; divorce/familial conflict are risk factors; parents who are overly strict/apply harsh
punishment; child abuse; low SES, large family size, and parental mental health problems are
reported risk factors.
- social/school: trouble reading or lower intelligence are risk factors for antisocial behaviour;
aggressive peers influence children negatively and are risk factors at school; social disapproval
and rejection (which could be caused by their aggressive behaviour) is also a risk factor.
Resilient: characteristic of a child who has multiple risk factors but who does not develop
problem behaviours or negative symptoms
Protective factors: factors that mitigate or reduce the likelihood of a negative outcome (e.g.
aggression, psychopathology) and help improve/sustain some part of an individual’s life.
Garmezy - identified number of areas in which protectiveness can be present: genetic variables,
personality dispositions, supportive family environments, and community supports.
- Rutter - four ways protective factors are effective: 1. Reduce negative outcomes by changing risk level of the child’s exposure to a risk factor
2. Change the negative chain reaction following exposure to risk
3. Help develop and maintain sel