Gender-Responsive Risk Assessment in Corrections

Gender-Responsive Risk Assessment in Corrections

Gender-Responsive Risk Assessment in Corrections

Gender-Responsive Risk Assessment in Corrections

Synopsis

Risk assessment in corrections allows practitioners to not only predict the likelihood of success for an offender and to identify areas to target for reduced risk. Such targets are argued to be different for men and women (Bloom, Owen & Covington, 2003). Bell examines the predictive validity of the Women's Risk/Needs Assessment on a sample of women and a sample of men. Results indicate that there are differences in the prevalence, co-occurrence, and predictive validity of risk/needs and strengths for men and women. Results support prior studies regarding gender-neutral risk assessment for male offenders. Additionally, her research demonstrates the importance of gender-responsive issues in the risk prediction of women in community corrections.

Excerpt

Risk assessment is an integral part of community corrections. In many correctional systems a risk assessment is performed to examine the likelihood of success if an offender is placed in the community. Two main reasons exist for assessing risk prior to a correctional placement determination. First and foremost is public safety; at many decision points concern for public safety underscores the necessity of knowing which offenders are at high risk of reoffending. Second, criminogenic risk factors identified in the risk assessment become targets for change that give the community correctional system the opportunity to reduce the offenders’ risk of recidivism. Although the present study is concerned with assessment of risk, it focuses primarily on the second reason for risk assessment. This research focuses on the identification of criminogenic needs (dynamic risk factors) for both men and women. The focus, in this regard, is whether these dynamic risk factors are the same for men and women alike.

A number of scholars have argued that criminogenic needs are not the same for men and women. For example, as part of an effort by the National Institute of Corrections (NIC), Bloom et al. (2003) researched the existing knowledge regarding best practices with women offenders. This research produced a guide for professionals to follow in their work with women involved in the criminal justice system. Included in those suggestions are the importance of acknowledging that differences exist between men and women with respect to dynamic risk factors. The authors argue that behavioral differences occur as a result of gender socialization, gender roles, and gender inequality present in American . . .

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