Small subsets of first-time criminal offenders go on to commit additional crimes. For some, the number of crimes committed can be quite great. It is believed to be the case that a small group of “recidivists” commits a majority of crime. A number of methods to detect who is likely to recidivate have been suggested, but there is no present consensus as to a best method. As recidivism is a low base-rate event, it is difficult to predict. A brief overview of these methods is provided. Then, a novel method for detecting recidivism is outlined and examined. In this method one determines cut-offs based on Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory-A K-Scale (MMPIA) and the Trauma Symptom Checklist for Children post Traumatic Stress Scale (TSCC) are used to predict recidivism. It is suggested that the MMPIA K-Scale measures not only defensiveness but also ego-strength and openness to treatment. It is further suggested that those with poor ego-strength or who are overly defended, with the presence of unresolved trauma (as measured by the TSCC PTS scale), are more likely to recidivate. Results indicate that this method does not map well to a linear model, but that it is an effective method to detect recidivism in this sample. A comparison to other similar methods is provided and the ramifications and limitations of this study are discussed.
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