Offender Classification

VI. Conclusion

Classification is the foundation of effective correctional supervision and treatment. Numerous tools are available for classification, such that it is possible for personnel of varying skill backgrounds to identify the risk and treatment needs of offenders in a wide variety of correctional settings. The most common form of assessment is classification for risk, possibly due to the stronger emphasis on crime control relative to rehabilitation aims of the criminal justice process. Risk assessment is also the most controversial form of classification, inasmuch as its errors are more visible and consequential to the public (in the case of false negatives) and the offender (in the case of false positives).

Many advances have taken place with respect to measuring offender risk and needs. Enhanced statistical methods and discoveries regarding the correlates of criminal offending have allowed researchers to make predictions that are great improvements over clinical judgments. However, new arenas for prediction await these advances. For example, classification takes place after sentencing, not before, though clearly better sentencing decisions could be made in the presence of classification results. The determination of which sex offenders should be eligible for community notification takes place without the benefit of state-of-the-art prediction tools. Similarly, decision making regarding which sex offenders should be subjected to civil commitment resembles clinical judgments from an earlier era. There is a need for application of classification research beyond traditional contexts.

Browse criminal justice research papers or view criminal justice research topics.

Bibliography:

  1. American Psychiatric Association. (2000). Diagnostic and statistical manual of mental disorders IV (Text rev.).Washington, DC: Author.
  2. Andrews, D. A., & Bonta, J. L. (2001). Level of Service Inventory—Revised (LSI–R): User’s manual. Toronto, Canada: Multi-Health Systems.
  3. Andrews, D. A., Bonta, J., & Hoge, R. D. (1990). Classification for effective rehabilitation: Rediscovering psychology. Criminal Justice and Behavior, 17, 19–52.
  4. Andrews, D. A., Bonta, J., & Wormith, J. S. (2006). The recent past and near future of risk and/or need assessment. Crime & Delinquency, 52, 7–27.
  5. Andrews, D. A., Zinger, I., Hoge, R. D., Bonta, J., Gendreau, P., & Cullen, F. T. (1990). Does correctional treatment work? A clinically relevant and psychologically informed metaanalysis. Criminology, 28, 369–404.
  6. Austin, J. (1998). Objective jail classification systems: A guide for jail administrators. Washington, DC: National Institute of Corrections.
  7. Austin, J. (2003). Findings in prisoner classification and risk assessment. Washington, DC: Federal Bureau of Prisons.
  8. Austin, J., & McGinnis, K. (2004). Classification of high-risk and special management prisoners: A national assessment of current practices. Washington, DC: National Institute of Corrections.
  9. Baird, C. (1979). The Wisconsin Case Classification/Staff Development Project: A two-year follow-up. Madison, WI: Wisconsin Bureau of Community Corrections.
  10. Barbaree, H. E., Seto, M. C., Langton, C. M., & Peacock, E. J. (2001). Evaluating the predictive accuracy of six risk assessment instruments for adult sex offenders. Criminal Justice and Behavior, 28, 490–521.
  11. Bloom, B., Owen, B., & Covington, S. (2003). Gender-responsive strategies: Research, practice, and guiding principles for women offenders. Washington, DC: National Institute of Corrections.
  12. Brennan, T., & Austin, J. (1997). Women in jail: Classification issues. Washington, DC: National Institute of Corrections.
  13. Burgess, E. W. (1928). Factors determining success or failure on parole. In A. A. Bruce, A. J. Harno, J. Landesco, J., & E.W. Burgess (Eds.), Parole and the indeterminate sentence: A report to the chairman of the Parole Board of Illinois on “The workings of the indeterminate-sentence law and the parole system in Illinois” (pp. 205–249). Springfield, IL: Committee on the Study of the Workings of the Indeterminate- Sentence Law and of Parole.
  14. Butcher, J. N., Graham, J. R., Ben-Porath, Y. S., Tellegen, A., Dahlstrom, W. G., & Kaemmer, B. (2001). MMPI-2 (Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory 2): Manual for administration and scoring (Rev. ed.). Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press.
  15. Clear, T. R., & Gallagher, K.W. (1985). Probation and parole supervision: A review of current practices. Crime & Delinquency, 31, 423–443.
  16. Clements, C. B. (1982). The relation of offender classification to the problems of prison overcrowding. Crime & Delinquency, 28, 72–81.
  17. Dowdy, E. R., Lacy,M. G., & Unnithan, N. P. (2002). Correctional prediction and the Level of Supervision Inventory. Journal of Criminal Justice, 30, 29–39.
  18. Flores,A.W., Lowencamp, C. T., Holsinger,A. M., & Latessa, E. J. (2006). Predicting outcome with the Level of Service Inventory—Revised: The importance of implementation integrity. Journal of Criminal Justice, 34, 523–529.
  19. Gendreau, P., Little, T., & Goggin, C. (1996). A meta-analysis of the predictors of adult offender recidivism: What works! Criminology, 34, 575–607.
  20. Grove, W. M., & Meehl, P. E. (1996). Comparative efficiency of informal (subjective, impressionistic) and formal (mechanical, algorithmic) prediction procedures: The clinical-statistical controversy. Psychology, Public Policy, and Law, 2, 293–323.
  21. Hardyman, P. L., & Van Voorhis, P. (2004). Developing genderspecific classification strategies for women offenders. Washington, DC: National Institute of Corrections.
  22. Hare, R. D. (2003). Hare Psychopathy Checklist-Revised (PCL-R) (2nd ed.). Toronto, Canada: Multi-Health Systems.
  23. Harris, G. T., & Rice, M. E. (2007). Characterizing the value of actuarial violence risk assessments. Criminal Justice and Behavior, 34, 1638–1658.
  24. Hilton, N. Z., Harris, G. T., Rawson, K., & Beach, C. A. (2005). Communicating violence risk information to forensic decision makers. Criminal Justice and Behavior, 32, 97–116.
  25. Hoffman, P. B. (1994). Twenty years of operational use of a risk prediction instrument: The United States Parole Commission’s Salient Factor Score. Journal of Criminal Justice, 22, 477–494.
  26. Hoffman, P. B., & Beck, J. L. (1974). Parole decision-making: A Salient Factor Score. Journal of Criminal Justice, 2, 195–206.
  27. Hoge, R. D. (2002). Standardized instruments for assessing risk and need in youthful offenders. Criminal Justice and Behavior, 29, 380–396.
  28. Jesness, Carl F. (2003). Jesness Inventory-Revised: Technical manual. Toronto, Canada: Multi-Health Systems.
  29. Kubrin, C. E., & Stewart, E. A. (2006). Predicting who reoffends: The neglected role of neighborhood context in recidivism studies. Criminology, 44, 165–197.
  30. Lerner, K., Arling, G., & Baird, S. C. (1986). Client management classification strategies for case supervision. Crime & Delinquency 32, 254–271.
  31. Levinson, R. B. (1988). Developments in the classification process: Quay’s AIMS approach. Criminal Justice and Behavior, 15, 24–38.
  32. Listwan, S. J.,VanVoorhis, P., & Ritchey, P. N. (2007). Personality, criminal behavior, and risk assessment: Implications for theory and practice. Criminal Justice and Behavior, 34, 60–75.
  33. Lowencamp, C. T., & Latessa, E. J. (2005). Increasing the effectiveness of correctional programming through the risk principle: Identifying offenders for residential placement. Criminology & Public Policy, 4, 263–290.
  34. Megargee, E. I., Carbonell, J. L., Bohn, M. J., Jr., & Sliger, G. L. (2001). Classifying criminal offenders with the MMPI-2: The Megargee system. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press.
  35. Monahan, J. (1981). The clinical prediction of violent behavior. Rockville, MD: National Institute of Mental Health.
  36. Prentky, R., & Righthand, S. (2003). Juvenile Sex Offender Assessment Protocol-II (J-SOAP-II) manual. Washington, DC: Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention.
  37. Quinsey,V. L., Harris, G. T., Rice,M. E., & Cormier, C.A. (2006). Violent offenders: Appraising and managing risk (2nd ed.). Washington, DC: American Psychological Association.
  38. Severson, M., & Duclos, C.W. (2005). American Indian suicides in jail: Can risk screening be culturally sensitive? Washington, DC: National Institute of Justice.
  39. Umbreit, M. S., & Coates, R. B. (2000). Multicultural implications of restorative justice: Potential pitfalls and dangers. Washington, DC: Office for Victims of Crime.
  40. Walters, G. D. (2002). The Psychological Inventory of Criminal Thinking Styles (PICTS): A review and meta-analysis. Assessment, 9, 283–296.
  41. Whiteacre, K. W. (2006). Testing the Level of Service Inventory- Revised (LSI-R) for racial/ethnic bias. Criminal Justice Policy Review, 17, 330–342.
  42. Wright, E. M., Salisbury, E. J., & Van Voorhis, P. (2007). Predicting the prison misconducts of women offenders: The importance of gender-responsive needs. Journal of Contemporary Criminal Justice, 23, 310–340.
  43. Wright, K. N., Clear, T. R., & Dickson, P. (1984). Universal applicability of probation risk assessment instruments: A critique. Criminology, 22, 113–134.