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NCJ Number: 222277 Find in a Library
Title: Seeking Enlightenment on the Dark Side of Psychology
Journal: Trauma, Violence, & Abuse  Volume:9  Issue:2  Dated:April 2008  Pages:72-83
Author(s): Vernon L. Quinsey
Date Published: April 2008
Page Count: 12
Type: Report (Study/Research)
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: The author reviews the research on institutional violence, the prediction of violent recidivism, and the assessment and treatment of sex offenders in which he has been directly involved.
Abstract: Research on institutional violence led to a procedure that began with clinicians identifying and rating the severity of problems that each patient exhibited, a factor analysis of these problems, and a cluster analysis that led to the assignment of patients to groups based on their problem pattern. Individual profiles were related to assignment to institutional programs. Programs for some kinds of problems were ward-based (e.g., token economies), and others were delivered in programs located in nonliving areas. Research on risk appraisal and treatment effectiveness led to a consideration of the nature of individual differences in antisocial propensities. Among the most important individual differences related to both risk of reoffending and resistance to treatment is psychopathy. Currently, theories in psychology, even if well-developed and consistent with more advanced theories in relevant sciences, seldom produce numerical predictions regarding the behavior of individual subjects. Because outcomes are imperfectly measured in recidivism research, the ceiling for accuracy is far less than perfection, with the consequence that it is unlikely that new methods of prediction of long-term outcome, regardless of how they are developed, will result in greatly improved accuracy. Still, program evaluation research can test causal theories of criminal recidivism. Regarding research on sex offenders, most of the initial assumptions of researchers and clinicians were not confirmed by subsequent work. Sexual age and gender preferences are not apparently learned and malleable. Although responses to deviant categories, as measured with phallometric technology, can be reduced with standard conditioning techniques, these alterations apparently do not involve the preference themselves but only their measurement. 71 references
Main Term(s): Criminology
Index Term(s): Canada; Foreign criminal justice research; Inmate classification; Recidivism prediction; Sex offender treatment; Treatment effectiveness; Violence causes; Violence prediction; Violent inmates
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