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NCJ Number: 65750 Find in a Library
Title: FROM WHOM WILL WE BE PROTECTED? COMPARATIVE APPROACHES TO THE ASSESSMENT OF DANGEROUSNESS
Journal: INTERNATIONAL JOURNAL OF LAW AND PSYCHIATRY  Volume:2  Issue:1  Dated:(1979)  Pages:55-78
Author(s): S J PFOHL
Corporate Author: Pergamon Press, Inc
United States of America
Date Published: 1979
Page Count: 24
Sponsoring Agency: Institute for Scientific Information
Philadelphia, PA 19104
Pergamon Press, Inc
Elmsford, NY 10523
Sale Source: Institute for Scientific Information
University City Science Ctr
3501 Market Street
Philadelphia, PA 19104
United States of America
Type: Report (Study/Research)
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: THIS PAPER DISCUSSES THE SOCIAL, LEGAL, AND POLITICAL IMPLICATIONS OF VARIOUS MODELS EMPLOYED IN THE ASSESSMENT OF 'DANGEROUSNESS' AND EXAMINES TWO DIFFERENT MODELS, A PSYCHIATRIC ONE AND A SOCIAL-PSYCHOLOGICAL ONE.
Abstract: FOLLOWING A REVIEW OF PREVIOUS ATTEMPTS TO DEVELOP VALID PREDICTIVE CRITERIA, TWO CONTRASTING MODELS RECENTLY USED TO ASSESS DANGEROUSNESS IN THE U.S. ARE EXAMINED. THE FIRST, A PSYCHIATRIC MODEL, WAS DEVELOPED IN THE 1974 COURT-ORDERED RE-EVALUATION OF ALL PRISONER-PATIENTS IN OHIO'S MAXIMUM SECURITY HOSPITAL FOR THE CRIMINALLY INSANE. INTERVIEWS WITH PARTICIPATING CLINICIANS REVEALED THAT, IN PRINCIPLE, CLASSIFICATIONS OF DANGEROUSNESS WERE DIVIDED INTO TWO CATEGORIES: PATIENTS WHOSE 'MENTAL DISTURBANCES' PREVENTED THEM FROM FOLLOWING SOCIETY'S RULES AND PATIENTS WHO HAD NOT INTERNALIZED SOCIETY'S RULES 'IN THE FIRST PLACE.' THE FIRST GROUP WAS LABELED 'SIMPLY DANGEROUS' AND THE SECOND 'PSYCHOPATHICALLY DANGEROUS.' THE ASSESSMENT PROCESS CONSISTED OF THREE PHASES (PRE-INTERVIEW, INTERVIEW, AND POST-INTERVIEW). ILLUSTRATED BY CASE EXAMPLES, THESE TALKS OF DIAGNOSTIC PROFESSIONALS DEMONSTRATE HOW THEY THEORIZED ABOUT THE PATIENT'S PRESENT AND FUTURE BEHAVIOR FROM PAST PERFORMANCE, REACHED SUMMARY JUDGMENTS, AND PUSHED CERTAIN LINES OF INQUIRY DURING THE PATIENT INTERVIEW IN ACCORDANCE WITH THEIR OWN EMERGENT THEORIZING. HOWEVER, THE DIAGNOSTIC TEAM REPORT SUBMITTED TO THE COURT TRANSFORMED THEIR ACTIONS AND IDEAS INTO AN 'OBJECTIVE' AND 'EXPERT' DESCRIPTION OF A PATIENT'S INDIVIDUAL PSYCHIATRIC REALITY. THE REPORT'S TECHNICAL NOMENCLATURE DISGUISED THE SUBJECTIVE INFERENCES AND SOCIAL INTERACTIONS THAT PRODUCED IT. THE SECOND MODEL, ALSO A PRODUCT OF A FEDERAL COURT ORDER, WAS USED IN THE RECLASSIFICATION OF ALL INMATES OF ALABAMA'S CORRECTIONAL SYSTEM. USE OF THIS SOCIAL-PSYCHOLOGICAL MODEL INHIBITED WIDE PROFESSIONAL DISCRETION AND PROHIBITED DIAGNOSIS OF PERSONS AS DANGEROUS AND CLASSIFIED FOR MAXIMUM SECURITY UNLESS THERE WAS COMPELLING BEHAVIORAL EVIDENCE THAT HE OR SHE ACTED VIOLENTLY. CLASSIFICATION BOARDS MADE UP OF 3 QUALIFIED PEOPLE REVIEWED RECORDS, INTERVIEWED INMATES, AND MADE RECOMMENDATIONS FOR CLASSIFICATION AND FOR PROGRAM OR TREATMENT NEEDS; RECOMMENDATIONS HAD TO BE BASED ON DOCUMENTATION OF OVERT BEHAVIOR. THE ARTICLE CONCLUDES THAT THE LIMITED BEHAVIORAL SCOPE AND VISIBILITY OF THE ALABAMA MODEL MAKE IT A MORE ADEQUATE TOOL FOR INDIVIDUAL JUSTICE. RECOMMENDATIONS FOR REFORM IN ASCERTAINING DANGEROUSNESS INCLUDE INCLUDE THE SUGGESTION THAT ALL SUCH DECISIONS SHOULD BE MADE BY A JURY HEARING. REFERENCE NOTES ARE INCLUDED. (PRG)
Index Term(s): Alabama; Behavioral science research; Correctional institutions (adult); Dangerousness; Mental disorders; Mental health; Ohio; Personality assessment; Violence
To cite this abstract, use the following link:
http://www.ncjrs.gov/App/publications/abstract.aspx?ID=65750

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