Gina Vincent will be presenting Racist Algorithms or Systemic Problems? Risk Assessments and Race for a MHS 90-minute webinar on March 24, 2021.
As recent and historical events attest; racial and ethnic disparities are widely engrained into the justice system. Recently, scholars and policymakers have raised concerns that risk assessment instruments may exacerbate these disparities. While it is critical that risk instruments be scrutinized for racial bias, some concerns, though well-meaning, have gone beyond the evidence. This article explains what it means for an instrument to be ‘biased’ and why instruments should not all be painted with the same brush (some will be more susceptible to bias than others). If some groups get apprehended more, those groups will score higher on non-biased, well-validated instruments derived to maximize prediction of recidivism because of mathematics. Thus, risk instruments shine a light on long-standing systemic problems of racial disparities. This presentation will conclude with suggestions for research and for minimizing disparities by suggesting that systems use appropriately validated risk assessment instruments to avoid unnecessary incarceration while also allowing for structured discretion.Read more
Washington, D.C. — The U.S. Supreme Court ruled today that any child sentenced to mandatory life in prison without parole is eligible for review. Further, the Court said that any child serving life without parole – except for the rare cases where it has been found that the child’s crimes reflect “permanent incorrigibility” – violates the eighth amendment ban on cruel and unusual punishment.Read more
Risk/needs assessments in juvenile justice, herein referred to as risk assessments, have grown significantly in the last decade, improving the ability to accurately assess the static and dynamic risk factors (criminogenic needs) of youth who come into contact with the juvenile justice system. Risk assessment tools gauge the likelihood that an individual will reoffend and guide intervention planning by identifying and prioritizing criminogenic needs. These assessments can be used at different decision points in the juvenile justice system and the results should be used to guide these decisions. For example, a risk assessment administered at intake can help determine whether the youth is appropriate for diversion opportunities; while a risk assessment used at detention can guide pretrial detention decisions.Read more
A single instance of incarceration in a young person’s life increases the risk of future imprisonment, at a cost to taxpayers of $240.99 per day. Living in jail worsens the mental, emotional, and behavioral problems with which these children and adolescents must struggle. And mental disorders and youth incarceration already share an alarmingly strong linkRead more
The systematic use of screening and assessment tools or instruments at key decision points in the juvenile justice system can provide critical information to divert youth who do not belong in confinement to more appropriate services and placements, and assist confinement staff in understanding how to best serve those youth for whom confinement is required. These Webinar PowerPoint slides will address the purpose of screening and assessment and issues related to appropriate and responsible sharing and use of information obtained from these tools.Download the slides
Dr. Grisso was chosen as the recipient of the 2014 American Psychological Association Award for Distinguished Professional Contributions to Applied Research. The award was received during ceremonies at the 2014 Annual Convention of APA in August. The citation focused on his research on juvenile justice issues:
“Thomas Grisso has made seminal contributions to the field of forensic psychology and psychiatry through is internationally renowned program of research, which has directly impacted juvenile justice reform worldwide. His research contributions to juvenile forensic assessment and to the study of the interface between youth development and the law are unparalleled. Grisso’s work exemplifies how to diffuse and translate knowledge from psychological science and assessment into forensic assessment practices and national policies in the United States. His research has raised the global standards for juvenile legal rights and screening for mental health procedures.”