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Risk assessment

Refers to the process of conceptualizing various hazards in order to make judgements about their likelihood and the need for various preventative measures


Clinical prediction

-Based on clinical experience and judgement - most intuitive, anecdotal, and subjective
-Is used most often for decisions on death penalty sentences and parole and probation of sex offenders


Actuarial prediction

-Based on a statistical formula
-Still requires clinical judgement in scoring


Anamnestic prediction

-Based on an analysis of how a particular person has acted in the past in similar situations
-Sometimes called "structured clinical judgement"


Which type of risk assessment performs most accurately

Actuarial prediction fares better than clinical prediction, however clinical prediction is still used in court


Problems related to recidivism research

-People commit different crimes than what gets them arrested
-Cannot study those that do not get released
-Uses only police records, not everybody who commits a crime gets caught


Early prediction of dangerousness research regarding mentally ill individuals

-Mentally ill individuals are less prone to violence and have a lower arrest rate than the general population


How do base rates for behavior affect our ability to predict the behavior

-Proportion likely to relapse
-Assess how recidivism in the sample treated differs from the base rate for the population


Variables assessed in risk prediction for violence

-Static - non changeable features of the individual or historical events

-Dynamic - can change over time, psychotic symptoms or lack of insight

-Risk management - focus on the nature of situation or environment such as lack of supervision after release or lack of social support


What is the best predictor for violence recidivism

PCL-R (Psychopathy checklist revised)


What were the changes brought about as a result of the Tarasoff case

-When a patient poses a serious risk of violence, therapists are obliged to take reasonable care to protect the intended victim
-Violates bond of trust between clients and psychotherapists


Factors that make it less likely for a sex offender to recidivate

-More serious sex offense histories
-Higher psychopathy scores
-Deviant sexual interest as measured with plethysmography


Risk factors for growing up to be a batterer

-Witnessed or experienced violence in childhood
-Low self esteem
-Anger, stress, depression


Why is it important to be able to predict the likelihood of child abuse

-For case workers to determine when to leave/return/remove a child from a home


What is the extent of the damage caused by battering

-Currently the leading cause of injury in American woman


What is the usual scenario for women who kill their batterer

-Unknown factors, could be based on the man's behavior or women who are subject to harsher abuse, older, less well educated, and worse at coping


Battered women syndrome

-A woman's presumed reactions to a pattern of continual physical and psychological abuse inflicted on her by her mate
-No test can detect this


The role of a forensic psychologist in cases of domestic violence

-Conduct a clinical interview
-Examine medical records
-Talk to third parties
-Social framework testimony


How do men and women jurors in general view victims of domestic violence

-Men tend to be more protective towards women
-Women tend to be more negatively judgmental toward other women


Major symptoms of PTSD

-Avoidance, increased arousal/reactions to reminds of event
-Rape victims may be the largest group of PTSD sufferers


How are confessions viewed by juries

-Juries are highly influenced by confessions


Miranda warning

-When a suspect is placed under the impression that he or she is not free to leave, police officers are expected to read the Miranda warning

-Right to an attorney during and after the interrogation
-The right to a court appointed attorney, if the suspect cannot afford one
-If you decide to answer questions without a lawyer present, you have the right to stop answering at any time


Miranda v. Arizona

Ernesto Miranda was arrested for rape and kidnapping based on a confession given to the police after being interrogated for over two hours with no lawyer. The Supreme Court ruled that any statement stemming from a police interrogation was involuntary and inadmissible unless the police detectives provided the suspect with his or her Miranda rights.



An admission of guilt - the most damaging evidence against a defendant in a criminal trial


5th amendment

One's right against compelled self-incrimination


Supreme court rulings on confessions

1936 - confessions could no longer be physically coerced
-1959 - coercion includes psychological pressure as well as physical brutality
-1964 - Esobedo v. Illinois stated that the accused had a right to meet with his or her attorney before a confession was obtained
-1966 - Miranda v. Arizona


What activities are legal for police to engage in during an interrogation

-Open with a positive statement
-Lie/mislead suspect
-Minimize/maximize the behavior
-Build rapport


Requirements to become a trial consultant



What type of case is most likely to hire a trial consultant

-Civil trials where a large sum of money is usually at stake


What is pretrial publicity

-Attorneys may request a change of venue when the publicity is pervasive and the bias is one sided