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Title: Risk assessment in parole decisions : a study of life sentence prisoners in England and Wales
Author: Forde, Robert Anthony
ISNI:       0000 0004 5365 987X
Awarding Body: University of Birmingham
Current Institution: University of Birmingham
Date of Award: 2014
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This thesis examines the relationships between risk assessment and parole decisions. Chapter 1 introduces the problem. Chapter 2 systematically reviews 29 papers involving 20,568 participants, concluding that practices vary widely, but subjective rather than evidence-based risk assessment predominates. Chapter 3 reports a study of how parole decisions related to three widely-used risk assessment instruments (the PCL-R, the HCR-20, and the SVR-20), and recommendations of professionals (psychologists and probation officers) on 100 life sentence prisoners in England and Wales, 84 of whom were eligible for parole. The study found that parole decisions were related to the recommendations of professionals, especially that of the offender manager (external probation officer). Professional recommendations themselves were related to the more subjective subscales of the risk assessment instruments. Chapter 4 considers an instrument used in the research, the PCL-R psychopathy assessment, concluding that the PCL-R, although it may have been successful in academic research, lacks reliability when used as a risk assessment instrument “in the field”. Chapter 5 discusses the findings, concluding that the present system of risk assessment for parole in England and Wales is not evidence-based and that as a result many low-risk prisoners are likely to undergo prolonged detention unnecessarily.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (D.Foren.Psy.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: BF Psychology ; HV Social pathology. Social and public welfare