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presented by: Sarah Vidal at the: UROP Symposium University of California, Irvine May 13, 2006 PowerPoint Presentation
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Supervision of Juvenile Offenders. presented by: Sarah Vidal at the: UROP Symposium University of California, Irvine May 13, 2006. Probation. Most commonly used community-based treatment program for delinquent youths (Siegel, Welsh & Senna, 2003).

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slide1

Supervision of Juvenile Offenders

presented by:

Sarah Vidal

at the:

UROP Symposium

University of California, Irvine

May 13, 2006

slide2

Probation....

  • Most commonly used community-based treatment program for delinquent youths (Siegel, Welsh & Senna, 2003).
  • In 2002, of the 1,615,430 juvenile cases, 618,553 (38%) of the cases were placed on probation (Stahl, Finnegan, & Kang, 2005).
  • Founded on the premise that youthful offenders may, through intervention, become prosocial and productive members of the community.
probation officers
Probation Officers...
  • Develop relatively intensive relationships with youth that combine control (in the interest of community safety) with care (in the interest of probationer rehabilitation).
  • Perform wide range of duties.
  • Have the authority to significantly affect “decision-making and service delivery” at every stage of juvenile justice processing (Bilchik, 1999).
probation officers supervising and decision making strategies
Probation Officers: Supervising and Decision-making Strategies

Professional characteristics (Reese et al., 1988, Sluder & Reddington, 1993)

Characteristics of the offender(Lurigio & Caroll, 1985, Edens et al., 2003)

Supervising & decision-making strategies

Personal characteristics: Attitudes and schemas (Reese et al., 1988, Drass & Spencer, 1987, Lurigio & Caroll, 1985))

probation officers supervising and decision making strategies5
Probation Officers: Supervising and Decision-making Strategies

Juvenile Offenders

ethnicity

psychopathic traits

child abuse

psychopathy
Grandiose

Manipulative

Superficially charming

Insincere

Untruthful

Egocentric

Impulsive

Sensation seeking

Irresponsible

Lacks remorse

Lacks empathy

Cold-hearted

Psychopathy

(Cleckley, 1941, 1976, Hare 1991, 2003)

juvenile psychopathy
Juvenile Psychopathy
  • Violence and psychopathy (Gretton et al., 2004, Frick et al., 2003, Salekin et al., 2004)
  • Criticisms:
    • traits – normative development of adolescents
    • stigma attached to labels and traits – perceived dangerousness (Murrie et al., 2005)
    • label and traits promote harsher punishment (Chauhan et al., in press, Edens et al., 2003)
ethnicity
Ethnicity
  • Influences legal-decision making
  • Disproportionate representation of minority offenders in the juvenile justice system (Weich & Angulo, 2001)
  • Impact of “superpredator” news (Gilliam and Iyengar, 1998)
child abuse
Child Abuse
  • Child abuse and delinquency (Horwitz et al., 2001, Kelley et al., 1997).
  • Mitigates punitive legal-decision making about youth (Bridges & Steen, 1998; Horwitz, Widom, McLaughlin, & White, 2001).
  • Attributions for psychopathic traits
  • Classic Theories of Psychopathy:
    • Primary Psychopath – innate characteristics
    • Secondary Psychopath – environmental factors
the present study goals
The Present Study: Goals

To determine whether and how psychopathy, ethnicity, and child abuse affect officers’

  • perceptions of a juvenile’s dangerousness, treatment amenability, and supervision difficulty
  • decision-making about placement and detention of a juvenile,
  • choice of supervision strategies that range in their emphasis on care versus control
experimental design
Experimental Design
  • Vignette study
    • Ethnicity
    • Abuse
    • Psychopathy
1 ethnicity
1. Ethnicity
  • “Jake…Caucasian” vs.
  • “DeShawn…African American”
2 abuse
X experienced a stable upbringing. He was raised by a single mother and had little contact with his father. During periods of financial hardship, his mother had to leave him at her brother’s home. Nevertheless, X describes a happy childhood with multiple caretakers who obviously loved him. His mother, uncle, and grandmother often made sacrifices to meet his needs and wishes (e.g., for toys, baseball participation). They were consistent in their discipline and interest in his schoolwork. Even over recent years, X’s family members have attempted to provide guidance and support. His records indicate no child abuse of any form.

X experienced an unstable upbringing. He was raised by a single mother and had little contact with his father. His mother often disappeared, leaving him at her brother’s home for long periods. X was emotionally and physically abused in that home. At age 8, he was hospitalized for a concussion, a broken arm, and severe cigarette burns on his arms, chest and back. He was also severely malnourished. Authorities found evidence of ongoing abuse and neglect, and X was removed from his uncle’s home. After alternately living with his mother and grandmother for several years, X began living largely on the streets last year.

2. Abuse
3 psychopathy
In interviews, X was superficial and insincere. When confronted with inconsistencies, he quickly changed his story to adapt to a new series of facts. X persistently tries to charm, con, and manipulate others to obtain what he wants. At his core, he is cold-hearted. He has no empathy for the convenience store clerk or anyone else he has harmed. He will not accept responsibility for his actions, instead blaming other people or external circumstances. In my opinion, X is a psychopath with a troubling pattern of antisocial behavior.

In interviews, X presented as an unsophisticated, but earnest young man. He was forthright and candid, providing careful and thorough answers to questions. He was visibly upset about disappointing his grandmother and causing her “heartache.” He clearly has empathy for the convenience store clerk, accepts full responsibility for his actions, and is genuinely remorseful. In my opinion, X does not meet the criteria for any formal mental disorder, but exhibits a troubling pattern of antisocial behavior.

3. Psychopathy
participants
Participants
  • 204 juvenile probation officers at Orange County and San Diego County Probation Departments
  • 68% females, 32% males
  • mean age of 36.46 (SD = 7.21)
results
Results
  • Perceptions
  • Recommendations
  • Supervision approach
perceptions of juveniles
Perceptions of Juveniles
  • Likelihood of dangerousness & Supervision difficulty
    • Psychopathic > Nonpsychopathic
    • Abused > Nonabused
  • Program adherence & treatment amenability
    • Psychopathic < nonpsychopathic

*

Factor Score Average

recommendations for juveniles
Recommendations for Juveniles
  • Transfer to adult court
  • Intensive supervision & Commitment to correctional facility
    • Psychopathic > Nonpsychopathic
  • Psychological counseling
    • Abused > Nonabused
  • Residential placement
    • Psychopathic >Nonpsychopathic
    • Abused > Nonabused

*

Partial eta sq.

*

supervision approach
Supervision Approach

*

*

Partial eta sq.

conclusions psychopathy
Conclusions: Psychopathy
  • Psychopathy label does promote stigma, which emphasize community protection over rehabilitation:
    • perceived dangerousness
    • secure residential placement
    • commitment to juvenile correctional facility
    • less likelihood of treatment adherence and amenability
  • Nevertheless, juvenile probation officers seem to use the psychopathy label wisely, as they are not likely to recommend:
    • transfer to adult court
conclusions
Conclusions
  • Abuse
    • Abused juvenile offenders are perceived to be dangerous just like psychopathic juvenile offenders.
    • However, juvenile probation officers are likely to recommend treatment such as psychological counseling and promote offender’s rehabilitation.
  • Ethnicity
    • No effects (but no manipulation check available)
  • No interactions
    • Psychopathy and abuse
    • Psychopathy and ethnicity
implications
Implications
  • Juvenile probation officers play a vital role in handling juvenile probation cases.
  • Their recommendations and decisions can significantly affect a juvenile case, much more, a juvenile’s life.
  • Youths exhibiting psychopathic traits describe a challenging population, which may need special supervision and immediate intervention strategies.
  • Developing "best practices" in juvenile probation.
future research
Future Research
  • Larger sample size
  • Explore racial and gender issues
  • Include other juvenile justice personnel (i.e. judges, prosecutors)
a million thanks to
A MILLION THANKS to...
  • Dr. Jennifer Skeem – my thesis mentor
  • Dr. Val Jenness – Honors Seminar advisor
  • Psychology and Law Research Lab – particularly to Dia, Jada, and Elizabeth
  • UROP – for funding
  • Nick & Aida – my parents
  • Gleyneth and Mark – my siblings
contact information
Contact Information

Sarah Vidal

Undergraduate Student

Department of Psychology and Social Behavior

Department of Criminology, Law, and Society

(949) 291-7516

vidals@uci.edu