U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government, Department of Justice.

Gender and Violence Risk Assessment in Prisons

NCJ Number
Psychological Services Volume: 4 Issue: 15 Dated: 2018 Pages: 543-552
Date Published
10 pages
This study examined the association between violence perpetrated during incarceration by male and female inmates and their scores on the Historical, Clinical, Risk Management-20: Version 2, the Psychopathy Checklist-Revised, and the Violence Risk Assessment Guide.

Using a sample of 288 men and 183 women selected from prisons in two states, the study used receiver operating characteristics analyses to assess the potential of these three measures to predict threatened, physical, or sexual prison violence measured in two ways: inmate self-report and formal institutional infractions. Findings show that all three instruments demonstrated moderate to good levels of predictive accuracy for both the male and female inmates, a finding that suggests actuarial, structured professional judgment and personality measures perform in a broadly comparable manner in assessing institutional violence for both men and women. The findings varied, however, based on how violence was measured. Women self-reported significantly higher levels of prison violence than was suggested by their institutional infractions, and the associative power of the instruments diminished substantially, particularly among the men, when institutional infractions alone were used in the analyses. These findings suggest that the three risk measures are likely to be gender neutral in their association with prison violence, albeit with gender-related differences in the frequency of violent behavior and the relevance of particular subscales. (publisher abstract modified)

Date Published: January 1, 2018