Gender and Risk Assessment in Juvenile Offenders: A Meta-Analysis [2017]

Although young males are still the primary perpetrators of juvenile crime, the percentage of girls experiencing criminal justice system contact has risen. To identify effective interventions and address public concerns regarding juvenile crime, scholars and practitioners have assessed recidivism risk using tools such as the Youth Level of Service (YLS) Inventory. While the appropriateness of using gender-neutral tools to assess female criminality in adult correctional populations has been debated, mixed findings regarding juvenile risk-assessment tools have not provided definitive answers. To address these concerns, separate meta-analyses were conducted for male and female juvenile offenders. Specifically, mean effect sizes were compared to determine whether predictive validity varies by sex. Results largely indicate that the YLS/Case Management Inventory (CMI) works equally well for a variety of subgroups, including recidivism type, recidivism outcome, geographical location, and sample characteristics. The implications of these findings for theory, research, and correctional policy are discussed.

Natasha Pusch, Kristy Holtfreter

Criminal Justice and Behavior, Vol 45, Issue 1, 2018