Risk Assessment and Juvenile Justice: An Interaction Between Risk, Race, and Gender [2018]

Research Summary
In this study, we examine the interaction between race, gender, and risk assessment score on risk for recidivism. We used the Youth Level of Service/Case Management Inventory (YLS/CMI) to measure criminogenic risk among a sample of delinquent youth. The results of multivariate Cox regression revealed a significant interaction between race, gender, and risk score when predicting recidivism. The findings indicated that the slope of the relationship between risk score and recidivism differed significantly for Black youth as compared with White youth and that this interaction was even more pronounced for the subsample of males. These findings suggest that there may be social or other policy/enforcement‐related factors that increase risk for recidivism for Black youth.

Policy Implications
We found that although there were no differences in overall risk score across White and Black youth, Black males were at increased risk for future recidivism. These findings should inform practice and policies in four primary ways. First, court practitioners, like juvenile court officers and judges, should pay special attention to responsivity factors that may minimize barriers to treatment and success. Second, court officers and service providers should implement policies that require tracking how risk assessment information is used in the decision‐making process. Third, the use of reassessments to monitor changes in dynamic criminogenic risk is necessary. Finally, future research should be aimed at investigating the extent to which policies, practices, and enforcement moderate the validity of risk assessment tools across race and gender.

Christina Campbell Jordan Papp Ashlee Barnes Eyitayo Onifade Valerie Anderson

Criminology & Public Policy, Volume 17, Issue 3, August 2018