Strengths-Based Assessments for Use with Forensic Populations: A Critical Review – 2018

With the emergence of positive psychology, correctional researchers have begun to infuse assessment practices with the consideration of strengths in an effort to understand why some high-risk individuals have the ability to avoid engaging in delinquent or criminal actions. Accordingly, the current article reviews eight offender assessment tools that either (1) incorporate strengths in addition to the traditionally measured set of risks/needs, or (2) were specifically designed as strength assessment protocols to be used alongside risk/needs tools. Although evidence is mixed, there is some preliminary support for the quantitative inclusion of strengths in risk assessment with the objective of improving predictive accuracy and providing valuable case planning information. Given definitional discrepancies in the literature with respect to how strengths are measured and conceptualized, further research is required to elucidate the specific manner in which strengths interact with established risk factors across various offender populations.

Kayla A. Wanamaker, Natalie J. Jones & Shelley L. Brown
International Journal of Forensic Mental Health, 13 Apr 2018