Keynote Presentations and Pre-Conference Workshops

Keynote Presentations and Pre-Conference Workshops


Keynote Presentations


Dr. Kevin Douglas

Simon Fraser University, Canada
Violence Risk Assessment and Management amongst Mentally Disordered Offenders
The link between mental disorder and violence remains controversial. In this talk, I will address this link, arguing that although there may be a direct link between mental disorder and violence for some offenders, there may also be less clear, indirect links, whereby mental disorder acts as early, distal risk markers, moderators, or as a mediator. However, regardless of whatever the nomothetic or population-level link between mental disorder and violence might be, it remains vital to understand the idiographic role, if any, of mental disorder in violent offenders’ lives, and specifically in the violence risk assessments conducted with them. This presentation will consider contemporary approaches to violence risk assessment and management in terms of their ability to facilitate understanding of the role that mental disorder, and other risk factors, play in violent behaviour, its assessment, and its management.

Dr. Kirk Heilbrun

Drexel University, United States of America
A Prospective Look at Psychology and Criminal Justice: Cautious Optimism!
The contributions of psychology to criminal justice are now substantial and growing. The title of this talk underscores the importance of continuing on our current path (“cautious”) but enthusiasm for the contributions that will be provided in the next two decades if we do (hence the exclamation point). Identifying RNR as both a turning point and a conceptual framework, the talk will trace the growth of affiliation between correctional and forensic psychology through the “bridge” of risk assessment. When antisocial behavior/criminal offending is specified as one primary outcome of interest, then the points of criminal justice penetration specified by the Sequential Intercept Model answer the question of “when”—and empirically-supported criminogenic interventions answer the question of “how.” This approach offers a somewhat different perspective on the work now being done with diversion and other community-based alternatives to standard prosecution such as problem-solving courts. Challenges to fully implementing this model will also be discussed.

Dr. Ruth Mann

Head of Evidence and Offence Specialism
National Offender Management Service, United Kingdom
The Challenge of Incorporating Evidence into Correctional Decision-Making
The commitment to evidence-based commissioning means allocating resources based on evidence, particularly in relation to choosing which services and interventions to invest in. However, there are some challenges to achieving this, which include: deciding when evidence is of sufficient quantity and quality; overcoming intuition, investment bias and correctional quackery; maintaining an evidence-based position that is politically uncomfortable; and developing the skills required to synthesise and translate evidence effectively. In this presentation I will illustrate these challenges and suggest some tactics for surviving them, using six areas of evidence-based policy as examples: (1) understanding the characteristics of a whole offender population; (2) improving prison culture; (3) targeting cognitive skills training; (4) addressing the needs of women in prison; (5) developing peer support services, and (6) the management of sex offenders.

Dr. Devon Polaschek

Victoria University of Wellington, New Zealand
Reintegration, rehabilitation, or both? Unpacking factors that contribute to community outcomes for high-risk violent offenders.
The relative merits of using psychological treatment approaches vs. re-entry support have been debated in recent years both by both those working with offenders and by researchers. Relatedly, the effects of these different types of intervention are poorly understood. Using data from longitudinal research with high risk violent prisoners in New Zealand, this address will compare treated and untreated prisoners on a variety of factors that may shed light on this debate, when the outcome of interest is recidivism. This project has enabled us to consider the question of whether treatment and re-entry initiatives may interact in predicting reconviction, stimulating new thinking about how treatment may work, and methods for evaluating programmes.

Dr. Stephen Wong

Swinburne University of Technology, Melbourne, Australia
Walking the controversial walk: Evidence and controversies on the efficacy in treating psychopathic offenders
Offenders in custody with psychopathic traits and a history of violence are often recidivistic, difficult to manage and tend to perform poorly in treatment. Effective intervention is crucial to reduce their violence in custody and in the community. However, treatment of psychopathy is still highly controversial. This talk briefly outlines the current state of research on treating psychopathy, presents a conceptual framework to guide treatment and describes a treatment program for psychopathic and other violent prone offenders with long term outcome evaluations.



Pre-Conference Workshops


Daryl G. Kroner, Ph.D.

University of Southern Illinois Carbondale
Transition Assessments Focusing on Criminal and Violence Risk: Theory, Ethics, and the Integration of Risk Instruments, Client Perceived Risks, Risk Contexts, Communication of Risk, and Application
The educational goal of this one-day workshop is to provide psychologists with a review of the theoretical underpinnings related to criminal and violence risk assessment in combination with a very applied coverage of issues necessary to conduct transition assessments. The focus will be on integrating actuarial judgments into the assessment of client perceived risk and the risk context. Current risk prediction instruments will be briefly reviewed paying particular attention to the strengths and weaknesses of each. Guidelines for choosing a risk instrument will be covered. Information of how to best communicate and represent risk within risk assessment will be covered. In addition strategies for managing conflicting risk estimates will be provided. The instructor will provide a method of incorporating clinical/psychometric information into risk assessments that enhances report content. The role of risk context will also be covered. A number of psychological tests used in the assessment of offenders will be reviewed giving particular attention as to how the interpretation may be applied to the overall assessment and management of the offender. The assessment procedure and recommended report content areas will be covered in detail.

Yolanda Fernandez, Ph.D.

Scoring the STABLE-2007: Monitoring Dynamic Risk Factors in Sex Offenders
Monitoring changes in dynamic risk factors using a validated measure such as the Stable-2007 are important for effective offender management. Hanson et al. (2007) found that the Stable-2000 significantly contributed to the prediction of recidivism above that provided by an actuarial measure alone. Based on further research, changes were made to several items, the tally sheet, and empirically based, nominal categories were identified for the STABLE-2007. The risk factors included in the STABLE-2007 are the presence or absence of significant social influences, capacity for relationship stability, emotional identification with children, hostility toward women, general social rejection, lack of concern for others, impulsivity, poor problem solving skills, negative emotionality, sex drive and preoccupation, sex as coping, deviant sexual preference, and co-operation with supervision. The pre-conference workshop will provide an overview of the dynamic supervision project outcome, the changes to the STABLE-2007 and will review the scoring manual and the criteria for scoring each item of the STABLE-2007. The workshop will include a combination of didactic presentation and small group work. The goal of the workshop is for participants to understand how to score and interpret the STABLE-2007.

Robert D. Morgan, Ph.D.

Evidenced based correctional practice for managing and treating offenders with mental illness
Minimal progress in the treatment of justice involved offenders with mental illness (OMI) has been made in the last 30 years (Snyder, 2007). To improve criminal justice outcomes, we must provide services that address the underlying causes of criminal behavior (e.g., Hodgins et al., 2007). Unfortunately, justice involved OMI have limited access to comprehensive treatments that target co-occurring issues of mental illness and criminal behavior (Morgan et al., 2010). In this workshop I will provide participants with a model and summarize an evidenced-based intervention for intervening with justice involved OMI in correctional or community mental health settings.