Predicting Violence Potential

Mar 6, 2017 | 0 comments

Mar 6, 2017 | Miscellaneous | 0 comments

Predicting Violence Potential

Summary of the article of “Historical and Personality Correlates to the Violence Patterns of Juveniles Tried as Adults” by Kruth, Frick & Clements

Studies in the past have indicated significant evidence that a small subset of juveniles that are violent, commits most of the violent crimes. Furthermore, they continue into their adulthood with their violent behaviors. The ability of the justice system of the juveniles to identify this small population of the chronically juvenile offenders who are violent early would facilitate the intervention and management approaches that are appropriate (Brizer & Crowner, 2009). The study was conducted on a sample of youths who are incarcerated where high rate of violence was prevalent, with much focus on their associations with their community violence history before their incarceration. The study examined the association of over- controlled hostility and psychopathy with violence control measures for historical indices of risk of violence. The participants in the study were 100 male inmates who are predominantly African- American who at the time of their conviction were juveniles (14 to 21 years), and were incarcerated at that time by the department of corrections of the state (Kruth, Frick & Clements, 2005). From the results of the study, it suggests that the psychopathy constructs is linked with juvenile offenders violent behaviors. Additionally, the results suggests that the existing association between  violence and psychopathy traits could not be explained solely by historical risk factors in the history of the offender, and that the psychopathic traits may be helpful in assessment of both violence  frequency and severity, and for risk assessment for specific violence patterns.

Assessment of potential of violence/data and results/ key takes away

Assessment of potential of violence was done under two categories, that is; personality measures and measures of characteristics of the juvenile background. Under personality measures, the instruments used as indicated by Kruth, Frick & Clement (2005) include;

  1. Overcontrolled Hostility Scale (OH)
  2. Antisocial Process Screening Device (APSD)

Under measures of characteristics of the juvenile background, the instruments used were;

  1. Rhode Island Juvenile Risk Assessment (Ri-Risk)
  2. Violence Risk Appraisal Guide-Easily Scored Version (VRAG-ESV)
  3. Violence Index
  4. Situational Violence Patterns (SVP)

From the results, the correlation among the predictor measures (OH, APSD, RI-Risk and VRAG-ESV) were positively correlated (r=0.54, p<0.001). Similarly, the two historical measures of risks (RI-Risk and VRAG-ESV) were also positively correlated moderately (r=0.53, p<0.001) (Kruth, Frick & Clement, 2005).

The study examined whether certain previously personality traits associated to violence in adults were linked with situational, variety and frequency patterns of past committed violence by juveniles convicted in criminal courts. The study sample, historical variables did not associate with the violence patterns. Moreover, the indicators of historical risks distinguished across a wide range of offenders. The over controlled hostility measure was also associated minimally with the violence patterns in the past.

On the other hand, psychopathic traits which were of high levels was linked to more varied and frequent  violent acts committed by the juvenile transferred offenders. Moreover, the psychopathic traits were also associated with specific violence patterns. This means that their violence history was minimally tied to specific victims, locations or precipitating events that are identifiable (Kruth, Frick & Clement, 2005).

Application of the results by forensic psychology professionals in a correctional setting

Construct of psycopathy is linked with juvenile offenders’ violent behaviors. According to Simon & Tardiff (2008), the professional can apply the findings in correctional setting in a number of ways:

  1. Explanation of Violence and psychopathic traits is not the only due to the history of the offender
  2. The psychopathic traits can be used by the professionals in making assessment of both violence frequency and severity risks, and specific violence patterns



Kruth, I. P., Frick, P. J., & Clements, C. B. (February 01, 2005). Historical and Personality Correlates to the Violence Patterns of Juveniles Tried as Adults. Criminal Justice and Behavior, 32, 1.)

Simon, R. I., & Tardiff, K. (2008). Textbook of violence assessment and management. Washington, DC: American Psychiatric Pub.

Brizer, D. A., & Crowner, M. (2009). Current approaches to the prediction of violence. Washington, DC: American Psychiatric Press.