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Behavioral Sciences & the Law

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https://read.qxmd.com/read/30883891/the-impact-of-proficiency-testing-information-and-error-aversions-on-the-weight-given-to-fingerprint-evidence
#1
Gregory Mitchell, Brandon L Garrett
Fingerprint examiners regularly participate in tests designed to assess their proficiency. These tests provide information relevant to the weight of fingerprint evidence, but no prior research has directly examined how jurors react to proficiency testing information. Using a nationally representative sample of American adults, we examined the impact of proficiency testing information on the weight given to the opinions of fingerprint examiners by mock jurors considering a hypothetical criminal case. The fingerprint examiner's level of performance on a proficiency test (high, medium, low, or very low), but not the type of error committed on the test (false positive identifications, false negative identifications, or a mix of both types of error), affected the weight that jury-eligible adults gave to an examiner's opinion that latent fingerprints recovered from a crime scene matched the defendant's fingerprints, which in turn affected judgments about the defendant's guilt...
March 18, 2019: Behavioral Sciences & the Law
https://read.qxmd.com/read/30775804/evaluation-of-a-cognitive-behavioral-intervention-for-high-and-medium-risk-probationers
#2
David S Kosson, Zach Walsh, John R Anderson, Michael Brook, Marc T Swogger, Robert Verborg
Reducing recidivism is a central goal of treatment programs for offenders. Preliminary evidence suggests that cognitive-behavioral group interventions based on the National Institute of Corrections curriculum (Bush, Glick, & Taymans, ) may be effective in reducing recidivism rates among adult probationers. We evaluated the effectiveness of a program based on this curriculum among 167 high- and medium-risk probationers assigned to this program and a comparison group of 120 high- and medium-risk probationers matched on age and number of prior criminal charges...
February 18, 2019: Behavioral Sciences & the Law
https://read.qxmd.com/read/30761600/learning-from-a-failure-in-threat-assessment-11-questions-and-not-enough-answers
#3
Sarah Goodrum, Mary K Evans, Andrew J Thompson, William Woodward
Threat assessment theory and practice have evolved significantly since Columbine. The US Secret Service's guidelines for threat assessment include 11 questions that school officials should ask to identify, investigate, and manage students of concern. Yet, no research examines how school officials implement these questions. This qualitative case study examines the way that school officials used the 11 questions with a student of concern, who underwent a threat assessment and 3 months later shot and killed a classmate and himself on school grounds...
February 14, 2019: Behavioral Sciences & the Law
https://read.qxmd.com/read/30746747/cit-in-small-municipalities-officer-level-outcomes
#4
Carla G Strassle
Research on the Crisis Intervention Team (CIT) as a method to deal with mental illness in policing encounters has primarily focused on officers from large urban areas. The current study examined officer-level outcomes in a non-urban geographical setting using a pre/post-CIT training design. The sample included 46 police officers from seven departments that would be considered rural and 13 that would be classified as suburban. Officers completed scales to gauge change in mental illness attitudes at the beginning and end of their one-week CIT training...
February 12, 2019: Behavioral Sciences & the Law
https://read.qxmd.com/read/30730080/validation-of-the-poisoning-severity-score-pss-in-suicidal-behavior-by-self-poisoning
#5
Kenneth R Conner, Timothy J Wiegand, Rachel Gorodetsky, Rachel Schult, Edmund Pizzarello, Kimberly Kaukeinen
Intentional self-poisoning is the leading method of suicidal behavior leading to medical attention worldwide. The medical severity of self-poisoning events has major treatment, prognostic, and medico-legal implications, yet measures of severity are limited. The Poisoning Severity Score (PSS) is a widely used scale but validation data are limited, particularly in the study of suicidal behavior per se. The sample was a consecutive series of intentional self-poisoning patients aged 13 to 65 treated at a large university medical center (n = 673)...
February 7, 2019: Behavioral Sciences & the Law
https://read.qxmd.com/read/30706960/how-confession-characteristics-impact-juror-perceptions-of-evidence-in-criminal-trials
#6
Jeremy J Shifton
A confession is one of the most impactful pieces of evidence that can be presented in a criminal trial, yet very little is known about how perceptions of evidence change based on characteristics of the confession. While researchers know that "circumstances of the setting", such as length of interrogation, number of interrogators, and lack of sleep, increase the likelihood of false confessions, less is known about whether juror perceptions of the confession are impacted by these factors. The current research builds on the existing literature by evaluating the impact of these situational confession factors to determine whether jurors give weight to characteristics that are known to increase the likelihood of a false confession...
February 1, 2019: Behavioral Sciences & the Law
https://read.qxmd.com/read/30706954/-hey-let-me-hold-your-guns-for-a-while-a-qualitative-study-of-messaging-for-firearm-suicide-prevention
#7
Rocco Pallin, Bonnie Siry, Deborah Azrael, Christopher E Knoepke, Daniel D Matlock, Ashley Clement, Megan L Ranney, Garen J Wintemute, Marian E Betz
A recommended component of suicide prevention is encouraging at-risk individuals to voluntarily and temporarily reduce access to firearms and other lethal methods. Yet delivering counseling on the topic can be difficult, given the political sensitivity of firearm discussions. To support such counseling, we sought to identify recommended framing and content of messages about reducing firearm access for suicide prevention. Through qualitative interviews with firearm owners and enthusiasts, we identified key points for use in framing (identity as a gun owner, trust, voluntary and temporary storage, and context and motivation) and specific content (preference for "firearm" over "gun," and legal issues such as background checks for transfers)...
February 1, 2019: Behavioral Sciences & the Law
https://read.qxmd.com/read/30609102/machine-learning-in-suicide-science-applications-and-ethics
#8
Kathryn P Linthicum, Katherine Musacchio Schafer, Jessica D Ribeiro
For decades, our ability to predict suicide has remained at near-chance levels. Machine learning has recently emerged as a promising tool for advancing suicide science, particularly in the domain of suicide prediction. The present review provides an introduction to machine learning and its potential application to open questions in suicide research. Although only a few studies have implemented machine learning for suicide prediction, results to date indicate considerable improvement in accuracy and positive predictive value...
January 4, 2019: Behavioral Sciences & the Law
https://read.qxmd.com/read/30632190/can-empathy-close-the-racial-divide-and-gender-gap-in-death-penalty-support
#9
Brian D Godcharles, Jordyn D J Rad, Kathleen M Heide, John K Cochran, Eldra P Solomon
Public opinion data indicate that the majority of US respondents support the death penalty. Research has consistently indicated, however, that Blacks and females are significantly less likely to support capital punishment than their White and male counterparts. Past research efforts attempting to account for these differences have, at best, only partially accounted for them: the racial divide and gender gap in death penalty support, while narrowed, remained evident. This study proposes that empathy, particularly ethnocultural empathy, may be a key explanatory correlate of death penalty support and that racial and gender differences in empathy may fully explain the observed racial and gender differences in death penalty support...
January 2019: Behavioral Sciences & the Law
https://read.qxmd.com/read/30474239/justice-at-any-cost-the-impact-of-cost-benefit-salience-on-criminal-punishment-judgments
#10
Eyal Aharoni, Heather M Kleider-Offutt, Sarah F Brosnan, Julia Watzek
This study investigated the effect of cost-benefit salience on simulated criminal punishment judgments. In two vignette-based survey experiments, we sought to identify how the salience of decision costs influences laypeople's punishment judgments. In both experiments (N1  = 109; N2  = 398), undergraduate participants made sentencing judgments with and without explicit information about the direct, material costs of incarceration. Using a within-subjects design, Experiment 1 revealed that increasing the salience of incarceration costs mitigated punishments...
November 26, 2018: Behavioral Sciences & the Law
https://read.qxmd.com/read/30556604/females-who-maltreat-animals
#11
Alan R Felthous, Amanda J Calhoun
Studies of animal maltreatment and of untoward or abnormal aggression predominantly involve male subjects, raising the question as to whether females who engage in such behaviors are like, or fundamentally different than, their male counterparts. Inquiry to address this issue could pertain to gender similarities and differences; moreover, it could provide greater understanding of the behavior itself, in this case, animal maltreatment. Of the various patterns of animal maltreatment in the literature, there are enough studies with gender addressed to allow some observations on two patterns: animal cruelty in childhood and animal hoarding...
November 2018: Behavioral Sciences & the Law
https://read.qxmd.com/read/30378183/radicalized-risk-assessment
#12
Anders Kaye
In not too long, our system of criminal justice will abandon the mythology of blameworthiness and desert, and not too long after that we will look back on retributive criminal justice with shuddering astonishment. Now, approaching the cusp of change, we have the unusual and ephemeral opportunity to observe and study criminal justice on the way to a paradigm shift, and to think about how the system we have will become the system to come. How will the retributivism we take for granted today be transformed into something different tomorrow? In this paper, I suggest that one of the drivers of the change to come lies in the use of empirically-informed risk assessment technologies in American criminal justice...
October 30, 2018: Behavioral Sciences & the Law
https://read.qxmd.com/read/30378180/principles-of-risk-assessment-for-researchers-and-practitioners
#13
Christopher Slobogin
Risk assessment instruments (RAIs) are generally thought to be more accurate and less susceptible to bias than the type of seat-of-the-pants risk assessment in which judges and parole boards have traditionally engaged. But RAIs bring with them their own set of controversies. This article will discuss three principles - the fit principle, the validity principle, and the fairness principle - that might govern use of RAIs. After providing examples of RAIs, it elaborates on how these principles would affect sentencing, parole and pretrial detention...
October 30, 2018: Behavioral Sciences & the Law
https://read.qxmd.com/read/30338552/risk-assessment-and-juvenile-resentencing-a-critical-analysis
#14
Shelby Arnold, Dan Flack, Kirk Heilbrun
Recent United States Supreme Court decisions in Miller v. Alabama (2012) and Montgomery v. Louisiana (2016) have created the need to resentence individuals who received a sentence of mandatory life without parole (LWOP) for offenses committed when they were younger than 18 years old. Neither of these decisions explicitly cite reoffense risk as a sentencing criterion, but a careful reading of the reasoning in these cases suggests that such a risk should be among the considerations addressed by resentencing courts...
October 18, 2018: Behavioral Sciences & the Law
https://read.qxmd.com/read/30306630/bestiality-an-introduction-for-legal-and-mental-health-professionals
#15
Brian Holoyda, Renee Sorrentino, Susan Hatters Friedman, John Allgire
Bestiality, or human-animal intercourse, has been a concern of the legal and mental health communities for many years. Ancient legal codes delineated punishments for those who engaged in the behavior, denoting a moral and general societal concern surrounding bestiality dating to ancient times. Despite this longstanding interest in and legal efforts to punish humans for having sex with animals, there has been little research on the behavior. Current available research has largely been siloed based on the populations studied, making it difficult to render any firm conclusions about bestiality's prevalence, frequency, and the risk posed by those who have sex with animals...
October 10, 2018: Behavioral Sciences & the Law
https://read.qxmd.com/read/30306628/animal-maltreatment-implications-for-behavioral-science-professionals
#16
Lacey Levitt
Despite the widespread belief among the public and an increasing number of law enforcement personnel that individuals who harm animals often harm other people, the subject of animal maltreatment has received little attention from behavioral scientists. Advances in comparative neuroanatomy have highlighted the ability of animals to feel physical and emotional pain, including complex psychological reactions to traumatic events. These advances, and recent studies (however sparse) that support the notion that perpetrators of crimes against animals often commit other crimes, have arguably created an ethical and practical imperative for behavioral scientists to undertake a serious examination of animal maltreatment and potential mechanisms for responding to it...
October 10, 2018: Behavioral Sciences & the Law
https://read.qxmd.com/read/30306624/harming-animals-and-massacring-humans-characteristics-of-public-mass-and-active-shooters-who-abused-animals
#17
Arnold Arluke, Adam Lankford, Eric Madfis
Researchers have extensively studied the tendency of certain violent criminals to hurt or torture animals, primarily focusing on domestic abusers and serial killers. However, little is known about the extent or nature of prior animal abuse among active shooters and public mass shooters. Public mass and active shooters essentially represent a single offender type: they are people who commit rampage attacks in public places and attempt to harm multiple victims beyond a single target. The only difference is that "mass" shootings are traditionally defined as cases resulting in the death of four or more victims, while "active" shootings have no minimum threshold...
October 10, 2018: Behavioral Sciences & the Law
https://read.qxmd.com/read/30306621/judicial-appraisals-of-risk-assessment-in-sentencing
#18
John Monahan, Anne L Metz, Brandon L Garrett
The assessment of an offender's risk of recidivism is emerging as a key consideration in sentencing policy in many US jurisdictions. However, little information is available on how actual sentencing judges view this development. This study surveys the views of a population sample of judges in Virginia, the state that has gone further than any other in legislatively mandating risk assessment for certain drug and property offenders. Results indicate that a strong majority of judges endorse the principle that sentencing eligible offenders should include a consideration of recidivism risk...
October 10, 2018: Behavioral Sciences & the Law
https://read.qxmd.com/read/30298613/life-sentenced-juveniles-public-perceptions-of-risk-and-need-for-incarceration
#19
Kirk Heilbrun, Kelley Durham, Alice Thornewill, Rebecca Schiedel, Victoria Pietruszka, Sarah Phillips, Benjamin Locklair, Joanna Thomas
Pursuant to recent United States Supreme Court decisions in Miller v. Alabama (2012) and Montgomery v. Louisiana (2016), individuals convicted of crimes committed when they were younger than 18 and for which they received mandatory life sentences are entitled to new sentencing hearings. This study examined public perceptions of such individuals (life-sentenced juveniles, or LSJs). Study participants were 663 adults (52.3% male) ages 22-71 years (M = 36.00, SD = 11.46) recruited using Amazon Mechanical Turk (MTurk)...
October 8, 2018: Behavioral Sciences & the Law
https://read.qxmd.com/read/30298573/integrating-risk-and-dangerousness-in-specific-legal-contexts-clarifying-concepts-and-justifying-interventions
#20
Robert F Schopp
Several legal interventions under the police power and parens patriae functions of the state depend partially on judgments that an individual is dangerous. Psychological research regarding risk assessment can provide relevant evidence regarding the appropriate application of these interventions. Developing, interpreting, and presenting relevant research regarding risk assessment in a manner that enhances the ability of courts to make accurate determinations of dangerousness requires clarification of the risk presented by this individual and explanation of how this person generates this risk...
October 8, 2018: Behavioral Sciences & the Law
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