Dr. Cavanagh's latest article, titled "Criminogenic Risk Score Trajectories of Justice-Involved Youth: An Investigation Across Race/Ethnicity" was recently published in Criminal Justice and Behavior. Justice system involvement is influenced by deeply entrenched forms of racism. What does this mean for the tools we use to predict recidivism in juveniles?
Among a racially/ethnically diverse sample of youth on probation, we looked at how risk scores changed over time. First, for the sample at-large, scores decreased for the first ~18 months of court supervision before rebounding exponentially. This suggests that there are diminishing rehabilitative returns to keeping kids on probation for longer than 18 months.
Second, we found that risk trajectories varied significantly by virtue of the youth's race/ethnicity. Risk scores of White youth declined twice as rapidly as the sample at-large in the first year of court supervision. Risk scores of Black youth did not change in the first year. This suggests that current rehabilitative approaches are not appropriately addressing Black youths' needs.