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Predicting Recidivism of Aboriginal Youth Offenders: A Look at an Established Risk Assessment Tool and Culturally-Specific Predictors

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posted on 24.05.2021, 11:30 by Holly A. Wilson
The application of standard risk assessment tools with Aboriginal youth offenders has been a highly controversial practice. Criticisms are premised on the fact that risk/need tools are largely founded on the social and historical experiences of non-Aboriginal offenders. In turn, scholars and practitioners have recommended the use of culturally- specific risk/need factors considering Aboriginal culture and the unique context of Aboriginal people in Canada. The current project consists of two studies designed to contribute to our understanding of these concerns. Study 1 examined the predictive validity (both discrimination and calibration) of the YLS/CMI with both Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal youth offenders. Results found that although the YLS/CMI provides adequate discrimination for Aboriginal offenders (AUCs from .555 to .606), it underestimates the absolute recidivism rates of low and moderate risk Aboriginal youth compared to non-Aboriginal youth. Study 2 explored the utility of PSRs as sources of culturally-specific information and examined the predictive validity of those factors included. Results indicate that although a number of culturally-specific factors predicted re-offending, particularly family breakdown and community variables, PSRs are an inconsistent source of this information. Overall, the findings suggest that the predictive validity of the YLS/CMI with Aboriginal offenders may be improved with increased focus on family breakdown and home community. Implications and next steps for both practice and research are discussed.





Doctor of Philosophy



Granting Institution

Ryerson University

LAC Thesis Type