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Importance of Co-Convictions in the Prediction of Dangerous Recidivism: Blackmail and Kidnapping as a Demonstration Study

NCJ Number
Criminology & Criminal Justice Volume: 10 Issue: 1 Dated: February 2010 Pages: 23-36
Keith Soothill; Brian Francis; Jiayi Liu
Date Published
February 2010
14 pages
This study examined co-convictions in regards to predicting serious recidivism.
Co-convictions are court convictions made at the same time as a more serious conviction. Their importance has been little recognized. This study investigates their value using data on two separate serious crimes. Taking official conviction careers in England and Wales (1979-2001) for blackmail (n = 5774) and kidnapping offenders (n = 7291), the study considered how much information on co-convictions is normally overlooked, and how knowledge of co-convictions contributes to predicting serious recidivism. The study identified that co-convictions were pervasive, with 54 percent of convictions for blackmail and 77 percent for kidnapping having co-convictions. Co-convictions provided extra explanatory power in predicting the risk of a subsequent sexual or violent offence for both blackmail and kidnapping. For blackmail, most types of co-conviction were associated with a significantly raised relative risk, whereas for kidnapping, only co-convictions which were not acquisitive, sexual or violent had a significantly raised relative risk. The authors concluded that co-convictions are a useful measure of short-term specialization and are important when predicting serious recidivism. 1 figure, 4 tables, 5 notes, and 22 references (Published Abstract)