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Re-contextualizing Pre-sentence Reports: Risk and Race

NCJ Number
Punishment and Society Volume: 12 Issue: 3 Dated: July 2010 Pages: 262-286
Kelly Hannah-Moffat; Paula Maurutto
Date Published
July 2010
25 pages
This study examined the incorporation of risk into pre-sentence reports.
In the past two decades, Canadian policies governing the structure and content of presentence reports (PSRs) have shifted to focus more directly on the systematic identification of offender's criminogenic risk and needs. In this article, the authors (1) examine how risk-based approaches to offender management have altered the structure and format of the PSR in Canada, and (2) contrast the structure of risk-based PSRs to Gladue reports for Aboriginal offenders in Canada. Gladue reports are designed to identify the unique systemic race/cultural and historical factors specific to Aboriginal offenders and to recommend alternatives to incarceration. The authors argue that although risk-based PSRs incorporate recognition of race-related issues, their structure and emphasis on actuarially based risk assessments frames race and risk differently from Gladue reports. In Gladue reports, holistic approaches and cultural impact factors are documented and used to understand risk and need. Finally, the authors argue that the conceptualization and relevance of race is limited by actuarial risk logic. Notes and references (Published Abstract)