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Risk Assessment Program and the Court of Penal Execution in the Province of Buenos Aires, Argentina

NCJ Number
International Journal of Offender Therapy and Comparative Criminology Volume: 48 Issue: 1 Dated: February 2004 Pages: 49-58
Jorge O. Folino; Claudio M. Marengo; Susana E. Marchiano; Mariel Ascazibar
Date Published
February 2004
10 pages
This article discusses a system in the Province of Buenos Aires, Argentina, that supervises the punishment phase of offenders.
In September 2001 the first Court of Penal Execution was formed in the Judicial Department of La Plata. The risk assessment pilot program was implemented with the purpose of establishing a systematic manner of assessment, and contributing to the design of risk factor management programs. In the previous system, the way in which risk assessment and the management of conditionally released prisoners was conducted was characterized by the lack of a specific judge for the punishment phase; insufficient programs for the needs of the released prisoners; and the lack of knowledge regarding general outcomes. Efforts have been made to compensate for these deficiencies. During the period between September 2001 and February 2003, an assessment of violent recidivism was carried out in candidates for conditional release, taking into consideration psychopathological and criminological variables. The Psychopathy Checklist-Revised (PCL-R), the Historical, Clinical, and Risk Management-20 (HCR-20), and the Violence Risk Appraisal Guide (VRAG) were used as measures. Sixty-five candidates for conditional release were part of the baseline assessment. The mean scores were 20.57 for the PCL-R; 18.58 for the HCR-20; and 12.17 for the VRAG. The findings highlight how important adequate risk assessment and program availability are for the system, because they may influence judicial decisions. The results show no significant correlation between risk measures and judicial resolutions. Either the size of the sample or the fact that the decisions are the result of a combination of very particular factors that still must be studied could account for this situation. 5 tables, 5 notes, 12 references


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