Assessing the impact of community-level factors on recidivism

Associate Professor Frank Morgan1

1School of Population and Global Health, University of Western Australia, Nedlands, Australia

Most Risk Assessment Instruments make predictions based on characteristics of the individual offender, and, to some extent, the way an individual is expected to interact with their release environment – a factor also of interest to parole boards. But what about community-level variables themselves? What are they, and how do they influence recidivism? Do they have a major influence on the likelihood of reoffending? And should they be used in revised risk assessment instruments?

This presentation will review the available evidence, examine what ‘community-level’ factors really are, and discuss the desirability of modifying risk assessment instruments to include such factors.


Frank Morgan is Adjunct Associate Professor at the University of Western Australia and the University of Tasmania. He is a former director of the Crime Research Centre at UWA and has interests in: Repeat victimisation and its implications; trends in crime and violence and how we measure them; mental illness and its links with victimization and offending; and family violence and burglary offences. He is currently the lead chief investigator on an Australian Research Council funded linkage project Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal sex-offenders in Australia: Assessing risk for practice and policy.


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