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Centre for Forensic Behavioural Science Seminar Series: Opening address

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Date: Tuesday 19 February 2019
Venue: AMDC301, AMDC Building, Hawthorn Campus

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Associations between psychopathy and treatability in high-risk violent prisoners

In contrast to the nihilism of the late 20th century, recent researchers and practitioners have argued that people with psychopathy are able to progress in treatments designed to reduce levels of criminal risk (e.g., correctional rehabilitation). A very few studies show evidence of lower-than-expected recidivism following correctional treatment, and link in-treatment-change to these outcomes. In fact, when criminal risks and needs are taken into account, in some cases, the pre-treatment level of psychopathy no longer remains linked to recidivism.

But this renewed optimism does not mean psychopathy is irrelevant in treatment. We present results from a series of studies examining associations between PCL-psychopathy, its factors and facets, and other important components of treat ability and treatment response in a large sample of high-risk violent male prisoners undergoing intensive treatment in New Zealand prisons.

About the speaker

Devon Polaschek - event image thumbnail

Devon Polaschek is a clinical psychologist, and professor in the School of Psychology, and the Joint Director of New Zealand Institute of Security and Crime Science, University of Waikato. Her research interests include understanding and preventing reoffending in serious violent and sexual offenders, family violence, psychopathy, imprisonment, desistance, reintegration and parole.

She is the author of more than 110 journal articles, book chapters and government reports, a fellow of the Association for Psychological Science, and a former Fulbright Scholar. Her research has been supported by a decade of funding from the Department of Corrections, in order to develop a better understanding of high-risk violent male prisoners, their characteristics, and what works to reduce their risk of future recidivism.  She has researched what works for rehabilitating offenders since 1987, and more recently in engagement in family violence research projects with various non-governmental organisations and on several different government contracts.

Contact Information: Brett McIvor
Email: Tel: 03 9214 3887