Masters Thesis

Predicting recidivism of adult probationers with the California Psychological Inventory

This study was undertaken to determine the validity of the California Psychological Inventory (CPI) for the prediction of success or failure while on probation. The subjects for this study consisted of 32 male adult probationers in San Francisco County who agreed to take the CPI. These subjects fell into four groups, eight in each group, on the basis of their Base Code Expectancy Scoring Classification System scores and whether they were recidivistic or not. The Base Code system takes into account objective background data available in prison files, such as arrest record, prior employment history, and record of alcohol or opiate usage, and yields an "A," "B," or "C" rating according to the numerical score obtained. Those probationers who receive an "A" were considered low-risk, while those who receive a "B" or "C" rating were considered high-risk. The four groups of probationers were: (1) those who receive an "A" rating and successfully complete probation; (2) those who receive an "A" rating and do not successfully complete probation; (3) those who receive a "B" or "C" rating and successfully complete probation; and (4) those who receive a "B" or "C" rating and do not successfully complete probation. The criteria for failure on probation was the presence of at least one conviction (minor traffic violations excluded) during the probation period. The t test between two independent groups was computed to determine if there were differences among the four groups on any of the CPI scales. The results of this study indicated that the Sociability scale of the CPI significantly differentiated between "A" probationers who succeed on probation and "B" or "C" probationers who succeed on probation, as seen in the testing of H21. Also, the Socialization scale of the CPI significantly differentiated between "B" or "C" probationers who succeed on probation and "B" or "C" probationers who do not succeed on probation, as seen in the testing of H98. However, the overwhelming absence of significant differences among the four groups indicated that the CPI had little use in the prediction of recidivistic or nonredicivistic tendencies in probationers. It was concluded that the probation officer should rely upon the Base Code Expectancy Scoring Classification System and his own judgement in estimating the probability of recidivistic behavior in probationers.

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