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The Assessment of Young Offenders within the Juvenile Justice Services - English

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This report documents the results of a project carried out by the Minotauro, in cooperation with “Istituto Centrale di Formazione” ICF (the national staff training office of the Juvenile Justice …

This report documents the results of a project carried out by the Minotauro, in cooperation with “Istituto Centrale di Formazione” ICF (the national staff training office of the Juvenile Justice Department) and Lombardy Juvenile Justice Centre.

The primary objective of the project was to establish an exchange between psychologists, social workers and educators working within the Italian juvenile justice services, paving the way for an exchange at European level concerning the assessment of young offenders.

The project was focused in particular on the psychologists working within a
juvenile justice services, with the aim of assessing the objectives and
methods of their work.

Published in: Health & Medicine

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  • 1. Ministero della Giustizia Dipartimento Giustizia Minorile Istituto Centrale Centro per la Giustizia Minorile di Formazione per la Lombardia - Milano del PersonaleThe Assessment of Young Offenders within the Juvenile Justice Services Italian Network for Young Offenders’ Assessment and Treatment INYOAT With financial support from the Prevention of and Fight Against Crime Programme. European Commission – Directorate-General Justice, Freedom And Security GU L 58, 24.2.2007 I
  • 2. The assessment of young offenders in juvenile justice 1 dicembre 2010 services September 2010 – Milan, ITALYII
  • 3. PrefaceThis report documents the results of a project carried out by the Minotauro,in cooperation with “Istituto Centrale di Formazione” ICF (the national stafftraining office of the Juvenile Justice Department) and Lombardy JuvenileJustice Centre.The primary objective of the project was to establish an exchange betweenpsychologists, social workers and educators working within the Italianjuvenile justice services, paving the way for an exchange at European levelconcerning the assessment of young offenders.The project was focused in particular on the psychologists working within ajuvenile justice services, with the aim of assessing the objectives andmethods of their work.The project examined the following questions: • How does psycho-social assessment guide the court’s decisions? • What are the objectives of the psycho-social assessment (e.g. screening, diagnosis, liability to prosecution, social dangerousness, re-offending risk)? III
  • 4. In order to answer such questions, the following activities were carried out: • A review of the literature on the psycho-social assessment carried out in other European justice settings; • Interviews with psychologists working in the Italian juvenile justice services; • National meetings between the managers of the Juvenile Justice Services or other representatives of the services involved; • Analysis of the reports provided by the juvenile justice services to the court. The reports contain information about the young person’s circumstances and aim to help the court to deliver a suitable criminal response; • The promote an exchange of practices and methods during meetings between the psychologists working within the Italian juvenile justice services; • An international conference on assessment attended by managers of the Juvenile Justice Services and representatives of the services involved; • The establishment of a mailing list for psychologists working within the Juvenile Justice Systems, through with they can exchanging information.IV
  • 5. The results of this project are presented in this report. A book detailingthe assessment of young offenders will be published in Italy and iscurrently in press.The report is addressed to professionals working in the field and judgesdelive V
  • 6. Content Document Development Gruop VII 1. Introduction 1 2. The Juvenile Justice System in Italy 11 3. Recent trends in criminal policies in Europe 19 4. The assessment carried out within the Juvenile Justice Services in Italy 25 5. The psychological work within the Juvenile Justice services 33 6. The assessment of antisocial behaviour within a developmental frame 65 7. Conclusions and perspectives 139 Bibliography 145VI
  • 7. Document development group Alfio Maggiolini Alessandra Ciceri Cristina Colli Mauro Di Lorenzo Giovanna Kluzer Carlo Trionfi Cristina Saottini Veronica Scuffi Virginia SuigoMinotauro is a social cooperative of psychologists, researchers and trainers. Minotauro was founded in 1984. The president is Gustavo Pietropolli Charmet; its members are psychologists, psychotherapists, researchers and trainers, sharing their research and intervention experiences in institutional contexts and in clinical activity, in a common framework highlighting the importance of affective symbolisation processes, and the developmental dimension of psychological uneasiness. Theoretical approaches and experienced interventions are listed and presented in different publications (www.minotauro.it). VII
  • 8. Istituto Centrale di Formazione Cira Stefanelli Maria Grazia Castorina Bruno Costa Elvira Narducci, Giuseppe Mandalari Antonella Zanfei The “Istituto Centrale di Formazione (ICF) (the national staff training office of the Juvenile Justice Department) plans, organizes, carries out and evaluates training activities involving the staff under the Ministry of Juvenile Justice The Juvenile Justice Centre of Lombardy Flavia Croce Juvenile justice centres are administrative decentralized agencies whose jurisdiction usually covers the territory of several regions and appellate courts districts. Their functions are: technical and financial planning, follow-up and supervision of juvenile justice services such as the offices of youth social service, juvenile classification homes, juvenile detention detention centres and residential communities.VIII
  • 9. 1. Introduction Italian Network for Young Offenders Assessment and Treatment There has been a widespread pessimism about the treatment of young offenders. The criminal response was considered to be largely ineffective. Recently, the results of meta-analytic studies have shown that it is possible to reduce re-offending. It has also been found that many antisocial disorders can be treated and, contrary to all expectations, sufficiently intensive and long treatment may also change psychopathic traits of personality (McGuire, 1995; Salekin, 2010; Andrews, Bonta, 1998). Early intervention with young offenders may prevent the development of a criminal career. In order to deliver a programme effective in reducing the risk of re- offending it is essential to assess the young person, his environment and his deviant behaviour. A psychological assessment of young people involved in criminal proceedings may: - address a psychological issue and highlight a possible psychopathology, from a treatment-oriented perspective; - include the family and the environment, in order to assess the risk and protective factors - focus on the risk of re-offending; 1
  • 10. The assessment of young offenders in juvenile justice 1 dicembre 2010 services - respond to specific questions delivered by the court, such as issues concerning maturity/immaturity and social dangerousness An assessments many focus on particular aspects depending on the offence, the characteristics of the youth, the criminal context, the stage of the trial and, the theoretical framework and the methods employed by the professionals carrying out the assessment. The most recent trends show that age and gender (male adolescence) are risk factors for rule-breaking behaviours. From a developmental viewpoint, they may represent a physiologic rule-breaking attitude. They may also underpin behavioural disorders, antisocial personality disorders or other psycho-pathologies. However, in some cases, they may also reveal a failure of the family, the environment and/or the school to understand the youths developmental needs. One developmental psychopathology approach (Cicchetti, Cohen, 1995; Achenbach, 2001; Rutter, 1988) attributes importance to the environment, and overcomes the idea that the adolescence “carries” a disorder. This approach finds that antisocial behaviours start as the result of a negative interaction between an individual’s developmental needs and the environmental’s responses, where the representations of the individual2 Prevention and Fight Against Crime 2007 With financial support from the Prevention of and Fight Against Crime Programme European Commission – Directorate-General Justice, Freedom And Security
  • 11. 1. Introduction Italian Network for Young Offenders Assessment and Treatment concerning his needs and the responses from others to those needs, become of paramount importance. This developmental psychopathology approach found that antisocial behaviours may be the result of various developmental paths which are open, at any time, to different developmental paths. As one of the main objectives of the criminal response, is to reduce re- offending, it is necessary to understand which features of the young person and his environment lead to a favourable prognosis. It is also necessary to understand the relation between psychological objectives (e.g taking responsibility, changing their developmental path) and objectives more strictly related to a change in the antisocial behaviours. By conducting individual assessments the juvenile justice services may prevent the delivery of an unspecified provision to all young offenders. Some offences may be related to specific mental health disorders, but generally it is conduct disorder or antisocial personality disorder (DSM-IVR, 2000 that young offenders suffer from. However, within the juvenile justice services, a diagnosis of a conduct disorder or antisocial personality disorder, as specified by the DSM-IV R (a condition characterized by persistent disregard for, and violation of, the rights of others that begins in childhood or early adolescence and continues into adulthood) does not seem sufficiently specific. 3
  • 12. The assessment of young offenders in juvenile justice 1 dicembre 2010 services A systematic survey of young offenders’ mental health issues paves the way for an understanding of effective practice within the Italian juvenile justice services. The criminal response does not only pursue punishment and the preservation of social security, it also aims to promote a change in the young person, and is therefore seen as a form of treatment. In order to assess and address the young person and his environment, psychological, educational and/or social support workers perform various types of interventions within a detention setting or via diversion measures. The complexity of the work makes it difficult to evaluate its efficacy. The criterion usually employed is a reduction in the re-offending rates, which is necessary, but not sufficient, because adolescents may well cease criminal activities while still being antisocial or becoming asocial, e.g. with issues of substance abuse, social marginalization and so on. The insufficient attention paid to providing evidence-based practice may partly be due to the widespread pessimism about the outcome of both criminal provisions and the psychotherapy of antisocial disorders. However, even though antisocial behaviour still seems persistent, it is widely thought that it may change. Moreover, a change often occurs spontaneously: some4 Prevention and Fight Against Crime 2007 With financial support from the Prevention of and Fight Against Crime Programme European Commission – Directorate-General Justice, Freedom And Security
  • 13. 1. Introduction Italian Network for Young Offenders Assessment and Treatment studies have shown that about half of even the most persistent offenders actually stop their antisocial behaviours, managing to gain a positive social identity, i.e. work and engage in a couple relationship. As the family and the social environment where such behaviours take place are often crucial to such change, experts question whether the involvement with the criminal justice system may end up being a risk rather than a protective factor. The criminal context, and detention in particular, may indeed have an iatrogenic effect (McGuire, 1995). A conceivable approach of the Juvenile Justice Services is to regard criminal response as a form of care. Such an approach may eventually evaluate its efficacy, in terms of both re-offending rates, and the adolescents’ development. In order to pursue such an approach a survey and an analysis of the data concerning young people involved in the criminal justice system is of paramount importance. To tailor an effective programme, it would also be essential to understanding the features of the young person to thereby avoid the provision responding to institutional demands, rather than the young person’s needs. Assessment between the mental health objectives and the demands from the juvenile justice service To guide the criminal response, the assessment of young offenders should include the risk of re-offending, and psychological and social issues, which 5
  • 14. The assessment of young offenders in juvenile justice 1 dicembre 2010 services are the criminogenic needs that underpin the individual’s involvement in crime. Amongst young offenders, re-offending rates are usually high. Data is difficult to compare, due to the diversity of the samples in terms of age, severity, follow up and criteria employed to define re-offending (e.g. further charge, further arrest, further conviction). Generally speaking, it is estimated that up to two thirds of the non occasional young offenders re-offend within three years. “Chronic” delinquents (about 5% of all young offenders) show the following rates: at a 5 year follow up, 77% of the 15-20 age group, 50% of the 20-25 group and 35% of the 25-30 group re-offended, with a mean of 4.6 offences for those who committed more than one (Rutter, Giller, Hagell, 1998). The results of a study carried out in 15 US States found that more than 80% of the14-17 years old prisoners were re-arrested within three years of their release. (Langan, Levin, 2002). A study carried out in the UK, reported that 88% of the 14-16 years old prisoners re-offended within two years of their release. (Hagell, 2002). Another study found re-arresting rates to be: 49.2% at a one year follow up, 70.8% at a two years follow up, and 76.7% at a three years follow up (Mc Guire et al., 1995). Vermeiren, De6 Prevention and Fight Against Crime 2007 With financial support from the Prevention of and Fight Against Crime Programme European Commission – Directorate-General Justice, Freedom And Security
  • 15. 1. Introduction Italian Network for Young Offenders Assessment and Treatment Clippele and Deboutte (2000) reported a 46.2% rate of recidivism at an 8 months follow up. In Italy, a study was carried out with a sample of 103 young male offenders (Italians, nomads and foreigners), with the use of a form assessing recidivism risk at intake within the Juvenile Justice Services. The results show that a little more than half of the sample (54.1%) was at high risk of re-offending; one out of four (25.1%) were at a medium risk, one out of five (20.8) at a low risk. At their two year follow up, 32% of the sample had been charged with another offence; none of the low and medium risk group re- offended while within the high risk group 44% of the sample re-offended and were reported to be mainly nomads or Italians showing severe mental health issues. (Maggiolini, Ciceri, Macchi, Marchesi, Pisa, 2009). This study shows that the assessment of re-offending risk to be accurate. The pre-trial measures ordered by the court at intake were broadly coherent with the level of risk. The follow up of the high risk group stresses the importance of providing treatment to nomads and Italians living in highly dysfunctional families or environments, and developing even more severe mental health issues. The study conclusively showed that recidivism risk is significantly related to risk factors within the cultural-family environment. Mental health disorders and criminogenic needs are also important to assess. 7
  • 16. The assessment of young offenders in juvenile justice 1 dicembre 2010 services Antisocial behaviours may be the result of a conduct disorder or an antisocial personality disorder or some other severe psychopathology. Whatever is the case, they are also all the signs of an adjustment issue, in the relation between adolescence needs, age-related developmental tasks, family and environment. To better understand psychological issues in delinquency, various studies have been carried out in the past few years on the relationship between mental health issues and juvenile delinquency. These studies aim to understand underlying risk factors and precursors in childhood, distinguishing profiles of antisocial adolescents as well as the prevalence of psychological disorders amongst young people getting involved with the criminal justice system (Dazzi, Madeddu, 2009; Grisso, Schwartz, 2000; Loeber, Farrington, Stouthamer- Loeber, Van Kammen, 1998; Vreugdenihl, Doreleijers, Wermeiren, Wouters, Van Den Brink, 2004; Wasserman, McReynolds, Lucas, Fisher, Santos, 2002; Wasserman, Ko, McReynolds, 2004). A number of studies have confirmed that young people undergoing criminal proceedings, and prisoners in particular, have between three and five times8 Prevention and Fight Against Crime 2007 With financial support from the Prevention of and Fight Against Crime Programme European Commission – Directorate-General Justice, Freedom And Security
  • 17. 1. Introduction Italian Network for Young Offenders Assessment and Treatment more risk of developing a mental disorder (Teplin, Abram, McClelland, Dulcan, Mericle, 2002; Wasserman, McReynolds, Lucas, Fisher, Santos, 2002; Vermerein, 2003; Boesky, 2002). Conduct disorder is the most frequent diagnosis amongst juvenile delinquents, followed by oppositional- defiant disorder (Moffit et al., 2003; Boesky, 2002). Substance abusers are also at a higher risk of offending (Moffit et al., 2000). In Italy in 2005, a sample of 66 young males (with a mean age mean of 16.3, 35% Italians, 65% foreigners or nomads) were interviewed at intake within the Juvenile Justice Services, using the Youth Self Report (Achenbach, 2001). The professionals involved were asked to complete the Teacher Report Form (Achenbach, 2001). The professionals reported internalized and externalized problems in 72%, while only 38% of the young people reported externalized problems and 29% internalized problems.. Crossing psycho pathological issues and a re-offending risk index showed that 91.2% of the adolescents at high risk of re-offending had clinically significant mental health issues. The study confirms that mental health disorders are widespread amongst the young people involved with the criminal justice service. The fact that psychopathology is mostly related to high re-offending risk emphasises that psychological work may be helpful in reducing recidivism. 9
  • 18. The assessment of young offenders in juvenile justice 1 dicembre 2010 services Criminogenic needs are at the core of the assessment and discriminative of evidence-based practice (Dowden, 1999). The programmes, which are the most effective in reducing re-offending, are those which combine psychological support with vocational and social work (McGuire, 2004). A correct assessment at intake may guide the work within the juvenile justice services (Vermerein, 2003). The objective of the assessment is not the provision of a diagnosis of a psychopathology, but rather the involvement of the young person in a programme informed by an understanding of his personality and psychic functioning. The programme’s primarily aim is to help the adolescent resume his development and gain a new social identity. The psycho-social assessment also represents the first opportunity for the adolescent to see himself as someone having emotions, desires and intentions, and express his point of view on the offence and think about its subjective meaning.10 Prevention and Fight Against Crime 2007 With financial support from the Prevention of and Fight Against Crime Programme European Commission – Directorate-General Justice, Freedom And Security
  • 19. 2. The Juvenile Justice System in Italy Italian Network for Young Offenders Assessment and Treatment The Juvenile Court The Juvenile Court was set up in 1934, under Royal Decree (n° 1404) and exercises its jurisdiction upon civil, criminal and administrative matters. The Juvenile Courts are tasked with proceedings related to juveniles between 14- 18 years of age, who have been accused of criminal offences. The 1934 Decree has been amended on a number of occasions, , most notably by a special law created in 1988, to the “rules about criminal proceedings against minors” (D.P.R. 448/88). The Decree followed the U.N. “Minimum rules on “social reactions to juvenile delinquency” and the so called “Bejing rules” (Recommendation 40/33 of the 29th of November 1985) which were a point of reference for the reform of a criminal process for juveniles which lead to a highly innovative model. The Juvenile Criminal Procedure Code enforces criminal provisions such as stay of proceedings while the juvenile is placed under supervision (similar to 11
  • 20. The assessment of young offenders in juvenile justice 1 dicembre 2010 services probation) and various alternative non-custodial measures are taken. The aim is to prevent juveniles from entering the criminal justice system and to reduce the potential harm of the criminal proceedings on juveniles; detention is used as a last resort. Under the code, juveniles are placed under the care of social services, with the direct involvement of the youth, his family, his school, his peer group and his environment and indirectly though the work carried out with agencies in the community. In this frame, the discipline of the probation (“stay of proceedings and placement under supervision”) is of paramount importance. According to such an institution, the young offender’s proceedings are deterred until the outcome of a supervision period; if the supervision is successful and the youth is reintegrated to society, the offence is discarded. It can be ordered for any kind of crime, and it is not restricted to the first offence; it lasts up to three years. A probation programme is prescribed in the early stages of the proceedings. It may be suggested by the prosecutor, the defence counsel, the young person, his parents, or the social worker. Probation requires the young offender’s cooperation, it cannot be imposed on someone who is unwilling to undertake it. The law does not specify whether the defendant’s guilt is to be ascertained; however, it is a commonly thought that it represents an unexpressed pre-requisite for a probation order. The order12 Prevention and Fight Against Crime 2007 With financial support from the Prevention of and Fight Against Crime Programme European Commission – Directorate-General Justice, Freedom And Security
  • 21. 2. The Juvenile Justice System in Italy Italian Network for Young Offenders Assessment and Treatment delivered by the court is based on the assessment of the young person and environmental issues and resources, provided by the Juvenile Justice Services or the local social services. Generally speaking, the ratio of the response to juvenile delinquency is to promote the young offender’s awareness of the meaning of the offence and encourage him to take responsibility for his behaviour. It tends to be programme-oriented, meaning that a rehabilitation aim is favoured, and the punishment of the young offender is of secondary importance. The Italian juvenile justice services 1. Offices of Youth Social Service (USSM thereof) 2. Juvenile Detention Centres (IPM thereof) 3. Juvenile Classification Homes (CPA thereof) 4. Residential facilities Offices for Youth Social Service (USSM) provide young offenders with assistance at every stage of the criminal proceeding, starting from the enforcement of pre-trial measures. The USSM plays a supporting and monitoring role during the enforcement of non custodial pre-trial and post- 13
  • 22. The assessment of young offenders in juvenile justice 1 dicembre 2010 services trial measures and the stay of proceedings with placement under supervision. When requested, the USSM provides the court, with information concerning the assessment of young person and his family. Juvenile Classification Homes (CPA) admit juveniles under provisional arrest and grant them residence for up to 96 hours until the validation hearing, without being actual prison facilities. The CPA teams make a first psycho-social assessment on the juvenile’s situation and the local resources available, with the aim of providing the judicial authority with information that is helpful in identifying the most suitable measure for the young offender. Juvenile Detention Centres (IPM) secure the enforcement of orders (such as pre-trial detention and conviction sentences) made against juvenile offenders under 18 years of age (or up to 21 years of age, provided that the offence was committed when under 18) by judicial authorities. In this context, the young offender is granted the right not to interrupt his educational, physical and psychological development. IPMs provide young offenders with school, vocational training, cultural, sport, recreational and theatre activities. The IPMs operate according to the principle of the Italian law, D.P.R. 448/88, which specifies the minimum intervention by criminal14 Prevention and Fight Against Crime 2007 With financial support from the Prevention of and Fight Against Crime Programme European Commission – Directorate-General Justice, Freedom And Security
  • 23. 2. The Juvenile Justice System in Italy Italian Network for Young Offenders Assessment and Treatment justice and the principle of reducing imprisonment, lead to a decrease in the number of detainees. Residential facilities act by law both to secure the enforcement of non- custodial measures and help integrate young offenders in their social environment. In Italy, only a few residential communities are directly managed by the juvenile justice service; most of them are private and have an agreement with the Ministry of Justice. Placements in socio-educational residential communities, either in terms of serving a pre-trial measures or carrying out a probation measure, are common within the juvenile justice provisions. Personality assessment When delivering an order, the young person’s personality is always taken into account by the court,; In accordance with the principles of the Italian law D.P.R. n.448/1988, every Italian court’s must take into account the young person’s needs, circumstances and resources. Consequently, personality assessments take place at various stages of the criminal proceedings. Quoting art. 9 of the D.P.R. n.448/1988: 15
  • 24. The assessment of young offenders in juvenile justice 1 dicembre 2010 services “The State Attorney and the judge shall gather information about the child’s situation and personal, familiar, social and environmental resources, in view of establishing his criminal responsibility and degree of liability as well as considering the social relevance of the offence and ordering adequate penalties and possibly taking the appropriate civil measures”. It should be emphasised that, differently from other countries, in Italy the personality assessment is not aimed at identifying competence to stand trial but instead focuses on the process itself to shape and become accessible to a developing and changing young person. Taking responsibility According to Italian law, the criminal procedure for juvenile offenders, (D.P.R.. 448/1988) does not consider the young offender as either someone to be punished or someone to be protected, but as an interlocutor, someone who can hold a dialogue with the adult magistrate and take decisions regarding his own future within the criminal justice system.16 Prevention and Fight Against Crime 2007 With financial support from the Prevention of and Fight Against Crime Programme European Commission – Directorate-General Justice, Freedom And Security
  • 25. 2. The Juvenile Justice System in Italy Italian Network for Young Offenders Assessment and Treatment In addition to safeguarding the educational needs of the young offender, the criminal juvenile process strives to help young offenders to to take responsibility for their actions. Assessing the truth of an event or punishing the young offender is of secondary importance. The primary goal is to rehabilitate the young person by promoting his capacity to engage and repair the damage he has done. The trial provides educational value through both safeguard the young persons educational needs and in the fact that the trial itself may deliver a developmental-oriented function. The various professionals involved with the young person during the criminal proceedings (e.g. psychologist, educator, social worker, judge, lawyer) perform such a function. The juvenile criminal process must not interrupt the developmental process by disrupting vocational training or school but it may actually also be the chance for educational relationships to start, : such an aim is pursued both within the process, as it involves the youth’s parents, whenever possible, and outside, in the liaison with the community. The juvenile criminal process adapts itself to the youth’s personality, circumstances, developmental needs and degree of maturity. 17
  • 26. The assessment of young offenders in juvenile justice 1 dicembre 2010 services The personality assessment carried out by social workers, psychologists and educators is thus not aimed at providing a diagnosis, or assessing the competence to stand trial, but rather at adapting the process to the young person’s needs, capacities, degree of development and maturity.18 Prevention and Fight Against Crime 2007 With financial support from the Prevention of and Fight Against Crime Programme European Commission – Directorate-General Justice, Freedom And Security
  • 27. 3. Recent trends in criminal policies in Europe Italian Network for Young Offenders Assessment and Treatment In recent years the policies of the Juvenile Justice Service have shown different trends within the countries of the European Union. On the one hand, the repression of criminally relevant behaviours has increased, while a remarkable opening to “restorative justice” has also emerged; on the other, some offences, previously under the competence of the juvenile criminal justice have been transferred to the competence of administrative justice (Padovani, Ciappi, 2010). In some countries of the European Union the criminal justice has become harsher, with a parallel debate about the lowering of the age for criminal liability to prosecution; this trend may be due in the first place to the failure of the rehabilitation model in Anglo-Saxon countries, and the prevalence of emerging social defence issues and the need for social control. In the past, instead of focusing on the young offender’s rehabilitation pessimism about the welfare rehabilitation-oriented model lead to a focus on the offence and the victim, with primary aim of social security. 19
  • 28. The assessment of young offenders in juvenile justice 1 dicembre 2010 services A new approach referred to as ‘Restorative justice’ as provided an alternative to the traditional model of criminal response . Within this new model, the restorative feature of criminal justice is paramount, i.e. the focus is on the resolution of the conflict created by the offence, and the repair of the consequent damage rather than behaviour-controls,retribution or the pursuit of the punishment of the youth. Unlike the traditional model of criminal response where the victim was excluded, the restorative model frequently involves the victim through a process of mediation (such as the Victim-Offender Mediation programme). Regarding the increased importance of administrative justice in countries such as Great Britain, Holland, Belgium and Germany, the most recent criminal policies address administrative measures (such as diversion, restorative justice, youth panel conferencing), with the involvement of local authorities, while the criminal justice withdraws and its role becomes the formal control of provisions managed by administrative bodies. As an example, in Great Britain, the criminal provision is diversified, with the aim of avoiding as far as possible the involvement of the young person with the juvenile justice system.20 Prevention and Fight Against Crime 2007 With financial support from the Prevention of and Fight Against Crime Programme European Commission – Directorate-General Justice, Freedom And Security
  • 29. 3. Recent trends in criminal policies in Europe Italian Network for Young Offenders Assessment and Treatment Within this “diversion” frame the Great British police force has a number of options as alternatives to prosecution,. Similarly, in Germany an exception to the “legality principle” is given through the discretionary power granted to the prosecutor to request, in alternative to prosecution, the dismissal of the case with the simultaneous provision of educative measures. The aim is to avoid an inappropriate involvement of the young person in the criminal justice system and, most importantly, to favour the rehabilitation and the re- integration of the young offender in civil society, responding to an “opportuneness principle”, underpinned by empirical research on the reduction of recidivism. Within the so-called “what works” policy, i.e. the focus on promoting evidence-based practice as a guide to crime prevention policies, the identification of risk management factors and actuarial measures is the ground of the orders delivered by the court. Today, at a European level, interventions and programmes cannot set aside an in-depth evaluation of their efficacy in reducing recidivism. The recent trends in criminal policies have therefore lead to a decline in the treatment and socialization philosophy, in favour of aims of risk-management and prevention-oriented social control. 21
  • 30. The assessment of young offenders in juvenile justice 1 dicembre 2010 services Such trends affect the methods employed for the assessment of the young person. Following a broad request to the services in Europe, to carry out an assessment of personality, maturity and personal, familiar, social and environmental circumstances of the young offender, the most innovative procedures and methodologies tend to be precise and standardized (see “ASSET”, the form employed within the juvenile justice services in Great Britain or “BARO”, a similar form used in Holland and in Switzerland), based on actuarial predictive models. In comparison with other European countries, the rehabilitation function is still at the core of the Italian juvenile justice system, even though such intervention philosophy are traditionally less focused on providing evidence of its efficacy. The Italian criminal system is less agile and the proceedings and the criminal provision are both poorly differentiated in relation to the severity of the offence put in place and to the risk of re-offending. Very few Countries in Europe have published, as well as Great Britain and the US, specific guidelines for the assessment and the treatment of young offenders, so that the procedures and the methods put in practice are less formalized. There is a gap in the regulations that results in inconsistency22 Prevention and Fight Against Crime 2007 With financial support from the Prevention of and Fight Against Crime Programme European Commission – Directorate-General Justice, Freedom And Security
  • 31. 3. Recent trends in criminal policies in Europe Italian Network for Young Offenders Assessment and Treatment and uncertainty about prescribing when a personality assessment may be requested, by whom, and who is in charge of providing it and the methods actually employed in the work. In countries such as Croatia, social services in the community are in charge of the assessment while in other countries, such as Belgium, Portugal and Spain, social services within the juvenile justice system are appointed. In most European countries there is a clear-cut distinction between civil and criminal juvenile justice: Italy in an exception, as a juvenile judge is competent both in civil and in criminal matters. In Greece the request for an assessment of the young offender tends to address mental health-psychiatric issues, or to involve the assessment of drug abuse. Personality assessment are not compulsorily requested (as they are in Holland, Slovenia, and Italy), and may only be requested in the most severe cases. In Germany, if the youth is attending school or has employment, the personality assessment of the young offender includes the direct involvement of teachers or employers, , in all cases except when the assessment may jeopardize the position. 23
  • 32. The assessment of young offenders in juvenile justice 1 dicembre 2010 services In conclusion, the lack of guidelines shared at European level, regarding the assessment of young offenders leads to a variety in the procedures, making them quite difficult to compare.24 Prevention and Fight Against Crime 2007 With financial support from the Prevention of and Fight Against Crime Programme European Commission – Directorate-General Justice, Freedom And Security
  • 33. 4. The assessment carried outwithin the Juvenile Justice Services in Italy Italian Network for Young Offenders Assessment and Treatment The staff training centre (Istituto Centrale di Formazione) of the Italian Juvenile Justice Department have studied the way that the personality assessment of the young offender is carried out within a Juvenile Justice setting. Personality assessment is at the core of the work, in the interaction with the court. The reports made by the juvenile justice services testify in the daily practice the assumptions and methodologies of the work, where psychological, social and educational knowledge is combined. Not only are the reports an expression of the understanding of the circumstances of the youth, his family and his environment, they also express what is deemed useful for the court to know. There may be a considerable gap between the knowledge that the juvenile justice services has and what is communication to the court. It is sometimes necessary for the reports to omit some information concerning the crime, so that the trust relationship between the young person and his family is not 25
  • 34. The assessment of young offenders in juvenile justice 1 dicembre 2010 services jeopardised. This relationship is crucial to an effective intervention. Omission may also be made in order to leave the court in a position to make an unbiased assessment of the circumstances strictly related to the offence. Such reports, carried out both at the initial stages and throughout the criminal provision, were analysed. The sample included representatives of all services (CPA, USSM, IPM) and locations (in the North, Centre and South of Italy) A total of one-hundred and sixty-eight reports were collected, distributed as follows: • 29 from Rome and Sassari CPAs; 75 from Bolzano, Naples, Rome, Lecce and Turin USSMs; 64 from Milan, Catania and Catanzaro IPMs. • Gender: 85% males 15% female • Age: aged 14-16: 9.4%, aged 16-18: 40%, aged 18-21: 12.5%. • Nationality: Italians: 68.8%; foreigners (31,2%) mostly come from Romania (8.8%) and Morocco (5%). • Offence: 37.5% against property, 20.6% against the person, 16.9% drug- related and 4.4% other.26 Prevention and Fight Against Crime 2007 With financial support from the Prevention of and Fight Against Crime Programme European Commission – Directorate-General Justice, Freedom And Security
  • 35. 4. The assessment carried outwithin the Juvenile Justice Services in Italy Italian Network for Young Offenders Assessment and Treatment Half of the reports combine assessments undertaken by more than one professional (social worker, psychologist, educator). Otherwise, it is either the social worker (33%) or the educator (17%) writing the report, rather than the psychologist. The reports were analysed in terms of both the structure (opening, central part, conclusions) and its main contents (description of the young person, the offence, the family, the environment, the intervention, the probation programme). The reports are mostly between 2 to 4 pages. They tend to start with a reference to the offence ascribed (88%). The central part describes the young person and his attitudes and behaviours and the conclusions may include general remarks, with no specific suggestions to the court (46%), suggestions to the court (24.4%) or the description of a detailed programme (17%). Information is collected through interviewing the young person and observing his behaviour in relation to the service or to his family (54%). There is very little reference to tests or questionnaires (5%). A mayor source of information is provided by agencies in the community (89%), residential communities (24,.4%) and schools (18.2%). In the description of the young 27
  • 36. The assessment of young offenders in juvenile justice 1 dicembre 2010 services person information on his family, school performance or employment are frequently mentioned, together with a reference to the way the young person behaves in relation to the juvenile justice process. Maturity and fixed traits of behaviours or attitudes (personality) are mentioned in a little less than half of the reports (46%) as is information about the story of the young person, with particular reference to the important events which have occurred in his life. Relationships with peers (38%), liaise time (30%), sexual and friend relationships (15%) are less frequently mentioned. Explicit diagnoses of psychopathologies can be found in only 13% of the reports. The usual style is to report data and information, with no explicit assessment or processing from the professionals’ side, as if the aim is to present the information as objectively as possible. The opinions from the assessing team only become more frequent in cases of references to attitudes of the youth in the relationship to the professionals themselves or the work carried out.. The reports usually start with a reference to the charge. However, within the reports there are no comments about the subjective meaning of the offence,28 Prevention and Fight Against Crime 2007 With financial support from the Prevention of and Fight Against Crime Programme European Commission – Directorate-General Justice, Freedom And Security
  • 37. 4. The assessment carried outwithin the Juvenile Justice Services in Italy Italian Network for Young Offenders Assessment and Treatment or the assessment of re-offending risk factors(mentioned in 32% of the reports). The reports contain little reference to judicial precedents or to the assessment of social dangerousness. In 67% of the reports there is an explicit reference to whether the young person acknowledges the offence he is charged with . There is little information about his understanding of the social consequences of the offence, the damage suffered by the victim, the perceived severity of the offence or, the capacity to understand the meaning of the criminal proceedings. Family circumstances and relationships are frequently mentioned (90%), usually describing family members and the socio-economic circumstances of the family, but references to the environment, and the multi-cultural dimension in case of a foreign youth, are rare. Educational styles and the attitudes towards criminal justice can be found in half of the reports; such information is usually just presented and not commented upon. Previous intervention carried out by local social services or juvenile justice services are described in 83% of reports. Information regarding reactions and attitudes of the young person in relation to the criminal proceedings are 29
  • 38. The assessment of young offenders in juvenile justice 1 dicembre 2010 services frequently mentioned, but when a probation programme is presented, its objectives are usually not discussed. In conclusion, the reports show a prudence in providing information and interpretations about the personal features of the young persons, which may be in an attempt to avoid interfering with the right to defence. The attention to providing information, without expressing interpretations or evaluations, may also express an implicit trend to appreciate and protect a call for help from the young person, in view of granting in the first place a working alliance with the young person, which is a fundamental pre- requisite for the programme that may follow the assessment phase. The attention to the offence is quite clearly the “social motive” of the intervention carried out within the juvenile justice services. The professionals writing the reports seem very careful not to provide interpretations of the offence and its social and personal meaning. Such attitude probably comes from a culture aimed at protecting the young person from possible stigmatization and exploitation by other professionals. However, research in the field shows that a wider understanding is more useful, aimed at promoting a methodological use of such approaches as a30 Prevention and Fight Against Crime 2007 With financial support from the Prevention of and Fight Against Crime Programme European Commission – Directorate-General Justice, Freedom And Security
  • 39. 4. The assessment carried outwithin the Juvenile Justice Services in Italy Italian Network for Young Offenders Assessment and Treatment psyco-socio-pedagogical reading, while avoiding the risk of overlapping with the court. The analysis undertaken opens questions about the way the juvenile justice services interpret the questions posed by the court, how they respond to them, the relationship between information and interpretation and the use of tests and the possible integration between social, educational and psychological knowledge in understanding the young person in relation to his environment. 31
  • 40. The assessment of young offenders in juvenile justice 1 dicembre 2010 services32 Prevention and Fight Against Crime 2007 With financial support from the Prevention of and Fight Against Crime Programme European Commission – Directorate-General Justice, Freedom And Security
  • 41. 5. The psychological work within theJuvenile Justice Services Italian Network for Young Offenders Assessment and Treatment The role of the psychologist The Juvenile Criminal Procedure Code (dating back to 1988) does not determine set roles and tasks that have to be performed by the psychologists working within the juvenile justice services. The importance of the psychologist is indirectly emphasised in the personality assessment requested by the court, to be carried out in collaboration with other professionals, both in terms of personal resources and shortcomings and of environmental, family and social resources. The current tasks performed by the psychologist within the juvenile justice service may be divided in two areas of intervention, related to different judicial/institutional objectives: 1. Assessment, during the course of the proceedings, of liability to prosecution, social dangerousness and circumstances related to the youth and his environment. 33
  • 42. The assessment of young offenders in juvenile justice 1 dicembre 2010 services 2. Support to the young person, both during the criminal proceeding and while serving the sentence. The assessment not only provides information concerning individual, family, environmental and social circumstances, it also specifically addresses circumstances and resources in relation to the actual criminal responses and provisions available. The law seeks professional advise via the assessment of which criminal provisions may be harmful, detrimental or suitable for which personality conditions; which measures, provisions, allocations, decisions may better suit which youths; which levels of containment, detention and control should apply to youths at high risk of fleeing or re-offend etc. . The law requests the psychologist addresses both circumstances and resources of the young youth and circumstances and resources within the environment and the criminal provision. From this perspective, features and shortcomings of the young person are not “data” but rather direct questions, challenges and risks for the judge and the services to consider. From a psychological viewpoint, the assessment may concern: • Risk factors screening e.g. risk for self harming behaviours;34 Prevention and Fight Against Crime 2007 With financial support from the Prevention of and Fight Against Crime Programme European Commission – Directorate-General Justice, Freedom And Security
  • 43. 5. The psychological work within theJuvenile Justice Services Italian Network for Young Offenders Assessment and Treatment • Clinical diagnosis, on the basis of a category (e.g. DSM-IV-TR oriented) or dimensional (e.g. personality-oriented) assessment • Risk and needs from a developmental psychology and psychopathology framework; • The degree of maturity and social dangerousness How psychological work is carried out within the juvenile justice services. In 2009 a law transferred health care functions performed within the juvenile justice services to the National Health Service (NHS), affecting the psychologists’ role and assigned tasks. The NHS is in charge of the psychological intervention, while social workers and educators, and police officers, report into the Ministry of Justice. Within assessments, psychologists may consequently focus on a diagnosis, from a “mental health” perspective, leaving the other professionals with the task of addressing risks and concerns such as the environment and development of the young offender. No guidelines have been created to exactly determine how the Juvenile Criminal Procedure Code should be applied. 35
  • 44. The assessment of young offenders in juvenile justice 1 dicembre 2010 services A study involving the psychologists working within the juvenile justice services Objectives The purpose of the study was to understand if the psychologists work within the juvenile justice services are satisfied or dissatisfied with the objectives, methods, and tests employed in their work. Collate the knowledge and sentiments of psychologists working within the Italian juvenile justice service could also pave the way for an exchange with colleagues at a European level. A sample of psychologists, either consultant or employed by the NHS, working within the juvenile justice services (CPA, IPM, USSM), from the North, the Centre or the South of Italy were questioned in semi-structured interviews. The interviews included questions about: objectives, methods and tests employed, representations of the task and the professional role, the relationship with the young people and the other professionals. The aim was to gain an understanding of the theoretical backgrounds, difficulties and36 Prevention and Fight Against Crime 2007 With financial support from the Prevention of and Fight Against Crime Programme European Commission – Directorate-General Justice, Freedom And Security
  • 45. 5. The psychological work within theJuvenile Justice Services Italian Network for Young Offenders Assessment and Treatment dissatisfactions faced by psychologists working within the juvenile justice services,. Method Thirty psychologists working within the Italian juvenile justice services (CPA, IPM, USSM) were interviewed. Even though the sampling was not random, there was a distribution per work experience, location, type of service, contract (consultant-employee). When the study took place 43 psychologists were employed by the Ministry of Justice (32 directly involved with the young offenders, 11 with other tasks, such as training) and 68 psychologists worked within the Juvenile Justice services as consultants. Table 1. Sample Psychologists 30 (23 F, 7 M) Age 16 (<45 years) 14 (>45 years) Professional 9 psychologists (including 3 specialized in qualification Criminology) 21 psychotherapists Contract 14 employed 16 consultant Service 15 (IPM) 14 (USSM) 37
  • 46. The assessment of young offenders in juvenile justice 1 dicembre 2010 services 1 (CPA only, however, some psychologist working in USSM and IPM also work in CPA) Location 14 (North: Milan, Turin, Genoa, Venice, Treviso) 6 (Centre: Bologna, Florence, Rome) 6 (South: Teramo, Naples, Bari, Catanzaro) 4 (Islands: Cagliari, Sassari, Catania) Number of 18 (<10) years in the 12 (>10) Service Number of 16 (<20) working hours 14 (>20) per week The first part of the interview collected information on the professional role (i.e. anagraphic data, professional qualification, contract, number of working hours per month, service they worked in). The second part of the interview focused on the role of the psychologist within the service, with particular regard to personality,risks and need assessment (i.e. areas of assessment, theoretical framework, use of tests, profiles of the young offenders and their problems, perceived efficacy of the work) within the context of a team work (i.e. relationship with other professionals involved, type of collaboration set up and level of integration, possible conflicts).38 Prevention and Fight Against Crime 2007 With financial support from the Prevention of and Fight Against Crime Programme European Commission – Directorate-General Justice, Freedom And Security
  • 47. 5. The psychological work within theJuvenile Justice Services Italian Network for Young Offenders Assessment and Treatment Activities The psychologists reported the following three activities: • Personality assessment of the young person and psychological support; • Interviews with the youths parents and meetings with social workers and/or educators working in residential communities; • Team meetings and report drawing. The interviewed psychologists were asked to estimate the percentage of time they dedicated to each activity, to broadly understand how the work is divided. There are no differences in the sample according to the type of service, apart from the higher involvement of the parents in USSM. Table 3. Time per activity (broad estimate) Activity Personality assessment and 60% psychological support Team meetings, report drawing 30% Interviews with parents, meetings with 10% social services/educators Most psychologists reported that the main activity they carry out is personality assessments. The psychological support provided during the 39
  • 48. The assessment of young offenders in juvenile justice 1 dicembre 2010 services criminal provision is also highly valued, even though counselling and psychotherapy are not generally considered the focus of the work. All the psychologists interviewed value teamwork and view team meetings as a valuable exchange with the other professionals, during which they aim to gain a shared assessment of the situation and consider a tailored programme. Following team involvement, all psychologists said that they spend a considerable amount of their time within the service writing assessment reports. Psychologists tend not to attend hearings; the relation with the court is often indirect, mediated by the reports and other professionals. The environment-related activities mentioned include interviews with parents and other professionals, mainly those working in the local health services, drug and alcohol provisions and in residential communities. The interviews with the parents are aimed at better assessing the situation. Initially to collecting information about the young person and later to find resources available in the environment. Rarely are parents provided with psychological support.40 Prevention and Fight Against Crime 2007 With financial support from the Prevention of and Fight Against Crime Programme European Commission – Directorate-General Justice, Freedom And Security
  • 49. 5. The psychological work within theJuvenile Justice Services Italian Network for Young Offenders Assessment and Treatment The psychologists working in USSM tend to carry out more environment- related work (e.g. Interviews with parents or educators) than those working in IPM and CPA (who tend to split their time between team meetings and clinical work). The clinical work with the young person in general, and the assessment in particular, even though it may be seen as the main activity undertaken, is actually carried out for little more than half of the working time. Only a third of the psychologists interviewed thought that the amount of shared time was adequate and satisfactory. Most thought that it would be advisable to extend the amount of time spent in direct clinical work with the young person, especially providing psychological support (“It would be so much better to have time to support the young person all throughout the criminal provision”), but not to the detriment of teamwork and environment- related work, which were deemed to be equally important. To conclude, the main problem appears to be a lack of time, due to the few human resources available and the inadequate number of working hours. Under such circumstances, some bureaucratic duties are regarded as a 41
  • 50. The assessment of young offenders in juvenile justice 1 dicembre 2010 services nuisance, as they steal time from the clinical work (“Bureaucratic duties are an irritation! They steal time from the work with the young people”). The primary task The psychologists reported that their primary task should concern clinical work, i.e. the assessment and the psychological support of the juvenile, combined with the work carried out within the service by the other professionals. The importance of providing an integrated intervention is confirmed by the amount of time reserved for meetings. Some emphasised that the psychologist brings together the professionals within the team (“The psychologist is like a bonding agent for the team”). This is because the psychologist provides a reading of the situation that is different from the social or the educational and is useful for a shared assessment and a tailored programme. Differences can be found in the role of the psychologists, depending on the service they work in. In CPA the psychologists tend to provide assessment, in IPM they tend to assist the young person to deal with the restriction of his or her freedom and promote the proposal for substitutive measures; while42 Prevention and Fight Against Crime 2007 With financial support from the Prevention of and Fight Against Crime Programme European Commission – Directorate-General Justice, Freedom And Security
  • 51. 5. The psychological work within theJuvenile Justice Services Italian Network for Young Offenders Assessment and Treatment the psychologists in USSM tend to pursue a treatment aim, by gradually motivating the juvenile who is undertake a probation order. There is a shared opinion that it is possible to combine the objectives of the psychological work with those of the criminal institution, even though it is not always easy. The young offends lack of motivation towards the psychological support may hamper combined work, as it interferes with the construction of a basic trust relationship. Also, the objectives of psychological work may be different from those pursued by the criminal system. The assigned task to provide the court with useful information, in order to deliver a suitable order, may require an in-depth assessment of the youths personality, his developmental needs and resources, possible psycho- pathologies, level of maturity, recidivism risk, availability of treatment and the provision/programme best suiting to the youths circumstances. From a strictly clinical perspective, the psychologist may limit himself to providing information on needs and resources, general elements concerning the youths personality and a sustainable provision, in order to help the judge deliver an order. The psychologist may also define a clinical 43
  • 52. The assessment of young offenders in juvenile justice 1 dicembre 2010 services diagnosis, the risk of re-offending and how the programme could be best carried out. A specific issue concerns the difficulty in combining the time of the psychological intervention with that of the criminal provision. The prevailing idea is that the time needed for psychotherapeutic and developmental changes to occur is usually longer than the criminal provision. Only in rare cases is the opposite found i.e. that a prolonged criminal provision may interfere with the developmental needs of the young person. Another issue is the general lack of human resources and time available, preventing the professional from undertaking a sufficiently long and deep assessment and treatment. In some cases the court orders a widening of the assessment, or the young offender is provided with extensive treatment, regardless of the actual shortage of resources available. In the background and , not always explicitly mentioned, is the issue of how definitive the assessment should be, in terms of the diagnosis provided and the recommended programme; and, for its part, to which extend the court should order a specific intervention to be provided (e.g. tests to be44 Prevention and Fight Against Crime 2007 With financial support from the Prevention of and Fight Against Crime Programme European Commission – Directorate-General Justice, Freedom And Security
  • 53. 5. The psychological work within theJuvenile Justice Services Italian Network for Young Offenders Assessment and Treatment administered, frequency of treatment sessions), entailing the risk of each part exceeding its competences. Another challenge born out of combining clinical objectives and the tasks assigned by the criminal institution is preserving public security. Public security may necessitate control duties and lead to the extension of pre-trial measures, possibly little syntonic with the youths developmental need for autonomy. On the other hand, the psychologists are only too aware that the compulsory frame of the interventionis actually very helpful, as it provides a framework and a setting, essential to the understanding of the meaning of the offence put in place and, more generally, to increasing the juveniles self-awareness. No significant differences emerged between psychologists working in CPA, USSM or IPM. They all agree, as a general principle, that the psychological work is compatible with the task assigned by the institution, even though a lack of time and a certain effort in liaising with the court’s “language” and demands were emphasised. 45
  • 54. The assessment of young offenders in juvenile justice 1 dicembre 2010 services Theoretical frame The psychologists working within the juvenile justice services have different theoretical backgrounds. The study found the psycho-dynamic model was the most popular, while the systemic and the cognitive-behavioural frameworks were also well represented: Table 4. Theoretical frameworks Psycho-dynamic 13 Cognitive- 7 Behavioural Systemic 6 Other 4 It is important to emphasise that beyond the general theoretical background, many psychologists did not mention a specific training in criminology, legal psychology, or developmental psychology.46 Prevention and Fight Against Crime 2007 With financial support from the Prevention of and Fight Against Crime Programme European Commission – Directorate-General Justice, Freedom And Security
  • 55. 5. The psychological work within theJuvenile Justice Services Italian Network for Young Offenders Assessment and Treatment Personality assessment The psychologists value both a comprehensive personality assessment of the young offender and an assessment of specific areas related to the criminal setting. For instance, the assessment of the resources available (e.g. In affective, cognitive and relational terms) needs to be considered along with an assessment of impulsiveness and aggression features, the youth’s availability to understanding the meaning of the offence, his motivation to engage in a programme and the psycho pathological risk. While the areas more specifically related to the criminal setting depend upon the service the psychologist works in, the personality assessment in general terms is a shared task. Table 5. Areas of personality assessment Cognitive aspects (e.g. intelligence, cognitive impairment, capacity for self reflection) Affective development Social identity Psycho-pathological risk 47
  • 56. The assessment of young offenders in juvenile justice 1 dicembre 2010 services Social background and family Impulsiveness / aggression Self harm Availability for working on the offence Competence to stand trial and to cope with detention Motivation to change and to engage in a programme Availability to treatment Tests The psychologists interviewed tend to rely on the clinical interview; two thirds also use tests. The tests commonly used are listed in table 6. Table. Tests more widely used Semi-structured interviews (SCID II) Questionnaires (Achenbachs YSR e TRF, MMPI) Cognitive tests (WAIS, WISC, Raven Matrixes) Graphic test (D.A.P. Test, F.D.T. test) Projective tests (Rorschach, TAT, Blacky Pictures)48 Prevention and Fight Against Crime 2007 With financial support from the Prevention of and Fight Against Crime Programme European Commission – Directorate-General Justice, Freedom And Security
  • 57. 5. The psychological work within theJuvenile Justice Services Italian Network for Young Offenders Assessment and Treatment Other tests mentioned are graphic tests, the Moral Disengagement Test, a test on object relationships, a self report questionnaire named “OSQR”, the Multidimensional Self Concept Scale, a test focusing on anxiety, phobia, depression and hysteria such as the “MQR”, the Facial Action Coding System, the SCL-90-R. While the use of some tests, such as Rorschach is widespread, there appears to be a local culture on the other tests, regardless of the general location or type of service. There was no relationship found between the psychologists’ theoretical backgrounds and tests. Most psychologists tend to use both projective and cognitive tests, regardless of their theoretical background, even though projective tests in general, and the Rorschach test in particular, tend to be used by psychologists with a psycho-dynamic approach. Team work Assessment teams include psychologists, social workers and educators. Some differences emerge in relation to the type of service that takes place. Psychologists working in USSM tend to cooperate most frequently with social workers (sometimes with educators), while psychologists working in IPM and CPA tend to cooperate primarily with educators, and then with 49
  • 58. The assessment of young offenders in juvenile justice 1 dicembre 2010 services social workers. The study also found that psychologists work with a range of other professionals including: police officers, cultural mediators, teachers and professionals working in the community. Most interviews reported a general feeling of satisfaction in relation to teamwork, even though difficulties concerning communication, language, reciprocal competences and competitive objectives were mentioned. The interviewed psychologists commonly complained about: the lack of appreciation their role attains from other professionals, excessive discretion in the referrals, and, above all, lack of time and inadequate resources. In this respect, no differences emerge in relation to the type of service and all the issues are equally mentioned. Table 7. Issues involving team work Inadequate resources 13 Little appreciation of the role of the psychologist (no 11 acknowledgement, little team work, discretion in the referrals) Troublesome integration (different language, competences 6 and objectives, role competition)50 Prevention and Fight Against Crime 2007 With financial support from the Prevention of and Fight Against Crime Programme European Commission – Directorate-General Justice, Freedom And Security
  • 59. 5. The psychological work within theJuvenile Justice Services Italian Network for Young Offenders Assessment and Treatment Having adequate time available was considered a requirement for an effective integration of the work undertaken. Even though combining competences is highly valued, as it provides a wider understanding of the young person, setting boundaries in competences and roles may result in overlapping and confusion, which is detrimental to the work. Some of the psychologists’ interviewed explained that they perceive a lack of appreciation of their role and function makes it difficult to work with other professionals. The psychologists who expressed this view tend to display more frustration than the rest of the sample. The young offenders The profiles of the young offenders vary according to the type of service the psychologists work in and their location in Italy. While in big cities, such as Milan, psychologists equally work with Italian and foreign young offenders. In smaller cities and in the South of Italy, Italian young offenders tend to be referred, especially in Sardinia, where the work almost exclusively involves Italians. 51
  • 60. The assessment of young offenders in juvenile justice 1 dicembre 2010 services In IPM, psychologists tend to work mainly with foreign young offenders, while in USSM and CPA psychologists worked with Italians proportionally to the prevalence of foreigners and Italians within the services. In USSM social workers make referrals to the psychologists for only some of the juveniles undergoing criminal proceedings, those willing to undergo a probation measure. In CPA the psychologist is called by the educator in case of need, mainly for the assessment of Italian young offenders displaying severe issues requiring further and qualified attention. According to the psychologists interviewed, the main problems amongst Italian young offenders are: developmental issues, social privation and mental health disorders. The main problem of foreign young offenders is social privation, relating to the process of immigration and integration within Italy. The study found that commonly identified developmental problems in Italian young offenders were: personality disorders, behavioural problems, poor impulse control, poor tolerance to frustration and substance abuse. The social problems mentioned, common to both Italian and foreign young offenders, were the presence of a multi-problematic social and family52 Prevention and Fight Against Crime 2007 With financial support from the Prevention of and Fight Against Crime Programme European Commission – Directorate-General Justice, Freedom And Security
  • 61. 5. The psychological work within theJuvenile Justice Services Italian Network for Young Offenders Assessment and Treatment background (i.e. organized crime, severe economic problems, deviant family culture). The prevalent representation is that getting involved in the criminal system may be the only choice for a foreign young person, given the lack of resources and alternatives available. Crime is seen as a more deliberate choice for Italian young offenders, the outcome of interacting psychological and environmental factors. The Italian young offender is indeed described as more severely disturbed from a psychological and psycho-pathological point of view than the foreign young offender, thus more difficult to treat (a number of such Italian young offenders had undergo various programmes, and failed them all). Dissatisfactions and possible improvements All the psychologists interviewed indicate that the most satisfactory aspect of their work is the relationship with the young people. The clinical relationship with the young offenders seems reassuring in comparison to the wider intervention within the juvenile justice services, which seen at times to be wasteful and undefined. The main problems reported by the psychologists revolve around the institutional setting and include specific issues such as the difficulty in 53
  • 62. The assessment of young offenders in juvenile justice 1 dicembre 2010 services teamwork, the fragmented nature of the work, the lack of cohesion in the psychologists group and the shortage of adequate time and resources. The difficulty in combining work taking place in prison with community work, both in terms of the limited availability of the family and the environment, and a shortage in the resources available, is emphasised by IPM professionals. The psychologists commonly feel unsatisfied or ineffective in relation with the environment, rather than in objectives and methods involving the clinical work. The relation with the young offenders himself is not an issue either. Possible improvements are usually related to the organization area. Most psychologists think that the organization of the service may be improved by providing a more systematic coordination in teamwork, within the service (within psychologists, between psychologists, social workers and educators) and external to the service (coordination with the local social services). They also emphasized the importance of having their role appreciated, when sometimes it is perceived as accessory (e.g. the excessive discretion in the referrals, the waste of useful information, the lack of adequate spaces for clinical interviews and the lack of data processing systems). The54 Prevention and Fight Against Crime 2007 With financial support from the Prevention of and Fight Against Crime Programme European Commission – Directorate-General Justice, Freedom And Security
  • 63. 5. The psychological work within theJuvenile Justice Services Italian Network for Young Offenders Assessment and Treatment psychologists also requested an increase in the number of working hours, as currently the hours do not adequately cover the various level of intervention. A sense of non belonging to the service appeared to be widespread; the feeling that ones function is deemed accessory, rather than essential. This was in stark contrast to the involvement and the satisfaction the psychologist attained through the assessment and treatment of the young people themselves. Other suggestions for possible improvements entailed the involvement of the family of the young offender and the liaison with the local social services; the provision of group work and more diversified psychological and educational support paths. The perceived efficacy of the psychological work Most psychologists think that their intervention is largely effective. Various meanings may be attached to the word “effective”, falling in two categories: clinical work with the young offenders/team work and rehabilitation in the community. Most psychologists report that an intervention is effective when changes are achieved, even though they may be quite difficult to define. 55
  • 64. The assessment of young offenders in juvenile justice 1 dicembre 2010 services The efficacy of the clinical work is rooted in the trust relationship that is established between the psychologist and the young offender in which the young persons needs are addressed. Motivating the young person is reported by many psychologists as proof of the efficacy of the work, as if the acknowledgement of ones problems and need for help were an outcome in themselves, almost regardless of the expected changes to follow. The psychological work should be focused on improving the adolescents self-awareness, his representations, strengths and developmental needs. Another shared view is that the criminal provision stops the young offenders tendency to act out, thus becoming a chance for the young person and his family to pursue both an understanding and to improve individual and social resources, so that developmental impasses may be overcome. Consequently, the encounter with the court is not only seen as a provision of a personality diagnostically oriented assessment but also the chance for the young person to think about himself and becoming more self-aware, which may promote a change in itself, both for the adolescent and for his family.56 Prevention and Fight Against Crime 2007 With financial support from the Prevention of and Fight Against Crime Programme European Commission – Directorate-General Justice, Freedom And Security
  • 65. 5. The psychological work within theJuvenile Justice Services Italian Network for Young Offenders Assessment and Treatment During the interviews, the psychologists emphasised the importance of the assessment, in improving the young person’s awareness. The psychologists perceived this function to be more important than providing the court with an extensive personality assessment of the youth, for the court to deliver an order in line with the developmental needs of the young person. A general sense of efficacy was reported through having been able to work in a team, i.e. having come to a shared understanding of the young person and formulated a tailored programme, such as a probation programme. However, it is important to emphasise that not all the psychologists interviewed linked the perceived efficacy of the intervention with a positive outcome on a practical and external level. Many psychologists mention the importance of a personality change, regardless of a positive outcome of the criminal provision, because they think that external and uncontrollable variables, environment-related may affect its outcome. (“The young offender may have done very well therapeutically, even though the outcome of the probation was negative). Sometimes the positive outcome, from a psychological perspective, is not related to recidivism risk. Other psychologists emphasise that the efficacy of 57
  • 66. The assessment of young offenders in juvenile justice 1 dicembre 2010 services the psychological intervention depends upon the criminal setting, and consequently has to be related to a reduction in re-offending rates. Generally speaking, a psychological intervention is deemed effective when it produces a change, either internal or involving the environment. IPM and CPA feedback received from the community is positively valued, when the young offender, after the experience in prison, seems more able to modify his lifestyle and to engage in a different future. In USSM the psychologists undertake long-term work with the young offenders, by supporting them throughout the criminal provision; consequently, a psychological outcome is considered positive when it enables the youth to overcome the impasse in his developmental path, by promoting his understanding of his own circumstances and the improvement of his competences. Generally speaking, the psychologists working within the juvenile justice services think that working in a well-coordinated team, both on the “internal world” and on the resources of the environment, is of paramount importance.58 Prevention and Fight Against Crime 2007 With financial support from the Prevention of and Fight Against Crime Programme European Commission – Directorate-General Justice, Freedom And Security
  • 67. 5. The psychological work within theJuvenile Justice Services Italian Network for Young Offenders Assessment and Treatment In contrast, the psychologists think that a negative outcome is related to the lack of a motivation on the young persons side, when a probation measure is accepted only on an exploitable basis. Further issues that lead to a negative outcome are the shortages within the service or the community, so that it becomes impossible to set up a tailored provision and to carry it out. When integrated team work is not available, it leads to dissatisfaction on the psychologist’s side. Beyond the obstacles related to the juvenile justice setting, the psychologists interviewed mentioned difficulties related to the severity of the situation, either to severe psycho-pathological problems on the youths side, or to issues involving the family and the social background. Rarely is the poor outcome traced back to a mistake in the psychologists assessment. In conclusion, the psychologists think that their work is effective when it is well integrated with that of the other professionals, either working in the service (i.e. team work with the social worker and the educator) or in the 59
  • 68. The assessment of young offenders in juvenile justice 1 dicembre 2010 services community (e.g. professionals of the local social services). However, it is important to emphasize that recidivism is rarely an indicator of failure. Psychologists specifically think that a positive outcome, from a psychological viewpoint, is related to the establishment of a trusting relationship, motivating the young person both to engage in the psychological work and in the rehabilitation process. The psychological work is aimed at promoting a positive social identity and enabling the youth to overcome the impasse to his development. The psychologists tend to see their contribution as overall effective, i.e. first of all (at a clinical level) through promoting an internal change and an increased self awareness; secondly, through the cooperation and the coordination with the other professionals to develop a tailored programme to be identified and implemented. Only rarely is a good outcome related to a reduction in the recidivism rate. Training The exchange with colleagues mainly takes place on cases-by-case basis, with the hand-over of information concerning the young offender following a60 Prevention and Fight Against Crime 2007 With financial support from the Prevention of and Fight Against Crime Programme European Commission – Directorate-General Justice, Freedom And Security
  • 69. 5. The psychological work within theJuvenile Justice Services Italian Network for Young Offenders Assessment and Treatment change in the criminal provision or the transfer of the youth from a juvenile jail to another. Rarely do methodological or theoretical exchanges take place, even though about half of the psychologists interviewed recently underwent some training, particularly those employed by the NHS, on the occasion of the recent institutional change. The contract of consulting psychologists does not include training. All the professionals who attended training sessions, on themes such as adolescence issues or the use of psycho-diagnostic tests, found them useful in their work. The professionals who were not involved in training emphasized that it would be useful and desirable for training to be provided. There are a number of themes the psychologists want to know more about: adolescence-related issues; methodologies and assessment tests; the experience of other colleagues working within the juvenile justice services. Some also mentioned that it would be useful to have access to supervision with particularly severe situations. Table 8. Suggestions for training 61
  • 70. The assessment of young offenders in juvenile justice 1 dicembre 2010 services Foreign youths: migration and the multicultural approach Personality assessment: objectives, methods, tests The treatment of antisocial disorders in different environments (e.g. In residential communities) Criminal justice proceedings code Exchange of methods and tests employed with the various juvenile justice services Substance abuse Therapeutic and working alliance with the young offender and motivation to the psychological work Supervision on particularly severe situations A request for training strongly emerges, mainly seen as an exchange of experiences, in order to achieve a shared system of practices and methods. Such a request seems related to a general feeling of isolation within the juvenile justice services. Even though well integrated team work (including social worker, educators, and professionals from the local health services) seems essential, it tends to be perceived as difficult to achieve, not very gratifying, and unable to replace an exchange with other psychologist colleagues.62 Prevention and Fight Against Crime 2007 With financial support from the Prevention of and Fight Against Crime Programme European Commission – Directorate-General Justice, Freedom And Security
  • 71. 5. The psychological work within theJuvenile Justice Services Italian Network for Young Offenders Assessment and Treatment The psychologist often feels arbitrary or inconstantly involved, due to the shortage of adequate working hours, or not fully appreciated in his specific competences, leading to the work becoming scattered and fragmented. The difficulties do not involve the tasks assigned by the institution which are generally regarded as being compatible with the psychological work, but rather, involve the organization level and the relationship with the other professionals. Most psychologists share this opinion, regardless of the service they belong to (IPM, CPA, USSM), their contract (employed/consulting) and location of the service (North, Centre or South of Italy). However it must be noted that psychologists working in USSM appear to be more satisfied. Generally speaking, the psychologists feel isolated both within the institution and professionally, due to the fact that there is no set model of intervention, and no specific professional training. From the Ministry of Justice to the NHS Psychologists are ambivalent about the change in department from the Ministry of Justice to the NHS. Two positive effects of becoming part of the 63
  • 72. The assessment of young offenders in juvenile justice 1 dicembre 2010 services NHS include having greater professional acknowledgement and responsibility. Many psychologists value being in a position that provides clear acknowledgement of a defined professional identity. Some emphasize that under the NHS, it is now possible to have an exchange with colleagues. A general sense of uncertainty exists with regard to the undefined relation between providing a diagnosis, in a mental health perspective, and a personality assessment, in a criminal setting perspective. Complying with a “mental health” model, seems more related to an increased acknowledgement of the psychologists role than to the feeling that the two perspectives are not compatible. Most psychologists have experienced a sense of exclusion and a lack of professional acknowledgement within the juvenile justice services. Work satisfaction is only provided through the relationship with the young offender. An open question remains “Is it possible and/or useful to combine an institutional-related intervention (i.e. the personality assessment requested by the art. 9) to a mental-health-based provision (i.e. diagnosis-and- treatment related)?.64 Prevention and Fight Against Crime 2007 With financial support from the Prevention of and Fight Against Crime Programme European Commission – Directorate-General Justice, Freedom And Security
  • 73. 6. The assessment of antisocial behavior within adevelopmental frame Italian Network for Young Offenders Assessment and Treatment Even though there are a number of theories explain antisocial behaviours, empirical data supporting the different theoretical hypotheses tend to progressively converge, so that some points may be given as granted. A survey of such results seems to suggest that different theories may actually explain complementary, rather than incompatible, aspects of the issue: integration is particularly possible when a developmental perspective is adopted. To understand criminal behaviour (Lahey, Moffitt, Caspi, 2003) it is important to consider the combination of an individual predisposition, based on specific temperamental traits, such as low self esteem, negative sensitiveness, liability in impulse control and insensitivity – with negative educational interactions during childhood (Hare, 2003; Lahey, Waldman, 2003). Inadequate educational styles and parental care quickly transform such temperamental predispositions to behavioural problems in childhood, in an action-reaction scheme often becoming a vicious circle of coercion 65
  • 74. The assessment of young offenders in juvenile justice 1 dicembre 2010 services (Snyder, Reid, Patterson, 2003) where the lack of an empathic understanding of the child’s needs and a deficiency in symbolic processing become central features (Fonagy, Target, 2002). Early educational interactions represent an important precursor of antisocial behaviours in adolescence. Dysfunctional relational schemes or expectation schemes on interpersonal relationships may play a crucial role in behavioural problems in childhood leading to antisocial disorders in adolescence. Such schemes generally show that the tendency to overvalue hostility in interpersonal relationships, with regards to both familiar people and mostly with strangers, and to consider that others are responsible for the events occurring, rather than oneself. (Dodge, Lochmann, Laird, 2002). Systems of representation of oneself and the other, based on impulsiveness, the tendency to a processing style in persecutory rather that in depressive terms, to little empathy, to overvalue oneself and to undervalue the other, become of increased importance when a redefinition of oneself takes place in adolescence, in the development of a social identity (Moffitt, 2003).66 Prevention and Fight Against Crime 2007 With financial support from the Prevention of and Fight Against Crime Programme European Commission – Directorate-General Justice, Freedom And Security
  • 75. 6. The assessment of antisocial behavior within adevelopmental frame Italian Network for Young Offenders Assessment and Treatment The adolescent may consequently use his antisocial behaviour as a means for defining his social identity (Novelletto, 2000), to assert himself in social terms and to create a social reputation, mainly within the peer group (Emler, Reicher, 1995). Therefore, the actual antisocial behaviour is directly related to the person’s motivations and set of values (the role ideal), and their relationship to the opportunities provided (or not provided) by the social environment, responding to the adolescent’s developmental tasks (Wikstrom, Sampson, 2003) From this viewpoint, it is essential to consider, as the basis of the antisocial behaviour, the desires and the values of the youth, and the way he interprets interpersonal relationships as he on carrys out of his developmental needs. Juvenile crime may be the expression of a rule-breaking attitude in adolescence. It may alternatively be the result of behavioural problems or an antisocial personality, or of a more severe psychopathology. In most cases, professionals working within the juvenile justice services are confronted with severe antisocial disorders. In any case, both social problems and psycho-pathological disorders may be seen as different forms of a difficulty for the adolescent to develop a social identity, i.e. an Ego 67
  • 76. The assessment of young offenders in juvenile justice 1 dicembre 2010 services ideal, an idea of oneself and one’s value in relation to being a male or a female. Antisocial behaviours may be seen as the expression of a failure in the process of taking responsibility for one’s behaviour: an insufficient development in the capacity to control one’s behaviour and to feel guilty, a problem in the development of one’s identity or a distorted perception of the hostility from the other (jeopardising the development of a social image) may undermine such developmental process (Maggiolini, 2002). Combining the different theoretical approaches may be easier, when a general perspective of developmental psychopathology is adopted. Developmental psychopathology is particularly helpful in understanding antisocial behaviour, its onset and its development throughout adolescence and adulthood, as it shows how crime may both be the result of different developmental paths and at the same time open to different developmental paths and expressions. A developmental psychopathology approach leads to giving great importance to the environment, overcoming the idea that the adolescent “holds” a disorder: antisocial behaviours are seen rather as the result of negative interaction between developmental needs and environment’s responses, where the representations of the individual concerning his needs and the responses from others are of paramount68 Prevention and Fight Against Crime 2007 With financial support from the Prevention of and Fight Against Crime Programme European Commission – Directorate-General Justice, Freedom And Security
  • 77. 6. The assessment of antisocial behavior within adevelopmental frame Italian Network for Young Offenders Assessment and Treatment importance. The general principles of developmental psychopathology (i.e. equifinality, multi-finality contextualism and constructivism) seem particularly helpful in understanding of behavioural disorders in adolescence (Cicchetti, Cohen, 1995; Cummings, Davies, Campbell, 2000). The ultimate goal of the criminal proceedings against young offenders (DPR n.448/88) is to always support the development of the youth, regardless of the severity of the issue hampering his social integration, be it adolescent developmental conflicts, personality or behavioural disorders or mental health disorders affecting one’s perception of reality. From this viewpoint, detention centres, residential communities, therapeutic communities or probation orders may all be seen as strategies pursuing the same general aim, rather than belonging to different domains (care-punishment). In psycho-social terms, juvenile crimes have various level of severity, (even though each category may include different levels of severity) • Behaviours at risk, more than actual offences even though they might be classified as offences in some countries, such as vagrancy; • Status-related offences, where a given behaviour becomes an offence in relation to the age of the person who does it, such as sexual intercourse below a given age; 69
  • 78. The assessment of young offenders in juvenile justice 1 dicembre 2010 services • Offences not entailing the presence of a victim, such as drug possession or dealing; • Offences entailing the presence of a victim, with no direct violence involved, such as shop-lifting, theft or burglary • Offences entailing violence on a victim, such as sexual abuse, robbery or homicide. Even though different offences may be related to different psycho- pathologies, most of the times the professionals working within the juvenile justice services deal with antisocial personality disorders, if the definition provided by the DSM-IV-R for adults is employed. However, within the juvenile justice services a DSM IV diagnosis of conduct disorder or antisocial personality disorder (described as a pervasive pattern of disregard for and violation of the rights of the others, occurring from 15 years of age and continuing into adulthood) is not discriminative enough. In addition, such a classification is been criticized by many authors on theoretical grounds, as it seems excessively based on the observation of the behaviour.70 Prevention and Fight Against Crime 2007 With financial support from the Prevention of and Fight Against Crime Programme European Commission – Directorate-General Justice, Freedom And Security
  • 79. 6. The assessment of antisocial behavior within adevelopmental frame Italian Network for Young Offenders Assessment and Treatment For instance, Hare (1970) emphasizes that sociopathy, or antisocial personality disorder, and psychopathy, should not be mistaken. Sociopathy and antisocial personality disorders describe a variety of conditions such as sexual deviations, alcoholism, asocial and antisocial behaviours, not necessarily crime-related. On the other hand, psychopathy, defined by both behavioural criteria and personality traits, more appropriately portrays delinquents displaying the highest risk of re-offending and committing the most severe offences, but who are not necessarily impulsive or antisocial (so much that some may actually be well integrated in society, holding responsible positions). Hare found two fixed factors in psychopathy: the first is aggressive narcissism, i.e. egocentrism, insensitiveness and lack of remorse (related to narcissistic and histrionic personalities, displaying low levels of anxiety and low empathy for the others). The second factor is an antisocial lifestyle: irresponsible, non conventional, antisocial, impulsive lifestyle, where the individual is often sensation-seeking; it is strongly related to criminal behaviours, low I.Q., low socio-economic status and low education. Frick, Barry & Bodin (2000) found similar factors while analysing disruptive behaviours in childhood. Looking for precursors of psychopathy in childhood, two personality dimensions were found: insensitivity (or 71
  • 80. The assessment of young offenders in juvenile justice 1 dicembre 2010 services coldness) and poor impulsiveness management. Insensitivity include the following: the child does not care about school, does not feel mean or guilty, has superficial and ingenuine emotions, does not show feelings or emotions, acts in seductive and insincere manners, does not care about the other people’s feelings. A lack of impulse control may be seen in circumstances where a child tend to boast, to get angry when corrected, think that he is more important than the others, behave without thinking about the consequences, reproach the others’ for his own mistakes, mock the others, be engaged in dangerous, risky or illicit activities, change his friends frequently and get easily bored. Both insensitive children and those with little impulse control show behavioural problems, but it is insensitivity and a lack of emotional response that are strongly related to an early onset of behavioural issues (a mayor difference between adults and children is that narcissism in children tend to be more impulsiveness-related, while in adult it is more insensitivity- related). Similarly, even though most adolescents imprisoned meet the criteria for a conduct or antisocial disorder (about 8 out of ten); only 3 out of 10 meet the criteria for psychopathy (Forth, Mailloux, 2000)72 Prevention and Fight Against Crime 2007 With financial support from the Prevention of and Fight Against Crime Programme European Commission – Directorate-General Justice, Freedom And Security
  • 81. 6. The assessment of antisocial behavior within adevelopmental frame Italian Network for Young Offenders Assessment and Treatment While no differences emerge in relation to gender or age, psychopathy is strongly related to narcissistic, antisocial or borderline personality traits (the impulsive cluster of antisocial disorders). Family factors related to psychopathy are the following: neglect or physical, sexual or emotional abuse during childhood, family conflict, antisocial or alcoholic parents. From an educational viewpoint, lack of parental control, incoherent discipline and early separations during infancy are all predictive factors. Jones and Westen (2010) recently examined the application of the antisocial personality disorder (ASP) diagnosis to adolescents and investigated the possibility of subtypes of ASP adolescents. The first Q-Factor, psychopathic-like, captures the construct of the fledgling psychopath. Adolescents who strongly match the psychopathic prototype are emotionally cold, oppositional, lacking in empathy or remorse (i.e. they experience little or no remorse for harm or injury caused to others and seem unable or unwilling to understand or respond to others’ needs or feelings), dishonest, callous, angry, violent, narcissistic, and manipulative. They are rebellious or defiant towards authority figures and tend to be quick to disagree. They are unresponsive to consequences and tend to engage in criminal behaviour. Further, these adolescents seem to derive satisfaction 73
  • 82. The assessment of young offenders in juvenile justice 1 dicembre 2010 services and gratification from their antisocial behaviour and they derive satisfaction or self esteem from being, or being seen as “bad” or “tough”. The second personality subtype, Socially Withdrawn, represents adolescents who are peer neglected and lack close friendships and social support. Those in the socially withdrawn group not only exhibit social skills deficits, but are also depressed, anhedonic, bored, angry, rebellious, and impulsive. They have an external locus of control, low self-esteem, and an immature and ill-defined self-concept and a little psychological insight into their own motives, behaviour etc. They tend to feel like an outcast or outsider, unhappy, depressed or despondent and appear to find little or no pleasure in life’s activities. They can abuse alcohol or drugs, they tend to feel helpless and powerless at a mercy of forces outside their control and they tend to surround themselves with peers who are delinquent or deeply alienated. The authors labelled the third Q-Factor Impulsive-Histrionic due to the mix of rash, reckless, theatrical, and exaggerated emotions common to this subgroup. Impulsive and impulsive-Histrionic adolescents behave impulsively in a variety of domains: interpersonal relationships, sexual interactions, and substance use (i.e. they tend to be sexually seductive or provocative, to surround themselves with delinquent peers and their74 Prevention and Fight Against Crime 2007 With financial support from the Prevention of and Fight Against Crime Programme European Commission – Directorate-General Justice, Freedom And Security
  • 83. 6. The assessment of antisocial behavior within adevelopmental frame Italian Network for Young Offenders Assessment and Treatment relationships tend to be unstable, chaotic and rapidly changing). They seek to be the centre of attention and will often use their sexuality to further this endeavour; as a result, they may become rapidly involved in abusive, dysfunctional, or inappropriate sexual relationships. These adolescents do not have stable self-concepts but seem to derive pleasure from delinquent activities. Emotionally dysregulated adolescents, the fourth personality subtype, struggle to control their emotions, which tend to change rapidly and unpredictably. Accompanying the emotional escalations that typify this subgroup are problems with splitting people into good and bad without being able to integrate emotionally discordant features of their personality or behaviour, cognitive disorganization under stress, impulsivity, inappropriate anger, and attention seeking. These adolescents have immature coping styles and are deficits in understanding the behaviour of others. They are prone to outbursts of anger which are out of proportion to the situation, and when upset, they have trouble perceiving both positive and negative qualities in the same person at the same time; they also tend, when distressed, to revert to earlier, less mature ways of coping (i.e. clinging, whining, having tantrums). The fifth Q-Factor, Attentionally Dysregulated, represents the highest functioning subtype, characterized by a combination of both positive 75
  • 84. The assessment of young offenders in juvenile justice 1 dicembre 2010 services psychological features and clinical problems associated with ADHD. The attentionally dysregulated constellation includes difficulties with maintaining attention, distractibility, hyperactivity, restlessness, and impulsiveness. In addition, these adolescents frequently lie, perform below their expected level in school, blame others, and ignore consequences. Alongside these deficiencies, however, attentionally dysregulated adolescents have a number of strengths: they are well-liked, have a good sense of humour, and interact appropriately with others. Not only are cognitive issue (e.g. not thinking about the consequences of one’s behaviours) related to the difficulties in impulse control that can be found in antisocial behaviours, it is mainly narcissistic issues (e.g. boasting and mocking). In a psychoanalytic approach, Kernberg (1999) located juvenile antisocial behaviours within the narcissistic spectrum. In the author’s view, during the identity crisis which occurs in adolescence, even though it may be difficult to combine different aspects of oneself and of significant others, there is a capacity to have a realistic picture of the others, to have interests and to engage in a relationship with others. A tendency to dominate or to be dominated, lack of empathy in interpersonal relationship, a grandiose attitude (i.e. Impudent, feeling superior, displaying unwarranted76 Prevention and Fight Against Crime 2007 With financial support from the Prevention of and Fight Against Crime Programme European Commission – Directorate-General Justice, Freedom And Security
  • 85. 6. The assessment of antisocial behavior within adevelopmental frame Italian Network for Young Offenders Assessment and Treatment ambitions) and behavioural issues, such as difficulties at school, underpin a narcissistic disorder. A more severe level of narcissistic disorder is malignant narcissism, where a narcissistic disorder and antisocial behaviours overlap. Poor school performance and bad behaviour at school go together with ego-syntonic aggression and, often, paranoid orientation. In some cases such hostility, aggression and mistrust produces a proper antisocial disorder. Rule-breaking behaviours during adolescence are not always related to similar issues during childhood. Empirical research shows that it is important to distinguish between young offenders who’s rule-breaking behaviour is adolescence-restricted (widespread, non pathological, with a prevalence of a social motive and little aggressive) and young offenders who’s behaviours widens to a life span (rare, pathological, often aggressive, with a prevalence of neuro-biological and hereditary issues). In addition to the two groups mentioned, a third group includes moderately chronic isolated and socially withdrawn young offenders, whose antisocial behaviour is intermittent (Moffitt, 2003). Another possibility, in the work with young offenders, is to face someone who’s offences are the expression of a mental health disorder, with a loss of 77
  • 86. The assessment of young offenders in juvenile justice 1 dicembre 2010 services contact with reality, rather than a personality or behavioural one, even though it may temporary or related to his group culture. Individual psychopathologies intertwine with environment-related psycho- pathologies. Some crime is related to antisocial culture, where social motives become more relevant than the individual’s psychological or psychopathogical ones: their rule-breaking behaviours are not antisocial; they actually represent a good integration within the group they belong to. Other adolescents, such as the foreign unaccompanied minors, may offend in order to survive in the host country. The relationship between assessment and treatment in the work with young offenders Observation and assessment are an important part of a psychologist’s work within the juvenile justice services. The assessment may be aimed at understanding the subjective meaning of the offence, in relation to his personality features, the environment he comes from and his developmental needs, and at understanding of the youth’ attitude towards criminal justice and the provisions he is subjected to.78 Prevention and Fight Against Crime 2007 With financial support from the Prevention of and Fight Against Crime Programme European Commission – Directorate-General Justice, Freedom And Security
  • 87. 6. The assessment of antisocial behavior within adevelopmental frame Italian Network for Young Offenders Assessment and Treatment In clinical practice, it might be helpful to have criteria guiding the assessment, not only in diagnostic terms, but also as the grounds of a psycho-social probation programme. For those who have to deal with offenders, either directly or indirectly, conducting assessments is simply part of their regular working routine. Any intervention with an offender requires an assessment of how the characteristics of the offender and the situation are related to a relevant outcome (Bonta, 2002). The need to implement assessment procedures is emphasized by research showing that adolescents with mental health issues and a history of drug abuse are more likely to offend than the others (Moffit et al., 2000) and by the very high prevalence of mental health issues amongst young offenders (Atkins et al., 1999; Duclos et al., 1998; Randal et al., 1999; Boesky, 2002; Teplin et al., 2002; Wasserman, McReynolds, Lucas, Fisher, Santos., 2002; Vermerein, 2003; Kadzin, 2000; Vermeiren, Jesper, Moffit, 2006; Maggiolini et al., 2008). A recent and comparative review (Grisso, 2004) shows that the most common issues are mood and anxiety disorders, drug-related issues, behavioural and thought disorders. The prevalence of mental health issues amongst young offenders is between 60% and 70%, about two to three times more frequent than in the normal population (Kadzin, 2000, Roberts, 79
  • 88. The assessment of young offenders in juvenile justice 1 dicembre 2010 services Attkinson, Rosenblatt, 1998). Consequently, juvenile criminal justice systems must be capable of identifying young offenders with special psychological needs at first intake (Grisso, Vincent, Seagrave, 2005). A developmental psychopathology approach (Cicchetti, Cohen, 2006) is suitable for screening. A developmental assessment considers individual functioning, the capacity to adjust to the environment and well-being or stress (Riva, Trionfi, 2004). When applied to antisocial issues, its meaning is strictly related to the following treatment programme, as ““Any intervention with an offender requires an assessment of how the characteristics of the offender and the situation are related to a relevant outcome” (Bonta, 2002; p. 355). The assessment takes place in a coercive frame (Maggiolini, 2002), where the young offender is not experiencing the difficulties he spontaneously seeks help for. That is why it is important, in the work with young offenders, to first of all explain the frame in which the assessment takes place, its objectives, who has requested an assessment and why. This preliminary step is essential in the creation of a working alliance, which is otherwise difficult to establish with young offenders.80 Prevention and Fight Against Crime 2007 With financial support from the Prevention of and Fight Against Crime Programme European Commission – Directorate-General Justice, Freedom And Security
  • 89. 6. The assessment of antisocial behavior within adevelopmental frame Italian Network for Young Offenders Assessment and Treatment A developmental psychopathology-oriented assessment is aimed at understanding the meaning of the offence in relation to his personality, family, environmental and developmental needs. The assessment is indeed not classification-oriented or nosographic, it is rather something useful to collect information on the adolescent’s functioning, particularly those related to the offence. The subjective representations of the events leading to a criminal charge are studied, as well as the developmental issues which the adolescent is struggling with, in order to find a link between the antisocial behaviour and the developmental path the adolescent had taken when offending. It is also important to find the subjective meaning of the offence, often something the adolescent himself is unaware of, because he has replaced the subjectivation and mentalization processes with an antisocial acting out. In short, the psychological assessment of a young offender, in such a theoretical frame, may be seen as the assessment of the functioning of the individual, whose core is the understanding of his developmental needs. In order to do that, developmental issues are related to personality features and possible shortcomings of the environment. What other theoretical models may read as a symptom (e.g. impulsiveness, feeling persecuted, a grandiose attitude), is actually seen as a distorted version of developmental 81
  • 90. The assessment of young offenders in juvenile justice 1 dicembre 2010 services issues, or obstacles hampering the chance for the adolescent to meet his real developmental need, disguised with the antisocial behaviour. Assessment and treatment based on the understanding of developmental needs, may offer a solution to the recent debate (Ward, Stewaer, 2003), between the actuarial and the clinical model. Rather than being incompatible, the models become integrated in an innovative approach, perfectly balanced between the nomothetic and the ideographic (Baird, 1984; Schwalbe, 2007, 2008; Shlonsky, Wagner, 2005). Actuarial models are based on an objective prediction of the risk, carried out with the predictive observation of the behaviour of the individual. Actuarial approaches are aimed at identifying the so-called “criminogenic needs” (Bonta, 2002; Hoge, 2002, Ward, Stewart, 2003), i.e. dynamic risk factors related to antisocial behaviours in adolescence. Differently from static and un-changeable risk factors (e.g. age of first offence, one of the most predictive factors of re-offending), criminogenic needs, being dynamic factors, are modifiable. Andrews and Bonta (1998) indeed think thatpersonal and family circumstances, such as impulsiveness, substance abuse, antisocial beliefs, once modified, decrease re-offending rates. Criminogenic needs, by definition, provide the professionals with82 Prevention and Fight Against Crime 2007 With financial support from the Prevention of and Fight Against Crime Programme European Commission – Directorate-General Justice, Freedom And Security
  • 91. 6. The assessment of antisocial behavior within adevelopmental frame Italian Network for Young Offenders Assessment and Treatment useful information about which aspects are possible to work upon. According to the “need principle of case classification” (Andrews et al., 1990), the juvenile justice services should ground their decisions solely on the assessment of the individual criminogenic needs. An assessment based on theoretically grounded and empirically valid criminogenic predictors, measured by standardized, objective and development-sensible tests is deemed more effective than any clinical assessment made by the supporters of the actuarial model (Groive, Zald, Lebow, Snitz, Nelson, 2000). The actuarial model focuses on recidivism risk and aims at reducing re- offending rather than helping the adolescent overcome his developmental impasses. While it remains desirable for a young person to improve his potentials, it not the primary goal of the intervention. On the contrary, a clinical model is first of all aimed at improving the young offender’s skills and resilience, by helping the adolescent overcome his difficulties and consequently, in theory, preventing re-offending (Ward, Stewart, 2003). While the clinical model is in line with the most recent theoretical and practical recommendations of the developmental psychopathology, the recidivism-control model has ruled the treatment of young offenders (Andrews, Bonta, 1998; Ashfort, Sales, Reid, 2001; Garland, 2001). Even though Bonta (2000) insists on the superiority of the actuarial model and is 83
  • 92. The assessment of young offenders in juvenile justice 1 dicembre 2010 services quite sceptical about the possibility of integrating it with the clinical one (Bonta, 2002), a recent approach in the international debate suggests that a combined actuarial-clinical model sacrifices neither the depth of the clinical understanding nor the empirical evidence of actuarial measures (Schwalbe, 2008; Shlonsky, Wagner, 2005). Following the identification of the individual’s criminogenic needs, the actuarial model does not provide information about the clinical decisions to be undertaken, nor does it recommend how a change may be produced and a disrupted developmental path overcome,. It simply tells the clinician how future re-offending may be predicted (Shlonsky, Wagner, 2005). However, the link between statistic relevance and empiric predictability on the one hand, and tailored development-based individual treatment on the other is not clear. Such a link may be found if criminogenic needs are seen as distortions or normal expressions of developmental needs (Ward; Stewart, 2003), i.e. as internal (personality-related) or external (environment-related) obstacles hampering a favourable developmental path leading to an impasse in the development. A psychological assessment should then be focused on the understanding of the real developmental needs of the young offender, in84 Prevention and Fight Against Crime 2007 With financial support from the Prevention of and Fight Against Crime Programme European Commission – Directorate-General Justice, Freedom And Security
  • 93. 6. The assessment of antisocial behavior within adevelopmental frame Italian Network for Young Offenders Assessment and Treatment relation to personality features and resources, and the way unmet developmental needs manifest through the so-called criminogenic needs. When the actuarial and the clinical model are kept separated, one may not see which developmental needs underpin apparently similar constellations of criminogenic needs, so that programmes tackling such constellations may be put in place, but with no change produced on the young person’s development. The aims and how to perform the assessment of young offenders. Personality assessment responds to the following issues: “sound mind”, relevance of fact, whether a pre-trial measure is appropriate and which, whether a probation order is suitable, whether alternative sanctions are suitable, possible positive outcome of a conviction, its severity and how to modulate it (Losanna, 2008). Following a developmental psychopathology approach, a change in the paradigm employed for the personality assessment of juvenile delinquents occured (Centomani, Martino, 2008). The focus became the analysis of the offence, with particular regard for its subjective meaning, the degree of responsibility at the time of the offence and thoughout the criminal provision, the way he talks about himself, his identity, his personal, family, social and environmental resources. Also included is an assessment of the 85
  • 94. The assessment of young offenders in juvenile justice 1 dicembre 2010 services environment, with particular regards for the educational styles, and the development of a criminal career. The prognosis is informed by the concept of social dangerousness. The assessment informs the treatment. The aims of the psychological assessment of young offenders includes identifying the relevant personality features and/or mental health issues, in the individual dynamic between the developmental needs of the young person, their interactions with static and dynamic risk factors (the so-called criminogenic needs) and protective factors within the person or his environment. A second set of aims includes the assessment of the risk of re-offending and the risk of violence, overlapping with the concept of “social dangerousness”. A third aim is the assessment of the degree of maturity – immaturity of the young person, with particular regards to the way they affect his degree of responsibility. Finally, the psychological assessment, should investigate the young offender’s access to treatment where the basis of an adequate psycho-educational, judicial and social programme may be posed.. Interviewing and tests In addition to interviews, the assessment may include the use of tests.86 Prevention and Fight Against Crime 2007 With financial support from the Prevention of and Fight Against Crime Programme European Commission – Directorate-General Justice, Freedom And Security
  • 95. 6. The assessment of antisocial behavior within adevelopmental frame Italian Network for Young Offenders Assessment and Treatment Interviewing young offenders may be particularly difficult, due to them being prone to acting-out and having s poor capacity to symbolize. The psychologist has to adjust his usual listening approach, in order to become more active than when faced with someone who acknowledges that they have a problem and has sufficient capacity for mentalization. The psychologist should engage with an understanding of the subjective meaning of the offence (Maggiolini, 2002). A psycho-dynamic understanding combines with judicial demands, implying that the assessment is not primarily oriented to define the suitable psychotherapeutic treatment, rather the suitable criminal and socio-educational provision. During the initial interviews it can be helpful to understand whether a given behaviour is acknowledged a rule-breaking value, and whether the young person is clear that it is illegal. The developmental circumstances under which the offence occurred are investigated: frequently antisocial behaviours take place in moments of change (e.g. the end of the school), crisis or failure in one’s development. At the end of this first stage, the young person and his parents are given an interpretation of what has happened, “shaping” the event in a different way, in order to come to a shared understanding. An assessment of the young person’s development follows, with particular regard for the adolescence developmental tasks, i.e. separation- 87
  • 96. The assessment of young offenders in juvenile justice 1 dicembre 2010 services individuation processes, social integration, development of a sexual identity and of realistic plans for the future. Developmental impasses are liaised with personality features or shortcomings of the environment. Impulsiveness, lack of appropriate guilt, grandiose attitude, insensitivity, depression or persecutory attitude are not a disorder to treat, but a distorted version of developmental issues, preventing the adolescent from developing an appropriate social identity and taking responsibility for his behaviour. Obstacles to the adolescent’s behaviour are often found in the environment rather than in the personality of the young person. In such cases the antisocial behaviour is the expression of the developmental psychopathology of his environment. Family relationships, with particular regard to attachment and control functions, school performance and behaviour at school, peer relationships and intimate relationships, the relationship with one’s body, the usual mood and the possible presence of risk-taking behaviours, allow for the Ego ideal to be investigated. When working with immigrant youths, the assessment includes the young offender’s feelings about the immigration, the story of the migration process and the arrival in the host country, his motivations and88 Prevention and Fight Against Crime 2007 With financial support from the Prevention of and Fight Against Crime Programme European Commission – Directorate-General Justice, Freedom And Security
  • 97. 6. The assessment of antisocial behavior within adevelopmental frame Italian Network for Young Offenders Assessment and Treatment his expectations. The young offender’s viewpoint is very much taken into account, regarding the charge, the empathy with the damage or the pain caused, the capacity to anticipate the consequences of his actions, whether the offence was planned or impulsive; in case of violence, whether it was predatory, reactive, fight or flight. When other people participated the crime, the role of each subject is explored. Even when there is no admission of guilt, the way the young person and his family reacted to the charge might be important. The psychologist explores whether the young person can take responsibility for his behaviour (i.e. admission of guilt, acknowledgement of its meaning and its severity, capacity to plan a programme, capacity to engage in it), with the aim of working on a shared probation programme, to be presented and discussed with the court. The outline of the interviews with parents may be similar (e.g. explaining the frame of the assessment, exploring what they think about their son and possible education difficulties...). Interviewing the parents may provide indirect information about the problems and the possible presence of a psychopathology and direct information on education and attachment styles, parental control and empathic mirroring (while family circumstances 89
  • 98. The assessment of young offenders in juvenile justice 1 dicembre 2010 services and events are usually collected by the educator or the social worker). The parents might or might not be able to access their son’s difficulties and understand his motivations, taking responsibility for his behaviour. With young offenders the interpersonal difficulties emphasized by the literature in relation to the use of projective tests with adolescents multiply. A psycho-diagnostic setting, per se, tend to illicit intrusion and evaluation fears. However, it is possible to make a potentially judging and intrusive experience an emotional self-exploring and interpersonal experience, promoting a working alliance and enabling the young person to get in touch with his own internal world (Aliprandi, Bassetti, Riva, 2000). While criminological research on adults seems sceptical about the reliability of psychological assessment in judicial examinations, the experience with young offenders show that when the adolescent is directly and transparently aware of the use of tests in an assessment for a court, and he is helped to discuss his doubts and worries, he quickly dismisses opportunity considerations. His often strong anxiety about being tested, does not address the judge, but the adult in front of him or, even more so, to the90 Prevention and Fight Against Crime 2007 With financial support from the Prevention of and Fight Against Crime Programme European Commission – Directorate-General Justice, Freedom And Security
  • 99. 6. The assessment of antisocial behavior within adevelopmental frame Italian Network for Young Offenders Assessment and Treatment internalized adult, some sort of internal parent who has long been judging and mortifying him, undermining his potentials (Riva, 2002). With the use of psychological tests the understanding of the young person goes beyond his awareness, they may provide some information in a faster manner than interviewing, which still remains of paramount importance in the assessment, and they tend to be more objective than clinical judgements. In Hoge’s opinion (2002): the quality of a psychological assessment is directly related to its validity, and its validity may be improved with the use of standardized assessment tools. Some guidelines for the selection and use of assessment instruments with antisocial youths (Bonta, 2002) include the following: assessment of antisocial youths should be based on actuarial measures capable of empirically sound prediction about recidivism and re-offending; assessment instruments directly relevant to criminal behavior (i.e. criminogenic needs factors); select instruments derived from relevant theory, reliable, and empirically validated; use different methods to assess risks and needs because the predictive validity of assessments can improve when different methods are combined: when different methods are used, the weakness of 91
  • 100. The assessment of young offenders in juvenile justice 1 dicembre 2010 services one assessment instrument can be compensated by the strength of another test. From a methodological point of view, depending on its aims and the moment it takes place, a “screening” process and an “assessment” process may take place. The distinction between the two is not always clear, given the general trend to define “assessment” whichever measure of the psychological features of an individual (Grisso et al., 2005; Wasserman et al., 2003). Screening and assessment may be seen as two hierarchic steps of identification of needs and developmental issues within the juvenile justice services. Screenings provides a type of economical identification applied to all youths at intake within the juvenile justice services, whereas assessment, following a screening, provides more extensive and individualized identification of mental health needs to those youths whose screening results suggested that was warranted (Grisso et al., 2005; p. 12) It is important to emphasize that screening and assessment do not necessarily involve different area of investigation. Both steps focus on92 Prevention and Fight Against Crime 2007 With financial support from the Prevention of and Fight Against Crime Programme European Commission – Directorate-General Justice, Freedom And Security
  • 101. 6. The assessment of antisocial behavior within adevelopmental frame Italian Network for Young Offenders Assessment and Treatment personality features and psychopathology, risk of re-offending or behavioural disorders and psycho-social or adjustment problems. However, the screening is particularly important at intake and provides a less tailored view on the nature of the young person developmental needs; while the assessment provides a longer, wider and individual understanding of the young person, his needs and his possible developmental paths. Screening is carried out with every young offender at intake within the juvenile justice services, it tends to focus on those conditions requiring immediate attention/response, such as substance abuse or suicidal risk. Psychological and behavioural information is collected in a rapid, efficient and inexpensive manner, with the immediate identification of the needs which require a quickly responds. Most juvenile justice services lack a structure capable of establishing in advance which areas should be explored. However, influential authors (American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, 2005; Boesky, 2003; Grisso, 2004; Wasserman, Jensen, Ko, 2003) suggest that the screening taking place within the juvenile justice services should include emotional and anxiety symptoms, the likelihood of aggressive behaviours, self-harming behaviours or suicide in the short-term and drug abuse- misuse. 93
  • 102. The assessment of young offenders in juvenile justice 1 dicembre 2010 services For the screening to be effective the tests employed should be standardized, valid and reliable (Wasserman, 2003; American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, 2005). Notwithstanding the strong recommendation to provide a systematic, planned and standardized screening at intake, it has rarely been carried out within the juvenile justice services so far (Bailey, Trabuck, 2006) Assessment – in contrast to screening, the assessment provides a comprehensive and tailored view of the young offender’s functioning. While the screening provides answers to short-term questions such as: “Is the young person likely to assault someone while in CPA? Is it necessary to take precautions against the risk of self-harming?” - the assessment provides useful information for the identification of a long-term programme or treatment (Grisso et al., 2005). Differently from the screening, the assessment is selective, as it cannot be carried out for all the young offenders involved with the juvenile justice system. Three selection criteria (Grisso et al., 2005) may be the following: an assessment is to be carried out in order to explore in depth issues arising from the screening, in order to answer a judicial question, or in order to share with the young person a tailored programme.94 Prevention and Fight Against Crime 2007 With financial support from the Prevention of and Fight Against Crime Programme European Commission – Directorate-General Justice, Freedom And Security
  • 103. 6. The assessment of antisocial behavior within adevelopmental frame Italian Network for Young Offenders Assessment and Treatment The assessment provides a wide understanding of the psychic functioning of an individual, his adjustment skills, whether he is experiencing some stress and the relationship between personal features, the environment, criminogenic needs and developmental needs. The most important areas to be explored may be: personality features, with the help of tests for a clinical assessment; the risk of re-offending, with the help of actuarial tests and issues concerning the judicial frame where the assessment takes place, with the help of so-called “forensic” tests (Grisso, 1986; Grisso et al., 2003). Finally, the assessment taking place in the juvenile justice systems should be carried out by more than one professional, by the “institution” itself, meaning a device combining different competences and objectives. The interdisciplinary assessment team (Centomani, Martino, 2008) is fundamental to collate different viewpoints and competences in one narration. It may include educators, psychologists, social workers, cultural mediators, medical doctors, probation officers and professionals from various agencies. The Massachussetts Assess Youth Symptoms Instrument-2 (MAYSI-2; Grisso, Barnum, 2003) may be recommended for screening. It was 95
  • 104. The assessment of young offenders in juvenile justice 1 dicembre 2010 services developed as a brief, self-reporting tool and can be administered by persons without clinical youth training at any entry or transitional placement point in the juvenile justice s. It was designed to identify youths experiencing thoughts, feelings, or behavior that may be indicative of psychopathologies and/or an acute emotional crisis requiring immediate attention (Grisso et al., 2005). As a screening tool, the MAYSI-2 assesses emergency treatment needs, especially for serious depression, suicidal risk, aggression that might harm others in detention and potential consequences of substance abuse withdrawal. The MAYSI-2 screens for symptoms of mental and emotional disturbance, as well as potential crisis problems. MAYSI-2 screening should be conducted within the first 24 hours of a youth being admissed into the juvenile justice system. It is appropriated for use with boys and girls between 12-17 years of age and administration scoring is quite short (about 10-15 minutes). The instruments consist of a paper and pencil questionnaire containing self- report inventory of 52 questions. The seven primary scales are: 1) Alcohol/Drug Use, 2) Angry-Irritable; 3) Depressed-Anxious; 4) Somatic Complaints; 5) Suicide Ideation; 6) Thoughts Disturbance (validated only for boys); 7) Traumatic Experiences. Research in the juvenile justice field has96 Prevention and Fight Against Crime 2007 With financial support from the Prevention of and Fight Against Crime Programme European Commission – Directorate-General Justice, Freedom And Security
  • 105. 6. The assessment of antisocial behavior within adevelopmental frame Italian Network for Young Offenders Assessment and Treatment affirmed the instruments reliability (Archer, Stredny, Mason, 2004; Cruise, Dandreaux, Marsee, 2004). In other studies Wasserman and colleagues (2004) found that most of the scales correlated best with DSM-IV diagnostic clusters as measured by the Diagnostic Interview Schedule for Children – Version IV (DISC-IV). Several studies found that MAYSI-2 scores predicted future behaviors or conditions including, institutional maladjustment (i.e. isolation for inappropriate behavior); services provision by mental heath and juvenile justice professionals; lengthier sentences for higher scores; staff intervention for suicidal risk, sexual misconduct, and assault on staff members. The MAYSI-2 represents a valid and reliable standardized assessment tool in the juvenile justice systems; however it should be recommended as a secondary assessment when youths score above the “Caution” cutoff on any of the scales (Borum, Woldpaw, 2008). Significant correlations with other personality questionnaires, for example the Youth Self Report (Grisso et al., 2001) and the MMPI (Espelage et al., 2003) suggest their use in the following phase of youth assessment. 97
  • 106. The assessment of young offenders in juvenile justice 1 dicembre 2010 services Personality assessment Psychological assessment focuses on the functioning of the individual, his adjustment skills, his well being or his experiencing stress. There is a number of assessment models: some focus on symptoms, their presence and co-presence, their duration and their intensity; while others focus on the personality as a whole, the individual history and the quality of the family and social environment. Rarely in adolescence does “normality” mean lack of symptoms; further development depends upon the way adolescence developmental tasks are dealt with and overcome. Assessing an adolescent may mean a better understanding of the way he faces developmental tasks, engaging him in the development of a social identity, in the integration in his mind of his sexual body, in the individuation- separation process, in the working through of his internal objects, with regards to both the AXES of his image and his value, and that of the relationships with significant others. The paramount importance of the developmental dimension in adolescence can be seen as a limitation in the use of categorial and dimensional systems of personality features classification. The fluid and changeable98 Prevention and Fight Against Crime 2007 With financial support from the Prevention of and Fight Against Crime Programme European Commission – Directorate-General Justice, Freedom And Security
  • 107. 6. The assessment of antisocial behavior within adevelopmental frame Italian Network for Young Offenders Assessment and Treatment adolescent psyche does not easily fit in a categorial classification. Nor does a dimensional assessment of personality traits apply easily, as traits constellations are subject to frequent changes due to the re-organization of the whole personality. A psycho-dynamic assessment in adolescence focuses on two processes: developmental needs and the adolescences capacity to develop an adequate identity. In a developmental psychopathology approach, the environment is very important, as negative interactions between the adolescent, with his developmental needs, and the environment may underpin antisocial behaviours. Both the way the adolescent is developing his personality and the dynamics of his functioning within his environment are explored. The concept of “developmental task” itself combines intra-psychic aspects, personality- related and relational aspects, related to the young persons “enlarged psychic space An assessment taking place within a juvenile justice setting requires a bifocal perspective not limited to the psychologist-patient relationship but rather involving every professional within the assessment team. The team looks at the young offender within his different settings and social roles, informative of “affective roles” not necessarily integrated in one 99
  • 108. The assessment of young offenders in juvenile justice 1 dicembre 2010 services representation of himself. The assessment understands the subjective meaning of the choices and the behaviours of the young person, in their expressive and communicative message to the environment (Maggiolini, Riva, 1998). In the understanding of the motives of the offence, the young persons desires, values and way of interpreting interpersonal relationships in relation to developmental needs are explored. Juvenile crime may be the expression of a rule-breaking attitude, behavioural disorders or antisocial personalities or some more severe psychopathology. The combination between individual predisposition, based on temperamental traits (such as negative emotions, low self esteem, insensitivity and poor impulse control), and dysfunctional interpersonal schemes or dysfunctional schemes of what to expect from the other (such as the tendency to overvalue the others hostility and responsibility about the events) are explored (Dodge, Lochmann, Laird, 2001). Grisso and colleagues (2005) recommend a developmental theoretical frame when assessing young offenders, changing the way his problems are conceptualized and the strategies employed to assess them and summarize the following points (p. 37):100 Prevention and Fight Against Crime 2007 With financial support from the Prevention of and Fight Against Crime Programme European Commission – Directorate-General Justice, Freedom And Security
  • 109. 6. The assessment of antisocial behavior within adevelopmental frame Italian Network for Young Offenders Assessment and Treatment • Identifying a youths mental disorders is greatly complicated by the normal developmental changes in young people across adolescence; • Youths who have mental disorder are quite likely to have more than one; • Mental health information about youths is likely to have a shorter “shelf life” than such information about adults. Development and change happens more rapidly for youths than for most adults, so that what we see when we identify a youth’s mental disorders, at a given time, may change when we see them in a year; • Most youth violence is not “caused” by mental disorders. But many mental disorders increase the risk of delinquency and aggressive behaviours; • We need to think about the “seriousness” of youths mental health needs in two ways. Some youths disorders are serious because their symptoms are currently severe and require immediate attention. Other youths disorders are serious because they are pervasive, involving chronic problems that have persisted since childhood and are likely to continue well into their adult lives. The personality assessment of young offenders involves the relationship with the significant others, with particular regards to attachment issues (e.g. 101
  • 110. The assessment of young offenders in juvenile justice 1 dicembre 2010 services does he care about the others? Does he feel they care?) parental control (e.g. is he given rules? Does he respect them?) and value (e.g. are they proud of him? Does he feel they value him?). Academic or job performance, as well as hobbies or personal interests, provide information about the adolescents self-efficacy and his capacity to engage. Hyperactive or oppositional-defiant disorders in childhood are also explored, and whether the adolescent is not so grandiose as to have an inappropriate relationship with the authority. Frequently young offenders show poor performance and behavioural problems with their teachers and other pupils. They may be related to attention or cognitive shortcomings that are not acknowledged, as they are disguised through behavioural issues. It might be useful to see whether such dysfunctional interpersonal relationships have had positive or negative developments from school to work. Relational style with friends provides information about the capacity to engage in relationships, even in case of disrupted family relationships or whether the adolescent is withdrawn or on the contrary over-engage in an antisocial group, with a domination-submission dynamic. Relationships with the opposite sex may also provide information about the capacity to engage in non-manipulative relationships, to integrate sexuality and care. Information102 Prevention and Fight Against Crime 2007 With financial support from the Prevention of and Fight Against Crime Programme European Commission – Directorate-General Justice, Freedom And Security
  • 111. 6. The assessment of antisocial behavior within adevelopmental frame Italian Network for Young Offenders Assessment and Treatment on impulse regulation, body-related and image-related anxieties, eating or sleep disorders is also collected. The general mood and mood swings give information about the tendency to feel high or depressed, and the capacity to manage emotions. As many young offenders act out dangerous behaviours, the presence of sensation-seeking attitudes, impulsive behaviours even if un-related to crime, ego-syntonic aggressiveness, reactive or not, is also explored. Finally, the adolescents capacity to set realistic plans for the future is considered. The assessment of personality features and developmental issues combines with the assessment of mental health issues. Adolescents with mental health issues and a history of drug abuse are more likely to offend than the others (Moffit et al., 2000). Moreover, the prevalence of mental health issues amongst young offenders is very high (Atkins et al., 1999; Duclos et al., 1998; Randal et al., 1999; Boesky, 2002; Teplin et al., 2002; Wasserman, McReynolds, Lucas, Fisher, Santos., 2002; Vermerein, 2003; Kadzin, 2000; Vermeiren, Jesper, Moffit, 2006; Maggiolini et al., 2008). A recent and comparative review (Grisso, 2004) indicated mood and anxiety disorders, drug-related issues, and behavioural and thought disorders as the most common mental health disorders amongst young 103
  • 112. The assessment of young offenders in juvenile justice 1 dicembre 2010 services offenders. The prevalence of mental health issues amongst young offenders is between 60% and 70%, about two to three times more frequent than in the normal population (Kadzin, 2000, Roberts, Attkinson, Rosenblatt, 1998). In addition, the assessment of cognitive impairment and attention-deficit- hyperactive-disorder is not frequently carried out within the juvenile justice setting, even though they are significantly more frequent amongst young offenders than in the normal population. Having said that, those meeting the criteria for one or more psychiatric diagnosis, do not necessarily coincide with those that would require psychological and/or psychiatric treatment (Grisso, 2004). Finally, a psychiatric diagnosis of a mental health disorder is the only way to describe the psychological needs of young offenders, as different from a symptoms-based,dimensional, or a problem-oriented approach. Most importantly, it rarely meets the demands of an assessment carried out within a developmental psychopathology frame (Cicchetti, Cohen, 1995). The professionals within in a juvenile justice setting should be very aware that the tests used to quantitatively and qualitatively assess mental health disorders, whether of a temporary or fixed features of his functioning, whether normal or pathological, were not created for the purpose of a risk104 Prevention and Fight Against Crime 2007 With financial support from the Prevention of and Fight Against Crime Programme European Commission – Directorate-General Justice, Freedom And Security
  • 113. 6. The assessment of antisocial behavior within adevelopmental frame Italian Network for Young Offenders Assessment and Treatment assessment or an assessment taking place. Having said that, the assessment of severe mental health disorders, or pervasive and dysfunctional personality traits, may guide the professional to determine which treatment to provide (Grisso et al., 2005). The Achenbach System of Empirically Based Assessment (ASEBA; Achenbach, 2001) is widely used for personality assessment. It was developed to meet the need for practical, low-cost assessment of youths’ behavioural problems in several contexts. These contexts include: juvenile justice, mental health, medical and educational settings. The ASEBA includes the Youths Self Report for ages 11 to 18 (YSR) which, obtains youths’ report of their competencies and problems in both quantitative and qualitative forms. Several syndromic scales derived from the questionnaire, assessing both internalizing (i.e. anxious/depressed; withdrawn/depressed; somatic complaints), externalizing (i.e. rule breaking behaviour, aggressive behaviour) and borderline (i.e. social and thoughts difficulties) problems. The ASEBA allows other perspectives on youths’ functioning whenever possible: youths are important sources of information about their own functioning, however they may not always provide accurate reports of their competences. To provide a systematic overview of youths functioning the 105
  • 114. The assessment of young offenders in juvenile justice 1 dicembre 2010 services ASEBA includes the following companions to the YSR: Child Behaviour Checklist for ages 6 to 18 (CBCL) which is completed by parents, parent surrogates, and others who play parental roles, such as staff members of residential facilities; Teacher Form Report (TRF) which is completed by teacher and other educational personnel. The ASEBA’s approach is especially good for multicultural research. The ASEBA instruments can be easily translated for use in diverse cultures. There are translations in over 80 languages and thousands of published reports of the ASEBA being use in over 67 cultures. Numerous multicultural comparisons of ASEBA findings have been published. Subsequent studies by Achenbach and Rescorla (2007) from dozens of societies have analysed tens of thousands of CBCLs from 31 societies, TRFs from 21 societies, and YSRs from 24 societies. ASEBA forms can be used in many ways in juvenile justice contexts. Examples of findings for juvenile justice populations include strong association between CBCL/YSR scores and drug abuse, symptoms of the DSM-IV diagnosis of conduct disorder and suicidal tendencies on the other (Crowley, Mikulich, Ehlers, Whitmore, MacDonald, 2001). Examples of long- term prediction of delinquent behaviour from ASEBA scores include significant prediction of police contacts, substance abuse and behavioural problems (Achenbach et al., 1995, 1998; Ferdinand, Blum, Berhulst, 2001).106 Prevention and Fight Against Crime 2007 With financial support from the Prevention of and Fight Against Crime Programme European Commission – Directorate-General Justice, Freedom And Security
  • 115. 6. The assessment of antisocial behavior within adevelopmental frame Italian Network for Young Offenders Assessment and Treatment In addition, these studies showed the ability to prediction many of the problems that may be of concern to juvenile justice, such as suicidal behaviour, unwed pregnancy, dropping out of school, receipt of mental health services, and being fired from jobs (Grisso et al., 2005). The ASEBA system shows remarkable strengths including: 1) The forms are short, clear and available in a number of languages; 2) Scoring and interpretation are quite easy; 3) The parallel use of three forms (YSR, CBCL, TRF) provides a systematic approach and the chance to put together the adolescents viewpoint and that of his significant others; 4) The interpretations are valid and culture-sensitive, with specific standards provided for a number of countries. The assessment of violence and re-offending risk Reducing re-offending is one of the main goals of the juvenile justice services. The assessment of young offenders should therefore include positive and negative factors, within the person or his environment. One may also wonder about the relationship between psychological objectives, such as promoting responsibility and the youths development, and objectives related to behavioural control. 107
  • 116. The assessment of young offenders in juvenile justice 1 dicembre 2010 services In a juvenile justice setting, the risk of re-offending, i.e. the chance that the juvenile offender might keep in the future the present antisocial behaviour, becomes the core of the decision on which the criminal provision isapplied. An accurate assessment may prevent the criminal provision from being the same for all young offenders, regardless of the risk of re-offending. As described above, in a developmental psychopathology framework, the assessment should include the environment the young person lives in. In the assessment of re-offending risk and risk factors related to antisocial behaviours, factors within the environment are taken into account, often very much explaining the antisocial behaviour, alongside other personal factors. Rather than a strictly clinical assessment, psychological tests assessing the risk of re-offending are mainly based on the observations of the young offenders behaviour, his environment and the presence of behavioural problems in the past. Persistent young offenders tend to be males, manifesting behavioural problems in childhood, with severe school difficulties, poorly integrated in society and with disrupted families; they normally have a number of behavioural issues and showed early rule-breaking attitudes. The type of108 Prevention and Fight Against Crime 2007 With financial support from the Prevention of and Fight Against Crime Programme European Commission – Directorate-General Justice, Freedom And Security
  • 117. 6. The assessment of antisocial behavior within adevelopmental frame Italian Network for Young Offenders Assessment and Treatment offence is less predictive of future re-offending (Rutter, 1998). Some studies show that episodes of violence in the past or frequent episodes of violence in the present are relatively reliable indicators of future violence (Moffitt, 2003). Psychopathy may also predict violence. (Forth & Burke, 1998; Frick, 1998; Salekin, Ziegler, Larrea, Anthony & Bennett, 2003). Recent reviews and meta-analyses recommend that psychopathy should be considered when assessing re-offending risk for both adolescents and adults. Most risk models include the measurement of psychopathy, which seems to be highly predictive. In summary , the most widely recognized risk factors in the assessment of re-offending and social dangerousness are the following: 1. Age of first offence 2. Number of previous convictions 3. Type and severity of the present and past convictions 4. Previous criminal provisions 5. Alcohol or substance abuse 6. Current difficulties at school or difficulties in the past 7. Antisocial friends 8. Family disruption and lack of parental control 9. Physical or sexual abuse 109
  • 118. The assessment of young offenders in juvenile justice 1 dicembre 2010 services 10. Social services care in the past and its outcome 11. Gender Short and long-term re-offending risk is important to consider when assessing young offenders (Hoge, 2002; Grisso et al., 2005). In Italy, the assessment of re-offending risk is usually carried out in non astandardized manners, on the basis of the expertise of the professionals, even though a number of tests have been internationally developed, both in the US, where about three quarters of the juvenile justice services use standard procedures of assessment (Barton, Gorsuch, 1989), and in Europe. An intuitive approach may help, but it may be unreliable or inaccurate. In fact, limits can also be found in approaches exclusively based on statistical assumptions. For instance, if it is estimated that a given group of subjects, say a group of young offenders at intake in CPAs, have a 30% re-offending risk the, it may mean that each adolescent has a 30% risk or that 3 out of 10 adolescents have a 100% re-offending risk rate, and the other 7 out of 10 have a 0% re-offending risk rate, i.e. no risk at all. Extreme as it is, this110 Prevention and Fight Against Crime 2007 With financial support from the Prevention of and Fight Against Crime Programme European Commission – Directorate-General Justice, Freedom And Security
  • 119. 6. The assessment of antisocial behavior within adevelopmental frame Italian Network for Young Offenders Assessment and Treatment example emphasizes that the individuals unique degree of risk needs to be assessed. In order to overcome the unsystematic approach to data collection, exposed by the literature of the field (Baird, 1984; Towerman, 1992; Wiebush et al., 1995), a number of standardized tests have been created, for the assessment of re-offending and violence risk (Champion, 1994; Hoge, 1999, 2001; Hoge, Andrews, 1996; Wiebush et al., 1995). Evidence shows that “in order to find the antisocial adult of tomorrow we need to look for the antisocial child of today” (Lynam, 1996): it is only a small proportion of youth that display early antisocial behaviours that become chronic during adolescence and committing about 50% of all crimes (Farrington, 1995; Loebert, Stouthamer-Loeber, 1998; Moffit, 1993). To reduce re-offending is is essential to identify adolescents at risk, in order to prevent their violent and antisocial behaviours from becoming chronic(Grisso et al., 2005). The actuarial approach has long been the “gold standard” in the assessment of re-offending risk (Bonta, 1996; Hoge, 2002; Andrews, Bonta, 1998; Welsh et al., 2008; Wong et al., 2007; Andrews, Bonta, Wormith, 2006) and it has produced increasingly advanced, “generations” of tests (Bonta, 1996). 111
  • 120. The assessment of young offenders in juvenile justice 1 dicembre 2010 services First generation tests were largely based on unstructured clinical judgements. Notwithstanding their positive outcomes (Boothby, Clements, 2000), their predictive validity was marginal (Andrews, Bonta, Wormith, 2006). Second generation tests had a more empiric approach, even though only the static risk factors were considered (Kraemer et al., 1997). The limitation of the second generation tests includes the lack of a theoretic paradigm informing them, the fact that change was not assessable and that indications for further treatment could not be drawn. Third generation tests tried to respond to such limits by introducing dynamic factors, and providing theoretically grounded indications, mainly coming from the social learning paradigm. Even though dynamic risk factors were included, third generation tests have been criticized for their lack of gender sensitivity and for the main focus being on risk assessment, while protective factors and strong points of the adolescents were omitted(Brennan et al., 2009). More recently, to respond to such criticism and to overcome the debate between an actuarial and clinical approach in the assessment of violence and re-offending risk, fourth generation tests have been produced (Wong et al., 2006; Andrews, Bonta, Wormith, 2006; Brennan et al., 2009), where112 Prevention and Fight Against Crime 2007 With financial support from the Prevention of and Fight Against Crime Programme European Commission – Directorate-General Justice, Freedom And Security
  • 121. 6. The assessment of antisocial behavior within adevelopmental frame Italian Network for Young Offenders Assessment and Treatment another approach, defined the ““structured professional judgement” (Grisso et al., 2005) was proposed. Such an innovative approach tries to improve the clinical judgement by providing a structure and standardized decision process, while at the same time improving actuarial measures by introducing the relevance of clinical interpretations (Borum, 1996, Borum, Douglas, 2003). The Psycopathy Checklist: Youth Version (PCL:YV; Forth et al., 2003) is widely used for the assessment of social dangerousness. Modern conceptualizations of psychopathy view it as characterized by a constellation of interpersonal (e.g., egocentric), affective (e.g., callous), and behavioural (lifestyle and antisocial traits; e.g., impulsive) traits (Blonigen, Hicks, Grueger, Patrick, Gacono, 2006; Cleckley, 1976; Hare, 1991). Research involving adults indicates a strong relationship between psychopathy on the one hand and serious repetitive crime, violent behaviour, and a poor treatment response on the other. But psychopathy does not emerge suddenly in adulthood: researches and clinician believe that psychopathic traits are manifested early in life (Forth, Mailloux, 2000; Frick, Berry, Bodin, 2000; Cruise, 2000; Forth, Burke, 1998): this belief has led to a growing body of research into children and adolescent psychopathy. 113
  • 122. The assessment of young offenders in juvenile justice 1 dicembre 2010 services As in adults, adolescent psychopathic personality traits are associated with violence and recidivism. Via a structured clinical rating approach the PCL:YV is an instrument designed to assess psychopathic traits and behaviour in male and female adolescents ages 12-18 years old.. It was adapted from Hare Psychopathy Checklist – Revised (PCL-R; Hare, 2003), considered to be the gold standard in the assessment of adult psychopathy (Fulero, 1995). The PCL:YV consists of 20 items that measure the interpersonal, affective and behavioural dimensions considered to be fundamental to the construct of psychopathy (i.e. grandiose sense of self-worth; pathological lying; lack of empathy; failure to accept responsibility; criminal versatility). Each item is scored either as a 2 (the item “definitely applies”), 1 (the item “applies to some extent”) or 0 (the item “definitely does not apply”). Several sources of information are needed to score the PCL:YV – namely a semi-structured interview with the youth and a review of available file and collateral information. Confirmatory factor analysis across all the samples suggested that a model with four correlated factors provides a good explanation for the pattern of PCL-YV scores (Forth et al., 2003): a first factor is an interpersonal dimension (i.e. “impression management”), a second factor is an affective114 Prevention and Fight Against Crime 2007 With financial support from the Prevention of and Fight Against Crime Programme European Commission – Directorate-General Justice, Freedom And Security
  • 123. 6. The assessment of antisocial behavior within adevelopmental frame Italian Network for Young Offenders Assessment and Treatment dimension (i.e. “callous”), a third factor is a behavioural dimension (i.e. “lacks goals”). The final factor is an antisocial dimension (i.e. “serious criminal behaviour”). The items are summed to obtain a total score ranging from 0 to 40. Research suggests a subdivision in three level of seriousness: “high” (>30), “medium” (18-29) and “low” (<18). Although the PCL-YV was not designed as a measure for predicting criminal behavior, a growing body of research suggests that it is a strong predictor, particularly with respect to violent behavior (Forth, Mailloux, 2000). Gretton and colleagues (2001) in a sample of adolescent sex offenders found that high scores were associated with attempted and successful escape from custody and theviolation of the condition of release. Catchpole and Gretton (2003) found that PCL-YV scores were related to general and violent recidivism. Perspective studies confirm the predictive validity of the PCL:YV (Gretton, Hare, Catchpole, 2004; Vincent, Vitacco, Grisso, Corrado, 2003; Corrado, Vincent, Hart, Cohen, 2004; Rowe, 2002). Issues have been raised about the appropriateness of applying the construct of psychopathy to youths and the consequences of doing so (Seagrave, Grisso, 2002; Edens, Skeem, Cruise, Cauffman, 2001). The clinicians may be reluctant to apply the PCL-YV because the considerations around psychopathy may be read as oppositional to the most scientifically 115
  • 124. The assessment of young offenders in juvenile justice 1 dicembre 2010 services valid models of developmental psychopathology. However, research studies have shown that psychopathy in childhood shows prevalence (Cruise, 2000; Forth, Burke, 1998), functioning (Schrum, Salekin, 2006; Vincent, 2002) and factorial structure similar to the adult one. Moreover, a genetic predisposition to psychopathy has been found at seven years of age (Viding, Blair, Moffitt, Plomin, 2004). Finally, Decoene and Bjttebier (2008) state that an underlining grandiose attitude, lack of empathy and ego- centrism in childhood does not imply that different developmental pathways are not possible, not leading to a psychopathic disorder in adulthood. The assessment of the youths maturity Under Italian law, in order to be punishable, young offenders must be of sound-mind, i.e. “able to understand and to want” in the moment he committed the crime. “Understanding” refers to the ability to understand the meaning of the fact, in relation to its possible consequences on others, while “wanting” refers to the ability to determine ones behaviours, in relation to conscious intentions. With young offenders, the assessment of maturity is more relevant than the assessment of an acclaimed psychopathology (Fornari, 2004), due to the inappropriateness of fixed116 Prevention and Fight Against Crime 2007 With financial support from the Prevention of and Fight Against Crime Programme European Commission – Directorate-General Justice, Freedom And Security
  • 125. 6. The assessment of antisocial behavior within adevelopmental frame Italian Network for Young Offenders Assessment and Treatment personality/symptomatic constellations in adolescence, as it is a period characterised by change and development. Theories regarding the “ability to understand and to want” and the liability of young offenders depend upon historic changes in the relationship between psychiatry and law, and also upon geographic differences (Ceretti, Merzagora-Betson, 1994). In the past, mental health disorders possibly leading to non-liability to prosecution were limited to those classified in Axes 1 of the DSN-IV-TR (APA,2000). However, a 2005 verdict of the Supreme Court acknowledged that personality disorders might also be relevant to non-liability matters. The competence to stand trial remains a very variable field, with regards to the methods and the tests used (Borum, Grisso, 1995). Recently, a focus on the juvenile competence to stand trial has emerged, as it is within the juvenile justice services that such an issue becomes of primary importance. Guidelines have been proposed by some authors with regards to procedures, areas to be explored and how to perform the assessment of the juvenile competence to stand trial (Barnum, 2000; Grisso, 1998). They suggest that the degree of development of the young person should be explored, as well as the presence of mental health disorders, cognitive impairment or impairment in the psycho-social development (Grisso, 1998). 117
  • 126. The assessment of young offenders in juvenile justice 1 dicembre 2010 services Moreover, the degree of maturity, the moral and the emotional development, movement and language skills and mental health psychic and behavioural childhood-onset disorders should also be explored (Barnum, 2000; Bonnie, Grisso, 2000; Grisso, 1998; Oberlander, Goldstein, & Ho, 2001; Ryba, Cooper, Zapf, 2003). With adolescents, it is difficult to say whether a given problem is the expression of some normal immaturity, compatible with a normal and developing condition, or the outcome of a mental health disorder, a personality disorder, a cognitive impairment or an organic disease, or produced by severe emotional immaturity. The adolescent is “normally immature” (Faraglia, Maggiolini, 2008) in a number of ways affecting his ability to behave responsibly, due to the limited ability to make decisions and appreciate their consequences and his dependence upon the others (making him subject to external conditioning) and to his personality still in process (Steinberg, Scott, 2003). The most recent psychological and neuro-psychological studies into the development of antisocial behaviour (Paus, 2005; Raine, Lee, Yang, Coletti, 2010) emphasize that the adolescent is usually immature. They are118 Prevention and Fight Against Crime 2007 With financial support from the Prevention of and Fight Against Crime Programme European Commission – Directorate-General Justice, Freedom And Security
  • 127. 6. The assessment of antisocial behavior within adevelopmental frame Italian Network for Young Offenders Assessment and Treatment informing the trends of juvenile criminal justice (Bruber, Yurgelun-Todd. 2006). For instance, in the US the American Psychiatric Association, the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry and the American Society of Adolescent Psychiatry have requested that death criminality for young offenders under 18 is abolished, on the grounds that adolescents are empirically proved immature (Miraglia, 2005). Every adolescent, deserves that the assessment of his behaviours takes into account his developmental immaturity and that the response from the criminal justice is mitigated. However, difficulties in the assessment of the degree of maturity (which may lead to non-liability to prosecution) remain. Neuro-psychological studies emphasize the immaturity of the adolescents brain, so that, as Giedd says, it may be unfair to expect from the adolescent the same level of organization and decision-making powers as those of an adult, when his brain has not yet stopped growing (Giedd, 2004). Criminal liability is influenced by how much the adolescent depends upon his family and his peer group, as they may both promote responsibility or diffusion of responsibility. Finally, cognitive abilities “in the heat” of a crime may be different from the usual ones at his disposal: the adolescent, in the decision making process, may greatly be influenced by the environment, while 119
  • 128. The assessment of young offenders in juvenile justice 1 dicembre 2010 services undertaking risk behaviours or anticipating the consequences of his behaviours. In Italy, the court decides whether the young offender is liable to prosecution or not according to: his cognitive development and strength of character, incapability to understand the meaning of his own actions, to appreciate the difference between right or wrong, licit and illicit, and choose between one or the other, bearing in mind a number of issues, related to the physical and psychic development of the young offender, his socio-economic and family circumstances, his education, the nature of the crime, and the behaviour before the court (Larizza, 2005). In actual practice, the number of juveniles proved not accountable for their behaviour is quite low. The data can be read as both evidence of the difficulty in proving non-liability, and acknowledgement of immaturity as normal during adolescence. The assessment of the “ability to understand and to will” is more often linked to mental health disorders than to immaturity. Official data (Ministry of Justice, 2006) show that dismissal for immaturity is relatively rare, in comparison to other forms of dismissal of the case, such as judicial pardon. Dismissals for immaturity decrease as the proceedings continue: the percentage is 3.6% at preliminary hearing and 0.2% following the trial itself.120 Prevention and Fight Against Crime 2007 With financial support from the Prevention of and Fight Against Crime Programme European Commission – Directorate-General Justice, Freedom And Security
  • 129. 6. The assessment of antisocial behavior within adevelopmental frame Italian Network for Young Offenders Assessment and Treatment The assessment of young offenders should therefore investigate whether a definition and an empirical assessment of maturity is feasible and suitable. It appears difficult to identify empirical criteria differentiating physiologic immaturity from pathological immaturity. Maturity is indeed a complex system, including biologic maturity (which may process at a different pace than that of normal physical development) intellectual maturity (e.g. cognitive maturity); emotional maturity (e.g. impulse control and emotion management); social maturity (e.g. adjustment and social skills) (Ceretti, 2002). It would be helpful to be provided with an operational definition of the minimum competences required of an adolescent in order to be considered mature and responsible, manifesting his ability to consider alternative behaviours and appreciate their consequences on the grounds of his ideals and taking into account ethic values shared by society and dictated by law. Ewing suggests that information on the youths maturity is one of the most important features of a young offenders assessment. In Ewings view, information on cognitive maturity may be provided by a cognitive test, such as the WISC-III (Wechsler, 1991), while emotional maturity may be assessed with self report-measures such as the Youth Self Report (Achenbach, 2004), the Thematic Apperception Test or the 121
  • 130. The assessment of young offenders in juvenile justice 1 dicembre 2010 services Rorschach Test. Even though such tests may be used with the aim of both planning a tailored treatment programme within the juvenile justice services, and of providing the court with useful information on the young persons situation (Maggiolini, 2002); recently the need to produce standardized tests, going beyond the assessment of personality or mental health disorders has emerged, where maturity may be explored in judicial terms. A comprehensive assessment of maturity should therefore also include autonomy (i.e. external or internal locus of control, the youths idea of himself, the capacity to think about himself and his behaviours); cognitive skills going beyond the I.Q. (i.e. acknowledgement of the crime, understanding of behavioural rules, ability to identify alternative behaviours and take decisions based on the anticipation of their consequences) and finally emotional maturity (i.e. ability to postpone gratification, to manage ones emotions, to engage in positive interpersonal relationships and to show an adequate moral development). The maturity of the youth may be assessed with the Risk Sophistication Treatment Inventory (RST-I; Salekin, 2004). The Risk-Sophistication-Treatment Inventory (RSTI; Salekin, 2004) was developed to address some very practical and important questions that are122 Prevention and Fight Against Crime 2007 With financial support from the Prevention of and Fight Against Crime Programme European Commission – Directorate-General Justice, Freedom And Security
  • 131. 6. The assessment of antisocial behavior within adevelopmental frame Italian Network for Young Offenders Assessment and Treatment frequently asked of mental health professionals operating within the juvenile justice services, and to integrate a clinical approach to the clinical personality assessment to the statistical and actuarial prediction needed in the forensic field. The RSTI was developed to meet the need of clinician within the juvenile justice settings for an instrument capable of systematically assessing the construct of the juvenile’s risk for dangerousness, the youth’s level of maturity or sophistication, and the degree to which the youth is amenable to treatment. The RSTI is a semi-structured interview (60-90 minutes) and rating scale designed to help clinicians assess juvenile offenders (between 9-18 years of age) in the three important areas cited above. These three scales are composed of 15 items each. Items are rated on a 3-point scale (0 = “absence of the characteristic/ability”; 1 = “sub-clinical/moderate”; 2 = “presence of the characteristics/ability”) that reflects the extent to which the individual demonstrates the specific characteristics or ability. Each scale contains three sub-scales, referred to as “clusters”. The Risk for Dangerousness scale refers to the likelihood of committing future acts of violence or recidivism, and comprises the Violent and Aggressive Tendencies (R-VAT), Planned and Extensive Criminality (R-PEX) and Psychopatic Feature (R-PPF). The clusters of the Sophistication-Maturity 123
  • 132. The assessment of young offenders in juvenile justice 1 dicembre 2010 services scale, which refers to emotional and cognitive maturity, are Autonomy (S- AUT), Cognitive Capacities (S-COG) and Emotional Maturity (S-EMO). The Sophistication-Maturity scale is neither pro-social nor antisocial (Stenberg, 2000). It broadly measure maturity, while also allowing clinicians to rate the extent to which the related emotional/cognitive skills are used for criminological purpose, and the degree to which the criminological lifestyle has become ingrained. Finally, the Treatment Amenability, which refers to the likelihood of being responsive to treatment, is divided into the cluster Psychopathology – Degree and Type (T-PAT), Responsibility and Motivation to Change (T-RES) and Consideration and Tolerance of Others (T-CAT). The raw score of each cluster is compared to a norm sample of juvenile offenders to establish the descriptive categories of “low”, “medium”, or “high”. Data for RSTI standardized sample represent young offenders (bwteen 9-18 years of age) from juvenile justice settings. Several studies have reported evidence for the RSTI’s validity, using other measures of psychological constructs to which the RSTI constructs should be related (Leistico, Salekin, 2003). The Risk for Dangerousness Scale correlates positively with conduct disorder (CD), violent CD, psychopathic traits as measured by the PCL:YV and both reactive and total aggression. Two studies (Salekin, 2000; Zalot, 2002) found that the Sophistication-Maturity124 Prevention and Fight Against Crime 2007 With financial support from the Prevention of and Fight Against Crime Programme European Commission – Directorate-General Justice, Freedom And Security
  • 133. 6. The assessment of antisocial behavior within adevelopmental frame Italian Network for Young Offenders Assessment and Treatment scale was positively and significantly related to both traditionally defined intelligence measured by the Kauffman Brief Intelligence Test and contemporary theories of intelligence. Finally, Risk for Dangerousness scale was related to previous criminal involvement and was predictive of recidivism 3 years after RSTI assessment (Salekin, 2004). The assessment of availability to treatment The Italian Juvenile Criminal Proceedings, ruled by the Pres. Dec. n. 448/1988 has a educational ratio. The trial of juveniles should not shut but rather open opportunities, favouring acknowledgement and responsibility, promoting development and maturation processes, preventing the young offender from becoming involved with a harsh juvenile justice system (Losanna, 2008). The response of juvenile crime usually entails the control over the young offenders behaviour within the civil or criminal juvenile justice systems. The detention or the placement in residential communities of the young offenders, as well as alternative measures or house arrest all pursue the aim of controlling their behaviour. From this perspective, such provisions also have a developmental, rehabilitative and restorative value, both to the young person and society, and inevitably provide some sort of treatment. 125
  • 134. The assessment of young offenders in juvenile justice 1 dicembre 2010 services Through psycho-social work, particularly applicable when alternative measures are applied, a number of programmes are carried out, with the engagement of the young person and his environment in a psychological, social or education plan. The complexity of the programmes makes it difficult to evaluate their efficacy. The efficacy of a criminal provision is often measured on the basis of the re-offending criterion, something necessary, but not wholly sufficient, as young offenders may stop committing crimes while still keeping an antisocial attitude or developing a-social behaviour, entailing social isolation, drug abuse and so on. The little attention paid to provide evidence-based practice in the field of juvenile criminal justice may also be due to the widespread pessimism on both the psychological treatment of young offenders and the criminal response. In the 1970sand 1980s there was a widespread pessimism about the efficacy of the response to juvenile crime, originating from the results of the studies available at that time. In the 1970s Martinson, came up with the following synthetic conclusion, following a extensive review of the literature of the field: “It may be that education at its best, or that psychotherapy at its126 Prevention and Fight Against Crime 2007 With financial support from the Prevention of and Fight Against Crime Programme European Commission – Directorate-General Justice, Freedom And Security
  • 135. 6. The assessment of antisocial behavior within adevelopmental frame Italian Network for Young Offenders Assessment and Treatment best, cannot overcome, or even appreciably reduce, the powerful tendencies of offenders to continue in criminal behaviour” (1974, p. 49). Recently, the results of meta-analytic studies have shown that it is possible to reduce re-offending, that antisocial disorders may be treated and that, contrary to all expectations, it is also possible to change psychopathic traits of personality, with sufficiently intensive and long treatment. The results of more recent studies are encouraging, given the use of more comprehensive and sophisticated methodologies and the progressive improvement in treatment techniques (McGuire, 1995). Even though antisocial behaviour is still recognized as persistent; today it seems subject to change. Young offenders often spontaneously change their behaviours: about half of all young offenders, even in the most severe cases, do not persist with antisocial behaviour. As the family and the social environment may play a crucial role in such a change, one may wonder whether the criminal provision itself represents a protective factor or a risk factor in future behaviour (as frequently observed in the iatrogenic effect of criminal provision in general and detention in particular). A review on the studies published in English in international journals, gathering and matching scientifically based provisions within a juvenile justice setting, consider treatment to be effective in around 10% of cases (McGuire, 1995). This data shows that a treatment on juvenile delinquency, 127
  • 136. The assessment of young offenders in juvenile justice 1 dicembre 2010 services in comparison with no treatment, reduces re-offending by 10%. Even if positive, it may be discouraging, even though it is comparable to treatments carried out in other fields, for the cure of severe diseases still receiving a number of funds. Concerning the various types of treatment, meta-analytic studies show that the results of standard psychotherapy are not as encouraging, as those of pharmacological treatment, when they are not combined with psycho-social provisions. The outcome of psychological counselling seems largely negligible, even though some particularly appropriate psychological treatments reduce re-offending by up to 50% in comparison to control groups. The poor efficacy of the treatment of juvenile delinquency seems largely due to the negative effects of detention. However, it is important to emphasize that young offenders in prison or residential facilities, tend to be more severely antisocial, and that meta-analyses often does not adequately differentiate the features of the young offenders at intake (McGuire, 1995). Meta-analytic studies commonly show that the most effective treatments are the multi-modal ones (tackling a number of contexts and strategies at the same time), oriented to improving behavioural and cognitive skills. Cognitive-behavioural approaches are objectively favoured, in comparison128 Prevention and Fight Against Crime 2007 With financial support from the Prevention of and Fight Against Crime Programme European Commission – Directorate-General Justice, Freedom And Security
  • 137. 6. The assessment of antisocial behavior within adevelopmental frame Italian Network for Young Offenders Assessment and Treatment with other psychotherapeutic approaches, like the psychoanalytic one, due to their invest in efficacy research (Roth, Fonagy, 1996). From a theoretical point of view, psychological and educational treatment, not only limiting itself to symptoms change, but supporting competences and the capacity to engage in long-standing and significant relationships, seems most appropriate with young offenders (Paris, 1996). It also highlights that psychological support, when combined with psycho-social provisions, is useful in the treatment of young offenders, while the criminal provision alone tends to have a iatrogenic effect; with particular regard to the treatment combining insight and tackling the antisocial behaviour, with the psychological work providing understanding of the meaning of the offence, in strong combination with psycho-social work (Masters, 1994). The psychoanalytic approach suggests a combination of an expressive approach along with the work taking place within the juvenile justice services, instead of the classical psychoanalysis of purely supportive treatment as the most effective with patients showing low Ego strength, like antisocial young offenders (Kernberg, Clarkin, 1994). Studies in the field do not sufficiently consider the different features of the young offenders, beyond their gender, type of offence, age, level of risk, while the treatment provided, its methods and the personality features of the 129
  • 138. The assessment of young offenders in juvenile justice 1 dicembre 2010 services young person explain most of the effect. In order to gain more reliable results the studies should also consider the: developmental features of the behaviour, lifestyle, circumstances concerning the offence, the thoughts and feelings at the time it took place and the environment. A standard provision within the juvenile justice services does not usually prevent about two thirds of the young offenders from re-offending. A very good outcome is considered to be a one third reduction in re-offending. In a juvenile justice setting, it would be advisable to consider provisions as forms of treatment, evaluating their effectiveness in relation to both re- offending rates and the personal development of young offenders under psycho-social care. From this perspective, collecting and analysing data differentiating the features of young offenders may help providing tailored, and therefore effective, programmes, preventing the criminal provision from responding to judicial demands, rather than to the young persons circumstances. In Italy, such a flexibility is permitted by the code for criminal proceedings which outlines the need to support a young person in his development and remove the negative influences which hamper his chances of gaining a positive social identity. Most criminal provisions take place outside prison, with alternative measures supervised by the local social services or the juvenile justice130 Prevention and Fight Against Crime 2007 With financial support from the Prevention of and Fight Against Crime Programme European Commission – Directorate-General Justice, Freedom And Security
  • 139. 6. The assessment of antisocial behavior within adevelopmental frame Italian Network for Young Offenders Assessment and Treatment office of youth social service. In this respect, probation (“suspension of proceedings with placement under supervision”) is the most important criminal provision, introduced by the Pres. Decr. n. 448/1988) (Scardaccione, Merlini, 1996). Probation promotes the adolescent “taking responsibility” for his behaviour, where responsibility, rather than being the starting point of a provision, represents its goal (De Leo, 1998). This means that the adolescent, for instance is requested: not to re-offend, to engage in school or job programmes, to be available for structured activities during his spare time, to carry out community payback or community service or participate in victim-offender mediation programmes, to acknowledge the judicial authority supporting and supervising the programme and so on. That is why the assessment of the young offender includes a decision surrounding he ability to take responsibility, if supported, i.e. admission of guilt, acknowledgement of its meaning and its severity, capacity to engage in a program, actual availability to carry it out, in view of a shared probation programme to be presented before the court. As the concept of responsibility is so crucial, one may wonder how to assess it as a prerequisite for a probation programme. 131
  • 140. The assessment of young offenders in juvenile justice 1 dicembre 2010 services The subjective prerequisite of a probation programme does not seem to be the admission of guilt, as it is important to distinguish between the event and its symbolization or subjective meaning. It is more important that the young offender acknowledges his responsibility in relation to the event he may be judged for and accepts engagement in a probation programme, opening up to developmental paths and opportunities that may be different from his past. The assessment of his motivation does not involve the assessment of the young persons sincere attitude, but rather, it addresses his understanding of the meaning of the relationship with a juvenile justice professional and the judge, and his willingness to engage in the programme presented before the court. The probation programme is based on the assessment of the young offender, his family and his environment and the trust relationship established with the professionals, where the work to be carried out is undertaken. Therefore, the assessment of availability to treatment may be seen as the final stage of the assessment carried out within the juvenile justice services, including the assessment of personality traits (the programme is tailored), re-offending and violence risk (the young person will be required not to re-offend) and maturity (a probation programme cannot132 Prevention and Fight Against Crime 2007 With financial support from the Prevention of and Fight Against Crime Programme European Commission – Directorate-General Justice, Freedom And Security
  • 141. 6. The assessment of antisocial behavior within adevelopmental frame Italian Network for Young Offenders Assessment and Treatment be carried by an individual who demonstrates existan insufficient capacity to take responsibility and engage). It is important to study how, similarly to the assessment of maturity, the assessment of availability to treatment may be carried out. It seems difficult to find empirical criteria for the concepts of development and capacity to take responsibility. It would be helpful is an operational definition existed of the competences requested by an adolescent in order to be considered mature and able to take responsibility. The second cluster of the RST-I (Salekin, 2004) only answers in part, questions indicating the main factors to be considered when addressing the assessment of availability to treatment. The young offender’s acknowledgement of his rule-breaking and illicit behaviour has been studied. Once he has confirmed his willingness to engage in a probation programme, the practical aspects of his implementation are addressed. Consideration also needs to be given to various psychological issues including: type and severity of a mental health disorder and the acknowledgement of ones difficulties and or capacity to reflect upon them. Being the synthesis of the assessment, availability to treatment also includes the “criminal career” of the young person, e.g. number of previous 133
  • 142. The assessment of young offenders in juvenile justice 1 dicembre 2010 services criminal provisions and the age at first offence, as such factors are significantly and positively related to re-offending. Finally, interpersonal skills, i.e. feeling appropriate guilt, empathy and care, positive attachment to significant adults (such as friends, teachers, the professionals of the assessment team) and protective factors (availability and support from the young offenders parents side) need to also be explored. Multicultural assessment Further difficulties arising during the assessment of immigrant young offenders as, the assessment is initially focused on the understanding of his cultural identifications. The assessment needs to explore: way the young person feels he belongs to his culture, and what he thinks of it, how he approaches Italian culture , how he got in touch with it and whether he trusts people that are still “foreign” to him (Trionfi, 2002). Secondly, information about the youths expectations, motivations and experience of migration is collecting, starting with the departure from his country of birth until his arrival in Italy. It can be important to assess whether the young offender talks spontaneously about his migration and the134 Prevention and Fight Against Crime 2007 With financial support from the Prevention of and Fight Against Crime Programme European Commission – Directorate-General Justice, Freedom And Security
  • 143. 6. The assessment of antisocial behavior within adevelopmental frame Italian Network for Young Offenders Assessment and Treatment relationships he maintains with his culture, as some young offenders have experienced war or long separation from family (Maggiolini, 2002) The adolescent is involved in the understanding of the possible personal or family “mandate” relating to his immigration, he is also asked what he thinks about what he has left behind and what it is like to live in a foreign and unfamiliar country. In order to psychologically reach the migrant young offender, a triangular understanding of himself, his environment while in his country and the environment in Italy is carried out. It is not about assessing normality as opposite to psychopathology, it is about understanding how to assess and to support the developmental path of the young person, what are the difficulties he is facing, be them migration-related issues, adolescent conflicts, personality disorders or severe psycho-pathologies. Assessment tests applicable to cultures should be used. The risk related to the use of traditional, cross-cultural insensitive tests with migrant young offenders is that fears of intrusion and judgement may actually become true. In addition, an assessment carried out with tests, concepts and categories not belonging at all to the foreign youth, even if sifted by the professional during his work with the young person, may be of little use to him, making him feel even more persecuted and excluded. 135
  • 144. The assessment of young offenders in juvenile justice 1 dicembre 2010 services The Multicultural Assessment Intervention Process (MAIP; Dana, 2000) was created in order to provide a cross-culturally sensitive basis for the assessment of personality traits and mental health disorders. The introduction to the manual describes the availability of culturally unbiased assessment tests: given the current controversy about the evidence of effective cross-cultural tests, they should be used with care (Dana, 2000, 2005). The MAIP consists of a series of questions for the clinician, who should also think about the cultural circumstances of the young person, as four cultural orientations are considered: • Preservation of the native culture and refusal of the new culture; • Cultural assimilation patterns: refusal of the native culture in favour of the new culture; • “Marginal” orientation: the youth identifies with neither the native culture or the new one; • “Transitional” orientation: traditions and values of the native culture are challenged, in favour of those of the new culture. Most migrant adolescents within the juvenile justice services come from countries where traditions are progressively lost, in favour of a process of homogeneousness replacing traditional beliefs with global and medial136 Prevention and Fight Against Crime 2007 With financial support from the Prevention of and Fight Against Crime Programme European Commission – Directorate-General Justice, Freedom And Security
  • 145. 6. The assessment of antisocial behavior within adevelopmental frame Italian Network for Young Offenders Assessment and Treatment models. Such dual belonging may open identification spaces for the adolescent, or it may lead to barrier during the development of their identity, where different aspects of ones identity are in conflict. Whatever is the case, the relation with ones origins necessarily leads to a psychic work where the adolescent tries to reconstruct the shapes of his world (Maggiolini, 2002). Assessing the cultural orientation to the world prevents confusion between psychopathology and cultural aspects, or psycho-pathology and cultural identity to occur. If an individual understanding of each young persons circumstances is carried out, stress related to a cultural integration still in process will not be interpreted as psychological issues. Not only does the MAIP allow a cross-culturally sensitive assessment, it is also close to a developmental approach. The focus is indeed on the strategies used by the adolescent in order to deal with his developmental needs. The professional tries to understand the individual functioning in relation to the youths environment and his developmental path, while addressing the subjective meaning of choices and behaviours (starting from migration) in relation to their expressive and communicative message to the environment (Maggiolini, Riva, 1998). 137
  • 146. The assessment of young offenders in juvenile justice 1 dicembre 2010 services The use of psycho-diagnostic cross-cultural tests should be guided by the following principles: Tests should be “empirically based”, in order to allow normative data to be collected and empirical research to be carried out; Tests should prove cross-cultural equivalence and set standards for ethnic minorities; Projective tests should be used provided that objective scoring and normative data collection procedures are given, allowing valid and reliable interpretations to be drawn; Guidelines on the training and the psycho-diagnostic use of assessment tests, in order to improve the validity of interpretations drawn from their results in multi-cultural assessment, should be provided. Today, there are a few tests meeting the above criteria, granting cultural sensitivity to clinical assessment, combining in a “multi-cultural set of tests for personality assessment”. .138 Prevention and Fight Against Crime 2007 With financial support from the Prevention of and Fight Against Crime Programme European Commission – Directorate-General Justice, Freedom And Security
  • 147. 7. Conclusion e perspectives Italian Network for Young Offenders Assessment and Treatment The project promoted an exchange in the field of the assessment and the treatment of young offenders between psychologists, educators, social workers and other professionals working within the Italian juvenile justice services. The assessment of young offenders is at the core of the work carried out within the juvenile justice services by psychologists, educators and social workers who rarely have an opportunity to exchange their opinions about their work. Representatives of each service were invited to share their views about objectives and methods of the assessment of young offenders. The opinions of the psychologists concerning theory and practice of assessment and treatment were explored in detail. Seminars attended by European experts in the field, paved the way for an exchange at European level. The project was carried out at a time of significant change in the organization of the Italian juvenile justice services. From the 1st of January 139
  • 148. The assessment of young offenders in juvenile justice 1 dicembre 2010 services 2010 health care functions performed within the juvenile justice system were transferred to the National Health Service (NHS). This represented a major change, particularly for the psychologists who had previously been employed by the Ministry of Justice. During such a significant restructure, the project provided a well-timed contribution. The debate on the assessment of young offenders does not solely concern Italy. In November 2010 The International Juvenile Justice Observatory held an international conference on mental disorders and drug misuse amongst young offenders. The lecturers discussed the high percentage of young offenders showing mental health issues at intake into juvenile justice and emphasized the importance of a mental health approach. The Minotauro team were pleased to present a contribution at the conference. The data presented both at the conference and within this report confirms that the assessment is at the core of the work carried out within the juvenile justice services. However, it is also necessary to focus on the issue of the objectives, methods and tests used for the assessment, the relationship between the professionals involved (e.g. psychologists, psychiatrists, social140 Prevention and Fight Against Crime 2007 With financial support from the Prevention of and Fight Against Crime Programme European Commission – Directorate-General Justice, Freedom And Security
  • 149. 7. Conclusion e perspectives Italian Network for Young Offenders Assessment and Treatment workers and educators) and finally the relationship between psycho-social assessment and the court’s decisions. As a result of this project it has been discovered that an integrated and inter-professional culture of assessment exists in Italy; even though the objectives are poorly defined, with limited knowledge exchange and no common theoretical framework . The actuarial model of assessment is not popular, taking into account static and dynamic re-offending risk factors, with particular regards to the dynamic ones, which are inherently subject to change. Screening is not usually conducted, nor is a clinical assessment oriented at providing a diagnosis or using standardized tests. A socio-educational approach prevails. This approach is based on the objective, anagraphic or social data, in addition to the opinions of the professionals’ held in the interpersonal relationship with the young offender. It is worth noting that the professionals seem reluctant to use standardized tests or to give structured and defined clinical opinions. Such reluctance appears to be the result of the professionals attempting to avoid 141
  • 150. The assessment of young offenders in juvenile justice 1 dicembre 2010 services stigmatizing the young offender, but it often results in the reports being poorly defined and not very well constructed. During the seminars an exchange between diagnostically oriented mental health logics, considering antisocial behaviours as the result of a mental health disorder, and socio-educational logics, which are more inclined to view antisocial behaviours as the result of a complex relationship between the young person and his family or often a deprived social environment. The debate revealed that a developmental psychology and psychopathology approach could be very helpful in understanding juvenile crime. Such an approach avoids stigmatizing young offenders or exclusively relating juvenile crime to mental health disorders. A developmental psychology and psychopathology approach would instead remain open to the subjective and intentional dimension of crime. With this approach in mind, an assessment performs a very different function to a diagnosis, which aims to distinguishing those to be punished and those ”unsound” to be cured. Although young offenders frequently have mental health issues , the juvenile justice system should not only perform a142 Prevention and Fight Against Crime 2007 With financial support from the Prevention of and Fight Against Crime Programme European Commission – Directorate-General Justice, Freedom And Security
  • 151. 7. Conclusion e perspectives Italian Network for Young Offenders Assessment and Treatment health care function. In accordance with the Italian juvenile criminal procedure code, the juvenile justice system must promote the young offenders’ development, capacity to take responsibility for their behaviours and to gain a positive social identity. A developmental approach combines the focus on the young person with the focus on his family and social environment, taking into account the relationship between the offence and developmental needs which have not been met. Over the past 50 years, work carried out by the psychologists within the Italian juvenile justice services has always carried an attention to subjective meanings. While working within the Italian juvenile justice services, influential adolescence psychoanalysts, such as Arnaldo Novelletto, Tommaso Senise and Gustavo Pietropolli Charmet have emphasized even unconscious subjective meanings attached to the criminal behaviour. As the culture of psychologists working within the juvenile justice services has become increasingly diverse (with representatives of the psychoanalytic, cognitive-behavioural and systemic models), the number of theoretical approaches has increased leading to a lack of common theory and 143
  • 152. The assessment of young offenders in juvenile justice 1 dicembre 2010 services practices. A developmental approach may help to combine all the disparate approaches. As part of the project, a network of the psychologists working in the Italian juvenile justice services has been established: a mailing list is now used by its members to exchange information and practices. This Italian network may set the precedent for an exchange at European level. Future activities to consider include a systematic survey and a national pilot project, focused on the relationship between assessment at intake and re- offending and the study of young offenders aged 18+. It might also be worth applying the developmental theory to the assessment and the treatment of antisocial young adults as it may be useful to relate the features of the young adulthood phase to the assessment and treatment of antisocial young adults. .144 Prevention and Fight Against Crime 2007 With financial support from the Prevention of and Fight Against Crime Programme European Commission – Directorate-General Justice, Freedom And Security
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