Predicting Institutional Violence among Death Row Inmates: The Utility of the Sorensen and Pilgrim Model

Jacqueline K. Buffington-Vollum, John F. Edens, Andrea Keilen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

3 Scopus citations

Abstract

The (Sorensen and Pilgrim, An actuarial risk assessment of violence posed by capital murder defendants. J Crim Law Criminol 90:1251-1270, 2000) actuarial model was developed to predict institutional violence among life-sentenced murderers. However, despite its presentation at capital sentencing, the model has not been validated on death row inmates specifically. This study examined the association between Sorensen and Pilgrim model scores and five types of institutional violence (serious assaults, minor assaults, verbal assault/threats, prison order offenses, and non-violent infractions) among a sample of 155 individuals who had been incarcerated on death row in Texas. Results revealed that risk scores performed better for non-violent infractions than for serious assaults, calling into question the utility of this measure for capital sentencing evaluations.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)16-22
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Police and Criminal Psychology
Volume23
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Dec 1 2008

Keywords

  • Capital sentencing
  • Death penalty
  • Death row
  • Expert testimony
  • Future dangerousness
  • Institutional violence

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