Thursday, February 28, 2013

DEC. 2012 BPH Executive Board meeting - Dr. Latessa on PCL-R

BPH's December 2012 Executive Board meeting had several speakers including Dr. Latessa Professor at the University of Cincinnati and Dr. Kusaj (current FAD chief psychologist).

Edward J. Latessa received his Ph.D. from the Ohio State University in 1979 and is Interim Dean and Professor of the College of Education, Criminal Justice and Human Services at the University of Cincinnati.  Dr. Latessa has published over 140 works in the area of criminal justice, corrections, and juvenile justice.  He is co-author of seven books including Corrections in the Community, and Corrections in America. Professor Latessa has directed over 150 funded research projects including studies of day reporting centers, juvenile justice programs, drug courts, prison programs, intensive supervision programs, halfway houses, and drug programs. He and his staff have also assessed over 600 correctional programs throughout the United States, and he has provided assistance and workshops in over forty-five states. Dr. Latessa served as President of the Academy of Criminal Justice Sciences (1989-90).

Successful Rehabilitation was the focus of  Dr. Ed Latessa's presentation. Dr. Kusaj's presentation focused on Risk Assessment and Parole Decision Making.

In attendance were most of the BPH Commissioners. A transcript of this public session is available. Please contact the Law office of Diane T. Letarte for a copy of the pdf file transcript.

One interesting comment (below) by Dr. Latessa on the result and use of the PCL-R test (aka psychopathy check list) when questioned by one of the BPH commissioner in attendance.

Below is a short EXCERPT of one Dr. Latessa's response at the December 2012 Executive Board Meeting Session:

We have some inmates who have high -- are high on the Psychopathy Checklist. And are there ideas -- You know, some of it's historical,  some of it's fluid, ideas for them, the programs that they need to work on those issues on the checklist.

DR. LATESSA: That's a tough question. I'm not,  you know, I've done some work in this area. I'm not,  you know, an expert per se in psychopathy. There are  those including one of my colleagues I work closely with  who believes that we can bring about change with  psychopaths. Conventional research wisdom says they do  not respond well to the traditional approaches. They do  not respond to talk therapy at all. COG, no.

There is  some evidence that putting them in treatment makes them  worse. And the reason is because these are people that  are bright, manipulative, and when you put them in group  settings, right, what they're learning is what people's  weaknesses are and how to go at them and so forth. For  example, in our studies in Ohio, we found that putting low risk sex offenders and high risk sex offenders was a  big mistake. You increased dramatically the risk for  low risk sex offenders, and I think it's because they  were learning these things from the high risk people. I do know there are some states that do work with  psychopaths and they tend to keep them together. So  they do not put them in with other inmates a YA sex offender program. For example, Wisconsin used to do  that. I don't know if they still do. So what they're  doing is providing treatment, but that's an inclusionary  criteria. You don't put them in with non, you know.

The label psychopath is a tough label. It's a damning  label. I think where you really are concerned is when  they have a history of violent behavior. I would never  just do a psychopathy checklist on everybody. It's a  big mistake. But if they've got a history of violent  behavior, I think it's appropriate to screen them for that and then you have to make decisions accordingly. But I can't stand here and say we've got all these great  treatment modalities for them. Most folks would say  that, you know, we don't.

Not all psychopaths, you know, get into trouble. Some of them are CEOs, some of  them sell insurance, you know, used cars, brothers-in- law, people like that. But when they've got that  history of violence, then I think you have to be -- I'd always err on the side of caution.

For  more thorough viewing of the interactions between the BPH commissioners and the Guest Psychologist speaker please contact Attorney Diane T. Letarte for a copy of the transcript at email: please specify in the SUBJECT line that you are requesting BPH Dec 2012 Session transcript from my BLOG posting.