Conduct Violations and Recidivism Risk: An Investigation of the Life Course Importation Model

Publication Date



Prison Conduct Violations (CVs) present a unique challenge, as they pose a danger to the safety of inmates and staff (Bottoms, 1999; Cao, Zhao, & Van Dine, 1997). Individual factors, which increase risk of engaging in prison misconduct, have been the focus of correctional research. Given that these individual factors generally do not change after one is released to the community, they affect one's risk of reoffending. Risk of prison misconduct and future offending were investigated using the Life Course Importation model. Separate negative binomial regressions revealed inmates who committed sex offenses and those with longer sentences were both less likely to engage in prison misconduct than non-sexual offenders and those with shorter sentences. Education, age, and ethnicity were not uniquely associated with CVs. Future research should focus on specific types of misconduct in order to augment these factors and minimize risk in prison. Using Receiver Operator Curve (ROC) analysis, the area under the curve was weak (AUC = 0.58, CI = .49 - .60), suggesting CVs do not have strong predictive validity in identifying recidivists. However, CVs were significantly positively associated with recidivism (Spearman's rho, r = .14, p = .046), as measured by a retrospective analysis of incarcerations. As such, prison misconduct should be considered in actuarial risk assessment tools to enhance the predictive ability of these measures to estimate recidivism and future risk.

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy in Clinical Psychology (PhD)

First Advisor

Putman, Katharine Meese

Document Type





Recidivism, Criminal behavior, Crime forecasting, Prison violence




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