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6 Use of Criminal Career Information in Criminal Justice Decision Making INTRODUCTION All stages of decision making within the criminal justice system may use infor- mation regarding an incliviclual's criminal career: a police officer in deciding whether or not to arrest a suspect, a pros- ecutor in cleciding whether to pursue a case, a magistrate in setting pretrial re- lease conditions, a sentencing judge in weighing community safety when ciecicI- ing on a punishment, and a parole board in making a release decision. In all of these decisions, there are multiple, often competing, objectives, of which one re- flects a concern for public safety: that concern involves at least an implicit at- tempt to assess an indiviclual's criminal career. The dimensions of criminal ca- reers cannot be measurer! directly, but decision makers often attempt to draw inferences about them from observable characteristics such as prior record, age, employment status, or drug clependency. The resulting characterization of an of- fender reflects a decision maker's own experience with offenders in the context of her or his personal background and 155 theories of behavior. Thus, these con- structed portraits of offenders are likely to be basest on varying information and to slider considerably across decision makers. At each decision stage, the characteris- tics used to assess a suspect are con- strained in part by the type of information at hand and by the time avaflable to gather adclitional information. Aciclitional time may permit successive decision makers to assemble a more complete pic- ture. However, decision makers are rarely able to generate detafled informa- tion about the most operationally relevant criminal career dimensions: the fre- quency of offending and the time remain- ing in the career. Rather, they use the available information to roughly cate- gorize inclivicluals on the basis of a presumed likelihood of future criminal activity by converting an indivicluaT's observable attributes into some general risk classification, such as high, low, or medium risk. This process may be ex- plicit, as in the formal scoring methods used by parole boards for release deci- sions and by prosecutors for case assign

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156 meets to criminal career units, or implicit, anc! perhaps only as a secondary objec . , ~ Eve, In a JUC .ge s sentencing ctec~s~ons. For most decisions, a risk classification contributes to the selection of one of the available choices low bone! or high boncI; a sentence to prison, jail, or proba- tion; release on parole or clenial but it is almost never the only consideration. The complexity of these other considerations, such as retribution in sentences or strength of the evidence in prosecutorial decisions, makes it particularly clifficult to isolate the role of criminal career informa- tion in the clecision. In aciclition, in all these decisions, ethical considerations limit the ways in which a risk cIassifica- tion can be used in a decision. The nature of those limits varies consiclerably across the different stages of the criminal justice system; for example, the use of risk cIas- sifications at parole has long been ac- ceptec] anc] is wiclely practiced, while such classifications at sentencing are more controversial. There is also consiclerable debate about the kinds of variables that shouIc! legitimately enter any formal risk cIassifi- cation. The most legally relevant vari- able-the current offense- is an impor- tant consideration, as is information about prior adult convictions. Other defendant characteristics that might have predictive power, but that are more controversial, include variables like prior arrests (espe- cially if not followed by convictions), or socioeconomic factors such as employ- ment status. The most controversial vari- ables are so-called ascribed characteris- tics, such as sex or race, over which the offender has no control. Previous chapters state of knowledge about criminal careers ant! the means by which the criminal justice system might try to intervene to modify those careers. In this chapter we summarized the CRIMINAL CAREERS AND CAREER CRIMINALS examine ways in which criminal career information is used, both formally and informally, in decision making and the means by which better information might be provided to facilitate those uses. We first examine the various ways in which criminal career information is combined with other considerations in decisions at each stage of criminal processing. Such information is most relevant in decisions about whether to hold a person in con- finement. We next examine methodological ap- proaches for the development of predic- tion scales. In some jurisdictions for some stages of the criminal justice system, the use of risk classifications invokes explicit prediction methods in which predictor variables are selected, weighted, and combined to generate a precliction score. This score is used to form a classification rule: individuals with prediction scores above a specified cut point are designated "high risk" and those with scores below that cut point are designated "low risk." Any such classification rule inevitably re- sults in some errors among predicted high risks who are not (false positives) and predicted Tow risks who are not (false negatives). Use of prediction in criminal justice decision making raises some ethi- cal questions: the weight to give to pre- dicted future offending, "unacceptable" predictor variables, and the selection of the cut point, which dictates the mix of false positive and false negative errors. Although the choices of weights, vari- ables, ant! cut points must be macle lo- cally, we attempt to identify the critical issues to be considered in making those choices. Finally, since all prediction scales are dependent on the quality ant! complete- ness of the data available, we examine some issues in the use of individual rec- ords, and particularly juvenile recorcls,

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USE OF CRIMINAL CAREER lNFORMATlON lN DECISION MAKING which might contribute appreciably to improved classification. CRIMINAL CAREER PERSPECTIVES IN CRIMINAL JUSTICE DECISION MAKING A substantial bocly of research, summa- rized in a paper prepared for the pane! (Gottfredson and Got~redson, Volume II), has been directed at establishing the determinants of each major criminal jus- tice decision: arrest, prosecution, pretrial release, sentencing, and parole.) The dis- cussion in this section examines the de- gree to which those decisions selectively target individuals with serious criminal careers, i.e., those with the highest aver- age values of offending frequency (A), especially for serious crimes, and the longest residual careers. Chanters 2, 3, ant! 4 highlight the relevance of the in- stant offense, records of the prior adult and juvenile criminal activity, drug use, and employment history as indicators of more serious criminal careers; this chap- ter emphasizes the role of those factors in criminal justice decision making.2 iWith respect to research on decisions on arrest, see, for example, Piliavin and Briar (1964), LaFave (1965), Black and Reiss (1970), Reiss (1971), and Smith and Visher (1981~; on prosecution choices, see Forst and Brosi (1977), Forst, Lucianovic, and Cox (1977), Jacoby, Mellon, and Smith (1982), Feeney (1983~; on pretrial release see Ebbeson and Konecni (1975), Bynum (1976), Bock and Frazier (1977), Roth and Wice (1978), Goldkamp (1979), Goldkamp and Gottiredson (1984~; on sentencing, see major reviews by Blumstein et al. (1983), Hagan and Bumiller (1983), Garber, Klepper, and Nagin (1983), and Klepper, Nagin, and Tierney (1983~; on parole, see major reviews by Schuessler (1954), Mannheim and Wilkins (1955), and D.M. Gottfredson, Wilkins, and Hoffman (1978~. 2The literature contains research on many other factors, ranging from psychological tests to defend- ant demeanor in the courtroom, that we did not review and are not covered in this discussion. ~- 7 157 Police Decisions Faced with the decision to arrest a suspect, police officers must weigh the evidence of"probable cause" (LaFave, 1965) along with considerations of main- taining public order and protecting other people. Information about the criminal careers of suspects is most useful in ad- vancing the latter objective. Except when an arrest occurs at the end of an investi- gation, such information has typically not been available at the time of the ar- rest decision. However, this situation is changing as telecommunications equip- ment and advanced record retrieval systems allow officers on the scene to check a suspect's wanted or warrant sta- tus. Studies of police officers' arrest deci- sions report that the dominant variable accounting for a police decision to arrest is the seriousness of the alleger] offense (see, e.g., Black, 1971; Sherman, 1980; Smith, 19821. Over factors that increase the probability of arrest are hostile behav- ior by the suspect, victims' preferences for arrest, a stranger-to-stranger relation- ship between the victim and the suspect, the officer's prior knowledge of the par- ties involved, and low socioeconomic neighborhood (see, e.g., Piliavin and Briar, 1964; Frieclrich, 1977; Smith, 19861. Some evidence suggests that in encounters involving interpersonal dis- putes, suspects who appear to be under the influence of alcohol are more likely to be arrested (Smith and Klein, 1984~; however, the effect of suspects' drug use on arrest decisions has not been exam- ined. Programs have been established to structure police decision making in order to focus additional resources on offenders with serious criminal careers. This can be accomplished by targeting prearrest in

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158 vestigation on such offenders, by postar- rest investigation to assist in prosecuting them, and by placing high priority on serving warrants on them (Gay and Bow- ers, 19851. Of the three approaches, only prearrest targeting leaves the choice of targets to the police; postarrest priorities are generally establisher! by statute or by prosecutors. As one example, prearrest targeting was a major theme of the Repeat Offender Project (ROP) of the Washington, D.C., Metropolitan Police Department. A sne- cial ROP unit was established in 1982 to target and apprehend offenders believed to be committing five or more FBI index offenses per week (an annual frequency of at least 260) or to be trafficking in stolen property. Initially, a committee of senior officers selectee] ROP targets without any explicit rule-on the basis of informa- tion developed through informants and investigations, as well as available police records; other offenders became ROP tar- gets because of outstanding warrants or arrest opportunities that arose during in- vestigations of other targets. This selec- tion process led to the targeting of of- fenders who were older than average and had longer-than-average records of previ- ous adult inclex arrests. Subsequently, the ROP unit adopted an explicit rule that gave greatest weight to verified infor- mants' information, but also incorporated variables related to serious criminal ca- reers, such as "criminal history" (not cle- finecl further), narcotics addiction, pend- ing cases, and status as a parolee, probationer, or unemployed! person (Mar- tin, 19841. This approach exemplifies a philosophy expressed in other locations using prearrest targeting, that official- record indicators of the career should be supplemented by additional information on the current level of activity, which may be obtained through informants or other investigative methods (Gay ant] Bowers, 19851. CRIMINAL CAREERS AND CAREER CRIMINALS Prosecution The extent to which prosecution prac- tices successfully target offenders with serious criminal careers is related to how much prosecution efforts are focused on such offenders and whether such efforts result in higher conviction rates or longer sentences. Information on this issue de- rives largely from experience from career criminal units (CCUs), many of which were established with federal funding to give special attention to "career crimi- nals," but with each local prosecutor's office cleaning its target populations. However, other evidence is available from statistical analyses of variables asso- ciatecI with measures of prosecution ef- fort. Decision Making in the Absence of Career Criminal Units Since obtaining a conviction is a pri- mary prosecution goal, it is not surprising that the availability of evidence has been found to be the principal determinant of prosecution effort (see review in Rhocles, 1984~. Other determinants are the seri- ousness of the current charge and the relationship between the defendant and victim. The degree to which prosecution is focused on defendants with serious criminal histories is far less clear. Several stuclies have found evidence that charge reflections or other indicators of plea bar- gaining occur less frequently in cases involving defendants with extensive ar- rest histories (Bernstein et al., 1977; McDonald, 1978; lacoby, Mellon, and Smith, 1982~. Empirical results on alloca- tion of effort vary, depencling on the mea- sure of prosecution effort being analyzer! (e.g., time from arrest to (lisposition, plea bargaining indicators, attorney hours).3 sin an econometric analysis of 5,717 felony cases, Forst and Brosi (1977) found no relationship be

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USE OF CRIMINAL CAREER INFORMATION IN DECISION MAKING The influence of a juvenile arrest or adjudication record on adult prosecution decisions is largely unexplored. The bi- furcation of juvenile and adult records certainly inhibits prosecutors from ob- taining and using juvenile records at early decision points. Greenwood, Petersflia, and Zimring (1980) report that in a na- tional survey, 60 percent of prosecutors responded that juvenile police records were "rarely or never" avaflable at the time of filing, while a majority (74 per- cent) reported that adult records are "al- ways or usually" available. Boland and Wilson (1978) hypothesized that because of the lack of information about juvenile activity, the aclult criminal justice system makes no distinction between the first adult arrest of a chronic juvenile offender and the arrest of a true first offender. A test of the Boland-Wflson hypothesis re- quires a comparison between a jurisclic- tion with integrated juvenile and adult records and a comparable jurisdiction with more limited sharing of information. No adequate test has yet been carried out. One effort in this direction was uncler- taken by Greenwood, Abrahamse, and Zimring (1984) in comparing prosecutors' tween prior record and time from arrest to disposi- tion, which was the authors' proxy for effort. In part, this lack of relationship is appropriate because arrest history is included as a factor in their strength-of- evidence measure, which was found to positively influence prosecutor efforts. On the basis of an experimental study of 855 prosecutors, Jacoby, Mellon, and Smith (1982) report that defendants' criminality (as measured by prior convictions, ar- rests, and parole or wanted status) was related to the priority assigned to a case, once it had been ac- cepted for prosecution. Hausner, Mullin, and Moorer (1982), analyzing a large sample of cases presented to U.S. attorneys, found that cases involv- ing repeat offenders were more likely to be ac- cepted than cases involving first offenders. But the analysis did not control for strength of evidence, and the acceptance decision patterns may not apply outside the federal system because the declined cases were also eligible for prosecution in state courts. 159 decisions in Seattle, which has an inte- gratec] record! system, with those in Los Angeles and Las Vegas, which do not; however, there were not enough relevant cases in Seattle for satisfactory analysis. In that study, Greenwood, Abrahamse, and Zimring (1984) argue that the avail- abflity of the juvenile record! cloes not guarantee that its severity will influence case disposition. There have been few studies of the influences on prosecution efforts of other variables relater! to serious criminal ca- reers, such as drug use and employment status, and the evidence is not consis- tent.4 Career Criminal Unit Evaluations Career Criminal Units were estab- lished in more than 100 prosecutors' of- fices during the 1970s. Their caseloads were generally restricted by case selec- tion criteria that were left to the discre- tion of the local jurisdictions. One evalu- ation found that CCU cases received more attention: CCU convictions were found to consume between five and seven times as many attorney hours as other convictions; smaller but still sizable differentials in attorney hours were also observed for pleas and dismissals (Rhodes, 19801. Two CCU evaluations (Springer and Phillips, no..; Chelimsky and Dahmann, 1981) provide information on whether CCUs selected cases involv- ing defendants with the most serious criminal careers and on whether the extra resources led to higher conviction rates or 40ne analysis of prosecution decision making in 1,196 burglary cases found the probability of case acceptance to be positively related to the existence of a prior record, but for defendants with prior records, a prior drug-related charge made prosecu- tion less likely in the instant case. However, be- cause the cases arose from a special burglary pro- gram, these conclusions may not generalize to other settings (see Rhodes, 19841.

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160 longer sentences for the targeted defen- dants. The four CCUs evaluated by Chelim- sky and Dahmann showed marked varia- tion in formal selection criteria. Defini- tions of"career criminals" differed in terms of current charge thresholds (e.g., robberies only, felonies only, or any charge); attention to prior arrests and con- victions; and "status indicators," such as pretrial or parole release following an earlier case. While the evaluators claimed that it was impossible to say "with any certainty how closely the group of indi- viduals prosecuted by these programs represented the ideal career criminal group" (1981:72), the selection criteria used by the four CCUs were in fact ~en- erally consistent with indicators of seri- ous criminal careers, although the selec- tion might have been improved by also considering drug involvement. Evaluating the impact of CCUs on case processing is more problematic. On the basis of their reviews of 15 evaluations, Springer and Phillips (n.d.) conclude that prosecution by CCUs was more success- ful than routine prosecution in terms of pretrial detention rates, conviction rates, dismissal rates, and incarceration rates. In contrast, Chelimsky and Dahmann (1981) found no effect of CCUs on these rates, but concurred with the Springer and Phil- lips finding that the units had increased the seriousness of the charges for which convictions were obtained. The differ- ences in conclusions may have arisen because only one of the four units evalu- ated by Chelimsky and Dahmann was in a large urban office. Had they evaluated other jurisdictions whose regular units were under a greater press of caseloads, Chelimsky and Dahmann might have found more substantial effects of CCUs on case outcomes. Results of CCU evaluations should be treated carefully because of two common methodological problems in the research CRIMINAL CAREERS AND CAREER CRIMINALS to date. First, pretest and pastiest periods were typically of only 1 year, so that evaluations were based on only the earli- est cases processed by the units, which may not have been representative of later performance. Second, the comparison group designs used in CCU evaluations cannot completely control for bias in case selection. In maintaining CCU caseloads at desired levels, the formal selection rules were frequently tightened or re- laxed through unwritten informal revi- sions. These shifts may have invoked strength of evidence, perhaps by choos- ing important but weak marginal cases for which extra prosecutorial attention was likely to affect case outcome (thereby bi- asing evaluation results against the unit) or by skimming the best cases to improve the unit's success rate. In either case, informal practices could have distorted the evaluations of CCU effectiveness. Thus, the evidence is still ambiguous on the question of whether resource alloca- tion has a measurable effect on case out- come rates: CCUs do appear to target high-rate serious offenders, but their ef- fect on case outcomes is still unproven. Pretrial Release While the primary consideration in pre- trial release decisions is ensuring appear- ance for trial, community safety during the period until trial is also often an im- portant concern. Indeed, "preventive de- tention" statutes in some jurisdictions permit a judge to focus explicitly on the risk to the community in detaining a sus- pect prior to trial. No assessments are available of the effects of preventive de- tention laws in routine use. (See, how- ever, Bases and MacDonald, 1972, for an early evaluation, and Gottlieb, 1985, for a preliminary report of an evaluation in progress.) Even in the absence of preven- tive detention laws, however, judges can and do consider current criminal justice

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USE OF CRIMINAL CAREER INFORMATION IN DECISION MAKING status, prior record, and other factors re- lated to criminal careers in their pretrial ~ ~ cleclslons. Analyses of the pretrial release deci- sion have generally considered the role of seriousness of the current charge, indica- tors ofties to the community, and eviden- tiary strength. Charge seriousness domi- nates the decision, measured in terms of either release of the defendant on per- sonal recognizance or the amount of fi- nancial bond demanded (Gottfredson and Gottiredson, Volume II; Rhodes, 19841. The influence of charge seriousness re- flects joint concern over the incentive for nonappearance at a trial that might result in a serious sentence as well as concern about harm to the community in the event of repetition of the crime during the pre- trial period. Community-ties indicators (e.g., local residence of family) are in- tended to predict appearance at trial; however, they have not been consistently found to influence the decision to release a defendant on personal recognizance, and they seem not to affect the amount of bait or conditions of release in serious cases when the defendant is not released on recognizance (Goldkamp and Gott- fredson, 1981a,b). Adult criminal history emerges as com- parable in importance to seriousness of the current charge in determining pretrial release decisions (M.R. Gottiredson, 1974; Bynum, 1976; Roth anc] Wice, 1978; Goldkamp, 1979; Goldkamp and Gottfred- son, 1981a, b; Nagel, 1983; Stryker, Nagel, and Hagan, 19831. Two related measures have been found significant: indicators of the overall adult record (measured in such teas as total prior arrests or number of felony convictions in the preceding 5 years) and indicators of current criminal justice status (e.g., pend- ing cases at the time of arrest). Two other variables related to serious criminal careers~rug use and employ- ment status have been studied. For fel ]6] ony cases in urban courts, indicators of drug use have been found not to influ- ence either the decision to release on recognizance or the bond amount set for defendants not released immediately (Roth and Wice, 1978; Goldkamp and Gottfredson, 19841. The most recent study of the federal system also found no evidence that drug use influences pretrial release decisions (Rhodes, 19851. In at least two jurisdictions, urinalysis tests for current drug involvement are made at the time of arrest. However, analyses are not yet available ofthe relationship of the test results to pretrial release decisions and to clefenclants' pretrial conduct. Employ- ment status, however, has been consis- tently found to influence decisions on pretrial release on recognizance. Em- ployecI clefendants are more likely than unemployed defendants to be released on personal recognizance, controlling for charge seriousness and prior record (see, e.g., Roth and Wice, 1978; GolUkamp and Gottfrecison, 1981a). This finding may re- flect both a recognition of their commu- nity ties as well as a reluctance to impose an extralegal penalty (namely, loss of job ant] income) before trial. Sentencing Determinants of sentencing were re- cently reviewed by a pane} of the Na- tional Research Council, which con- cluded that "using a variety of indicators, offense seriousness and offender's prior record have emerges] as the key determi- nants of sentences" (Blumstein et al., 1983:83~. Despite measurement prob- lems that tend to cause underestimates of its effect, prior record consistently emerges as one of the strongest effects on sentence, second only to the current charge (Blumstein et al., 1983:83~7; Got~recison and Gottfredson Volume II). A review prepared for this panel (Rhocles, 1984) i(lentified three studies,

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162 conducted in support of sentencing guidelines development, that have also found drug use to be an aggravating factor at sentencing for certain charges: sex crimes, fraud, weapons charges, and forg- ery. These offenses are neither so serious that incarceration is nearly automatic nor so minor that it would be inappropriate. With such intermediate offenses, there is more room for the influence of factors such as drug use that are not related to the current charge and prior record. Sentencing is the decision point at which the potential effect of juvenile record availability receives the greatest attention, and analyses have provided some fragmentary evidence suggesting that routine availability of juvenile rec- ords might increase the sentences of young adult offenders with extensive ju- venile records. Greenwood, Abrahamse, and Zimring (1984) compared sentencing practices for young adults in three juris- dictions: Las Vegas, with no disclosure of juvenile records before the presentence investigation; Los Angeles, with frequent pretrial information sharing between the two systems; and Seattle, with one of the few integrated repositories containing both juvenile and adult records. While their study was limited, the researchers found that, among young adult defen- dants, those with more extensive juvenile records were more likely than others to be sent to a state prison in all three sites (1984:531. They attribute the finding in part to informal record sharing, and they also point out that even in the absence of information, a sentencing judge may pre- sume the existence of a median juvenile record, in which case presentation of a minimal record would be treated as a mitigating factor. Uncertainty concerning the influence of juvenile records on sentencing in the adult system makes clear the need for more careful comparisons of individual case decisions in a "two-track" system (in CRIMINAL CAREERS AND CAREER CRIMINALS which juvenile records are shielded from adult authorities) with decisions in a sim- ilar "one-track" system with shared infor- mation. The most comprehensive analy- sis of decision making in a one-track system was based on data from London, where juvenile court information is shared with adult authorities. That study concluded Mat the number of juvenile convictions does influence sentence se- verity at the first adult conviction (Langan and Farrington, 1983~. While the relation- ship between expected incarceration time and age is confounded by the dif- ferent institutional options available at different ages, the probability that a con- viction leads to incarceration increases monotonically with the number of prior convictions over the entire age range of 10 to 24. Replication and comparison of this analysis in comparable American set- tings for example, Seattle and another jurisdiction in the state of Washington with separate juvenile and adult reposito- ries would be an important step in as- certaining the effect of a single repository for both juvenile and adult records in informing the sentencing decision. Parole Release In their release decisions, parole au- thorities consider retributive concerns, support for maintaining institutional dis- cipline, and facilitating inmate reentry into society. The parole decision also in- vokes prediction of future offenses, fre- quently by means of formal guidelines (HofEnan and Beck, 1974; HofEnan, 19831. Analyses of parole decisions have gen- erally measured the decision outcome ei- ther in terms of time served in prison or a binary release/no release outcome at the time of first eligibility for parole. Neither of these measures is entirely satisfactory. "Time served in prison" confounds the parole decision with the sentence, espe

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USE OF CRIMINAL CAREER INFORMATION IN DECISION MAKING cially the minimum sentence; the binary indicator fails to reflect the severity of punishment imposed. Furthermore, nei- ther indicator captures aspects like the term and special conditions of parole. Despite the difficulty of analyzing pa- role decisions, two variables emerge as dominant influences: the charge that led to the incarceration and the adult criminal history (Scott, 1974; D.M. GottEredson et al., 1978; Elion and Megargee, 1979~. Not surprisingly, these variables are also the primary bases of parole guidelines used to structure decisions in the federal sys- tem and in many states. Other indicators of serious criminal ca- reers also play a role in parole decision making. Surveys of board members (Parker, 1972) and analyses of cases (Elton and Megargee, 1979) suggest that knowledge of juvenile offenses ant! other life events incorporated in presentence reports play an influential although not 1 1 ~ 1 1 1 1 1 163 Conclusions Criminal justice decisions arrest, pre trial release, prosecution, sentencing, and paroIc are macie with different ranges of discretion, different objectives, and dif ferent information available at the time of the decision. Despite the differences in objectives, each decision includes some assessment of whether the subject is pur suing a serious criminal career ant] hence is a candidate for confinement. A key question is whether these assessments do in fact leacI to more severe sanctions for offenders whose careers involve the most frequent and serious offending over the longest durations. A review of relevant research shows that seriousness of the current charge and prior adult record two factors closely re lated to serious criminal careers~omi nate the decision-making process. Em ployment status only influences decisions Decisive role. mono use nas Seen con- regarding pretrial release. The impact of a sistently found to be a predictor, although juvenile criminal history on decision a weak one, of parole denials (see making has been thoroughly explored GottEredson and Gottfredson, Volume II). only in sentencing; even though items in A history of drug abuse is considered a -' ~ ' ' ~ ' negative indicator at parole hearings, ac cording to both a survey of parole board members (Parker, 1972) and a content analysis of parole board hearings (Carroll and Payne, 1977a, b), but it rarely emerges as a dominant influence on the decision to release (e.g., Scott, 1974; D.M. Gottfrecison et al., 19781. Misconduct during incarceration in- formation not available at sentencing emerges as a strong factor affecting parole decisions (see Gottfredson and GottEred- son, Volume II). Its influence on parole decisions presumably reflects its value in predicting recidivism as well as its moti- vational value in maintaining institu- tional discipline (Glueck and Glueck, 1930; Mannheim and Wilkins, 1955; CarIson, 1973; GottEredson and Aclams, 19801. the juvenile history are related to adult criminal behavior, legal restrictions ant] the inaccessibility of juvenile history in- formation have minimized its use in most criminal justice decisions. Drug use, es- pecially concurrent use of narcotics and other drugs, which is strongly associated with frequent and serious criminal activ- ity, has not been found to be an important determinant of criminal justice decisions. ISSUES IN PREDICTION-BASED CLASSIFICATION Introduction While a variety of considerations are weighed at each stage of criminal justice decision making, the prediction of future offending is a consideration common to all stages. Most often these predictions

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164 i.e., based solely on the are "clinical," decision maker's judgment and previous experience. For more than 60 years, ef- forts have been made to improve the quality of these predictions and to sys- tematize their use by means of statisti- cally derived, precliction-basec! cIassifica- tion rules. Such empirically based rules require clevelopment of scales that relate prediction variables to estimates of future offending and transform every offender's scale score into a risk classification level, such as high risk or Tow risk. The risk classification of each offender is then con- sidered as one factor in making individual decisions. Prediction-based classification rules have been developed for use in pretrial release (GoIc~kamp and Gottfred- son, 1981a), in assignment to a career criminal unit for prosecution (Rhodes et al., 1982), at sentencing (Greenwood, 1982), for institutional classification (D.M. Gottfrecison and Bonds, 1961), and for parole release (Hart, 1923; Mannheim and Wilkins, 1955; Hoffman and Beck, 19741. General arguments for the use of such rules have included enhancing the visi- bility of the decision process, improving the equity of decisions, and providing routine feedback on the outcomes of de- cisions. But perhaps most important, it has been argued that using such rules informs decision makers of systematic patterns occurring beyond their own ex- perience and so can improve the accuracy of their predictions. Interest in predic- tion-based rules has recently been in- creased by attention to selective incapac- itation policies, especially by claims that selective incapacitation can reduce crime, prison populations, or both. Increased pub! c concern about crime, coupled with the pressure of growing prison populations, has intensified the search for more efficient ways to use lim- itec! criminal justice resources. New lim- itations on the discretion of parole boards , ,, CRIMINAL CAREERS AND CAREER CRIMINALS have encouraged the consideration of fu- ture risk at earlier decision points, espe- cially at sentencing. Finally, newly de- veloped prediction scales have attracted attention as candidates for incorporation in prediction-based classification rules. In order to address the technical ant! ethical issues in precliction-based cIassi- fication rules, it is important to first out- line the process by which they are devel- oped. Three basic steps are involved in deriving a scale that assesses the likely future course of an inclividuaT's criminal career: first, assessing the ethical limita- tions on the role of prediction in decision making and on the choice of the predic- tors; second, combining appropriate risk factors to form a prediction scale and using that scale to define a classification rule; and third, validating the perform- ance of the rule in terms of its cIassifica tion errors. Many jurisdictions may not have the necessary data or are otherwise unable to clevelop their own prediction scale and accompanying classification rule, and so have consiclered the transfer of an exist- ing prediction-based classification rule for their own jurisdiction. However, transferring such a rule outside the juris- cliction in which it was developed creates accuracy problems that must be consid- ered carefully. These problems in the transfer of classification rules are clis- cussed at the end of this section. Ethical Issues Opinions differ on the proper role in criminal justice decision making of pre- clictions of future criminality. In one view, because a convicted offender is aIreacly vulnerable to state intervention within statutory limits, use of predictive criteria following conviction, especially in deciding whether to release on parole, is widely accepted by many people. From another view, because of the symbolic

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USE OF CRIMINAL CAREER INFORMATION IN DECISION MAKING import and strong just-deserts component of sentences, many people find the use of prediction at sentencing to be acceptable only within narrow limits, if at all. Some people would permit the use of preclic- tion only in certain preconviction deci- sions, such as selection for pretrial release on personal recognizance or, possibly, for intensive prosecution. Predictive considerations have long played an implicit though informal role in criminal justice decision making. Explicit prediction-based classification rules have been widely used for several decades as a basis for structuring decisions framed in terms of reducing punishment, such as parole release and pretrial release; few ethical objections have been raised against those uses. More recently, explicit rules have been advocated and used as a basis for imposing punishment and in- creasing the risk of punishment: at sen- tencing (Greenwood, 1982), in selection for intensive prosecution (Forst et al., 1982), and in targeting for proactive po- lice investigation (see Martin, 1984; Moore et al., 1984, for discussions). In addition to their presumed advan- tage in effectively targeting crime control resources on worst-risk offenders, explicit rules can make the exercise of discretion more precise and fair. By formalizing the decision criteria, rule-bound decisions ar- ticulate the bases for discretionary deci- sions and make those decisions more pre- dictable. At the same time, when rules serve only as guiclelines, the discretion to diverge from them is retained, but usually carries some burden for providing rea 165 offenders as high risk is acknowledged as a greater concern as the sanction becomes more severe and as the preclicted crimi nal behavior becomes less serious If. Monahan, 1981; Morris ant! Miller, 1985~. For example, imposing life sentences un der the predictive presumption of habit ual offender laws is generally less accept able than briefly detaining the writers of threatening letters to the White House during a presidential public appearance. For any classification rule, the ratio of false-positive to false-negative error rates can be adjuster! by setting more or less stringent threshold scores for classifying a subject as high risk. But the ability to simultaneously reduce both rates re quires improved knowledge about corre lates of the criminal career. Informing policy makers of the estimated error rates is one essential step in enabling them to decide what role prediction-based cIassi fications should play. The choice may well be different for different crimes and sanctions, for different stages of the crim inal justice process, and in different jurisdictions. Ethical Considerations in Selecting Cantlidate Risk Factors Ethical considerations limit the choice of variables that can be used in predic tion-based classification rules. Serious ness of the instant charge appears to have nearly universal acceptance on ethical grounds and is also most useful from a crime control perspective. Charge seri ousness occupies a central ethical place sons for the divergence. in the just-cleserts theory of punishment Several ethical considerations are in- (von Hirsch, 1985:10), and its power to volved in using prediction-basec] cIassifi- enhance incapacitative effects has been cation rules in decision making. One con- clemonstratec] empirically, using data sideration is the relative importance from several jurisdictions (see Chapter 5; given to the predicted incremental dan- Cohen, 1984a). Except for charge serious ger to the public compared with the cost ness, virtually all other variables having to the defendant of the contemplated ad- predictive content have been the subject ditional sanction. Inaccurately classifying of ethical objections to their use in cIas

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USE OF CRIMINaL CAREER INFORMATION IN DECISION MAKING TABLE 6-7 Proposed INSLAW Scale for Selecting Career Criminals for Special Prosecution \7ariable Points 187 Heavy Use of Alcohol Heroin Use Age at Time of Instant Arrest Less than 22 23-27 28~2 33~7 38-42 43+ Length of Criminal Career 0-5 years 6-10 11-15 16-20 21+ Arrests During Last Five Years Crimes of Violence Crimes Against Property Sale of Drugs Other Offenses Longest Time Served, Single Term 1-5 months 6-12 13-24 25~6 37-48 49+ Number Probation Sentences Instant Offense Was Crime of Violence* Instant Offense Was Crime Labeled "Other"** Critical Value to Label an Offender As a "Career Criminal": +47 points +5 +10 +21 +14 +7 o -7 -14 +1 +2 +3 +4 +4 per arrest +3 per arrest +4 per arrest +2 per arrest +4 +9 +18 +27 +36 +45 + 1.5 per sentence +7 -18 *Violent crimes include homicide, assault, robbery, sexual assault, and kidnapping. **Other crimes include military violations, probation and parole violations, weapons and all others except arson, burglary, larceny, auto theft, fraud, forgery, drug sales or possession, and violent crimes. SOURCE: Rhodes et al. (1982:Table Van. On an independent sample nor imple- mentecI in practice, no assessment can be made about its accuracy beyonc] the con- struction sample. Relying on time to rearrest as the de- pendent variable, the INSLAW scale is intended to distinguish among offenders in terms of their frequency rates- which are reciprocally related to the time to rearrest. On the basis of a statistical mode} that fit time to rearrest to offender at- tributes, including prior record, 200 "ca- reer criminals" were iclentifiecI. Again, by relying on predicted! time to rearrest as a basis for estimating inclividual arrest rates, combined with estimates of a ho- mogeneous risk of arrest per crime by offense type, sharp differences in esti- mated individual offense rates, A, were calculated. Individuals iclentified by the scale as career criminals were each esti- matec! to commit an average of 38 nondrug crimes per year, compared with estimated rates of only 4 nondrug crimes per year for other offenders. There are no published results on the

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188 accuracy of these estimates of A that are based on actual rearrest experiences oh- pated. served in the two offender risk groups. The only measures of accuracy reported, baser! on arrests observed during the fol- Tow-up period, are error rates. The false- positive rate was 15 percent among scale- identified career criminals and the false-negative rate was 36 percent among all other offenders; the RIOC is 74 per- cent, and the scale appears quite accurate in distinguishing among offenders in the construction sample in terms of their risk of future arrests. Some deterioration in this accuracy can be expected as the scale is applier! to independent validation samples, especially if the scale, which was developed using released offenders on probation and parole, is applied to the intended target population of ar- restees. The INSLAW scale presented in Table 6-7 invokes a number of offender charac- teristics in ways consistent with what is known about the relationship of those characteristics to the frequency, serious- ness, and duration of offending. Drug and heavy alcohol use are treated as aggravat- ing factors, as is early age at onset (in the form of elapsed career length). Age is presented as an aggravating factor until age 32 and as a mitigating factor after age 38, but over the entire age range, the older the suspect, the better the score. Both frequency and seriousness of prior arrests are aggravating factors. Because of its consistency with available knowledge of criminal careers, the INSLAW scale shows promise; it should be validated on other samples, perhaps leading to exper- imental implementation. Because some scale variables may be controversial e.g., substance abuse and reliance on past arrests rather than convictions- such analyses should include assessments of changes in accuracy under alternative scale formulations; in light of experience with other scales examined here, large CRIMINAL CAREERS AND CAREER CRIMINALS reductions in accuracy are not antici Summary Some recent classification scales rely- ing on similar predictor variables re- flecting primarily prior criminal record and drug use- have displayed greater ac- curacy in identifying worst-risk offenders than earlier scales. When criteria of rear- rest in follow-up periods of at least 3 years are used, false-positive rates among of- fenders classified as worst-risks are under 30 percent in construction samples and under 40 percent in validation samples (see especially Rhodes et al., 1982; Fischer, 1984; and Janus, 1985 in Table 6-~. This difference from the 50 to 60 percent false-positive rates that have tra- ditionally characterized statistical cIassifi- cations of poor-risk offenders is due in part to reliance on broader criterion vari- ables, particularly recidivism measures based on arrests rather than recommit- ment to prison, and measures using longer follow-up periods that increase the likelihood of detecting recidivism. The resulting higher base rates contribute to greater classification accuracy, especially in relation to low selection ratios. For example, the INSLAW scale, with its high base rate and low selection ratio, results in a low false-positive rate (15 percent) but a high false-negative rate (36 percent). However, to the extent that the gains in accuracy are beyond those ex- pected merely from the increased base rates, the broader criterion variables may yield a more sensitive measure of releasees' offending behavior. The Rand scale displays the least im- provement from earlier 50-60 percent false-positive rates. As the only scale based on self-reports, it is unique in at- tempting to predict actual crimes commit- ted rather than arrests. There may be more measurement error in individual

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USE OF CRIMINAL CAREER INFORMATION IN DECISION MAKING TABLE 6-S Accuracy of Several Explicit Classification Scales Assessing Offending Risk ]89 Iowa Assessment INSLAW Rand Inmate Salient Factor Score 81 Scale Scale Scale Hoffman Janus Fisher Rhodes et al. Greenwood Scale Attribute (1983) (1985) (1984) (1982) (1982) Construction sample Federal prisoners Iowa state prisoners Federal pro- Prison and jail released in released in 1976-80 bationers inmates in 1971-72 (N = 814) and parol- California, (N = 3,955) ees re- Michigan, leased from and Texas custody in in 1978 1970-71 (N = 886) (N= 1,708) Validation sample Federal prisoners (N = 2,186) Iowa state prisoners None None released in first released in 1976-80 half of 1978 (N = 186) (N = 2,339) Recidivism criterion Reincarceration Rearrest Rearrest or reincarcer- Time to rear- Individual fre ation for serious rest for seri- quency crime ous crime rates for robbery and burglarya Length of follow-tip 2 3 4 5 None (1- to 2 (years) year retro spective ob servation period) Base rate (%)b Construction sample 31 N.R. 37 42 25 Validation sample 30 44 26 N.V. N.V. Selection ratio (%)c Construction sample 34 N.R. 33 12 27 Validation sample 24 23 30 N.V. N.V. False-positive rate (%) Construction sample 54 N.R. 29 15 55 (3_69)d (0 - 64) (0 - 58) (3_75) Validation sample 51 34 38 N.V. N.V. (0-70) (0-56) (4-74) False-negative rate (%) Construction sample 24 N.R. 20 36 17 (0~1) (4~7) (30-42) (0-25) Validation sample 24 38 11 N.V. N.V. (6-30) (21-44) (0-26) Relative Improvement Over Chance (RIOC)e Construction sample .24 N.R. .54 .74 .31 Validation sample .28 .38 .59 N.V. N.V. NOTE: N.R. = not reported; N.V. = not validated. aThe criterion variable in the Rand Inmate Scale is individual frequency rates of committing crimes, and not a traditional binary recidivism variable (e.g., rearrested or not during a follow-up period). bPercent unfavorable outcomes found in the total sample. CPercent predicted to be high risks in the total sample. dThe minimum and maximum possible values of the false-positive (FP) and false-negative (FN) rates appear in parentheses. These are determined from the selection ratio (SR) and base rate (BR) as follows: FP c 1 - BR; FN c BR; FP 2 SR - BR when SR 2 BR, = 0 otherwise; FN 2 BR - SR when BR 2 SR, = 0 otherwise. eThe Relative Improvement Over Chance (RIOC) compares actual classification accuracy to the maximum accuracy possible and the random accuracy associated with the selection ratio and base rates in sample (see text): RIOC [(1-FP) SR + (1 - FN) (1 - SR)] - [(SR) (BR) + (1 - SR) (1 - BR)] [MIN(SR, BR) + MIN(1 - SR, 1 - BR)] - [(SR)(BR) + (1 - SR) (1 - BR)]

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190 crime rates estimated from self-reports than in criterion measures based on offl- cially recorded arrests, and this increased error in the dependent variable would reduce the accuracy of predictions. The Rand scale is also only a preliminary attempt at calibrating a classification scale: simple bivariate relationships are used to identify potential predictor vari- ables, and Burgess weights (scored either O or 1) are assigned to the selected vari- ables. This approach contrasts with the extensive multivariate analysis, which in- volves more flexible characterization of the contributions by individual predictor variables. These analyses are reflected in the more complex weighting schemes found in other scales. The recent classification scales are also noteworthy because when independent validation samples representing similar populations have been used, as with the federal parole system's Salient Factor Score and the 1984 Iowa risk assessment scale, there is little evidence of substan- tial statistical shrinkage in their accuracy. This result is due in part to the use of reasonably large samples in scale devel- opment more than 800 individuals- which reduces the impact of statistical shrinkage due to sampling variation. Also, validation studies indicate that offender populations appear to be reasonably sta- ble over time: there was no detectable reduction in accuracy between applica- tions of the Salient Factor Score to a sample of federal prisoners released dur- ing 1970-1972 and another sample re- leased in 1978. The various classification scales also show no evidence of important reduc- tions in scale accuracy when various con- troversial variables like employment sta- tus are removed from them. It thus appears that accommodating just-deserts concerns by avoiding ethically objection- able classification variables will not seri- ously impair classification accuracy. CRIMINAL CAREERS AND CAREER CRIMINALS ADULT, JWENILE, AND NON-JUSTICE SYSTEM RECORDS AND THEIR INTEGRATION Attention to certain offender character- istics whether achieved through formal rules or infollllal practice-can, to some extent, improve the accuracy of offender classification in terms of criminal career dimensions. Incorporating these cIassifi- cations into decisions requires that deci- sion makers receive timely and accurate information about predictor variables, and doing so will require improvements in criminal justice and other record- keeping systems. We focus here on adult criminal histories, the record of prior adult arrests and dispositions; juvenile records, the records of police contacts and juvenile court adjudications; and other records maintained outside the justice system on such matters as drug use, employment history, school perform- ance, and social history. These record categories differ in terms of how accessi- ble they are to criminal justice decision makers. Adult Records In most jurisdictions, the arrest and fingerprinting of an individual normally initiates both an update of the local arrest record and retrieval of the record for use by the prosecutor at screening and for use by the judge at the initial court appear- ance shortly after arrest, when charges are filed and pretrial release conditions are set. In some jurisdictions, local authori- ties do not receive the entire history of arrests in other jurisdictions for several weeks, when arrest records are received from repositories in state identification bureaus and the FBI. These delays can lead to the use of incomplete prior record information at the important stages of ini- tial screening by the prosecutor, charg- ing, and pretrial release decisions. How

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USE OF CRIMINAL CAREER INFORMATION IN DECISION MAKING ever, many states have established statewide computerized criminal history files, and many metropolitan areas have established regional systems combining arrest histories from participating juris- clictions. From these networks, records of prior arrests by participating jurisdictions can be retrieved quickly ant! linked to the proper individual using demographic identifiers and fingerprint classification. An arrest is the result of a law enforce- ment action based on the evidentiary standard of"probable cause"; it is not "guilt beyond a reasonable doubt." Therefore, it is argued that, under the latter standard, only prior convictions should be used as an indicator of previous criminal activity and that records of ar- rests not followed by a record of a convic- tion should not be used. Advocates of this position point to potential biases in deci- sions to make and record arrests and to the possibility that use of arrest records in decision making may encourage more fi~- ing of charges or filing on multiple counts on the basis of weaker evidence, at least for offenders who are considered espe- cially persistent. Furthermore, advocates of the position argue that police arrest records receive no independent scrutiny and are therefore more likely to contain undetected inaccuracies than are court conviction records, which are open to the public. In contrast, advocates of current prac- tice argue that exclusion of arrest data until disposition data become routinely available would, in some jurisdictions, preclude access to useful information for years. Moreover, some advocates con- sider an arrest record to be a more sensi- tive and vaTic! measure of a criminal ca- reer than a conviction record because the former more fully reflects variations in the rate of activity, because a failure to convict is not necessarily indicative of factual innocence, and because plea bar- gaining can distort the meaning of convic 191 tion records. Conviction records are also vulnerable to distortions when their in- fluence on decisions is altered: for exam- ple, when the number of prior convic- tions became an explicit basis for sentencing under guidelines introduced in Minnesota, prosecutors seemed less willing to dismiss charges than they pre- viously had been (Minnesota Sentencing Guidelines Commission, 1984:811. It is-generally acknowledged that dis- position records are less readily available than arrest records. Those who advocate a requirement for disposition data argue that the requirement would encourage police, prosecutors, and courts to under- take the costly cooperative effort needed to improve the availability of those data. They argue that information on prior case dispositions and sentences is useful be- cause it describes an offencler's previous sanctioning experience, which permits adjustment for incarceration time in esti- mating the frequency of previous arrests while free, a measure that has been found to predict future arrest frequency (Barrett ant! Lofaso, 1985~. However, while con- viction information can always be re- trieved through a search of written court records, only in a few jurisdictions- where courts, prosecutors, and police op- erate an integrated criminal justice infor- mation system is it routinely available in time for screening, charging, and pre- trial release decisions. Data on actual time served in jail or prison following arrest or conviction are even less gener- ally available, since corrections records on individuals are linked to police and court records in only a few states. And data on dispositions other than convic- tions are not systematically recorded. Because knowledge of previous case (lispositions ant] sanctions can contribute to a current decision, court disposition and corrections data should be integrated with arrest records. Even before full inte- gration is accomplished, several steps

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192 should be taken to enhance the validity of arrest records, which would benefit both decision makers and those who study criminal careers. These steps include pro- moting standards for the completeness of arrest records; encouraging crossduris- ~ i c t i o n a ~ s t a n c ~ a r ~ i z a t i o n o f n o m e n c ~ a t u r e that describes aggravating or mitigating attributes of the alleged offense as well as its legal category; and quickly noting ar- rests that are unfounded, either by police officials or by the screening prosecutor. Regardless of the quality of arrest rec- ords, opinions will continue to differ about their appropriate use in decision making. However, decisions about their use should be influenced by attention both to the ethical issues discussed ear- lier in this chapter and to the value of arrest-history information in predicting the future course of a criminal career. Juvenile Records CRIMINAL CAREERS AND CAREER CRIMINALS these restrictions mean that the arrest histories available for formal adult pro- ceeclings usually do not include records of juvenile contacts with police and, usu- ally, court dispositions that occurred be- fore the defendant reached legal adult- hood. Police information is sometimes shared informally with prosecutors (for whom it may affect charging decisions), but in a national survey, 60 percent of responding prosecutors reporter! that po- lice records of juveniles were "rarely or never" provided at the time charges were filed (Greenwood, Petersilia, and Zim- ring, 1980~. Juvenile court records may legally be used in adult courts in most states for postadjudication decisions, such as dispo- sition and classification. In many states they may be used for predisposition deci- sions such as pretrial (retention. How- ever, the sharing of juvenile court records with adult authorities is operationally hindered by statutory prohibitions against storing juvenile court records in In considering the use of juvenile rec- ~ ~ ordsas decision adds for adult defendants, the same repositories as adult records. it is useful to distinguish between police Such records are routinely retrieved dur records of contacts with juveniles and ingpresentenceinvestigations,whichoc juvenile court records of referrals and curIong after arrest. They can usually be dispositions. According to a recent report obtainers although with some difficulty, prepared for the Bureau of Justice Statis tics (SEARCH Group, Inc., 1982:29 34), police agencies have broad legal discre tion in recording contacts with juveniles. But other criminal justice agencies en counter great difficulty in obtaining this information about individuals prior to their conviction in adult court. Routine exchange is hinclered by laws restricting the fingerprinting of juveniles, a restric tion that complicates subsequent record retrieval and unambiguous matching. Generally, fingerprints of juveniles may be taken only following contact concern ing a serious offense, must be stored sep arately from adults' fingerprints, and must eventually be sealed or purged under various conditions. In most jurisdictions, by police agencies for investigative prear- rest use; but time constraints and the absence of positive fingerprint identifica- tion generally prevent access to them in time for early postarrest decisions. Under these circumstances the disposition infor- mation in juvenile court records is even less likely to be available for use shortly after an arrest than is the record of local police. The completeness of juvenile record repositories themselves is affected by the sealing and purging of the records. Many states have adopted statutes that specify conditions under which juvenile records must be seabeds (i.e., restricted from dis- closure outside the repository except pur- suant to a court order) or purged (i.e.,

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USE OF CRIMINAL CAREER INFORMATION IN DECISION MAKING destroyed). Motivated by concern over stigmatization of adults for their clelin- quent activities as juveniles, these stat- utes generally authorize record sealing within a few years after a person reaches adult age and purging several years later if the subject is not arrested as an adult and petitions the court requesting these actions (SEARCH Group, Inc., 1982:4 511. In addition to legal requirements for sealing and purging individual records, some repositories have begun more gen- eral purging as a means of reducing the cost of storing juvenile records. In combination, the prohibitions against merged juvenile and adult rec- ords, the failure to routinely include juve- nile court data in police record systems, and the sealing and purging of juvenile records create a situation in most jurisclic- tions in which criminal justice authorities frequently make their decisions with no information about police contacts with juveniles. Even when police contact in- formation is available, it is usually not accompanied by information about the disposition following the contact. These conditions, particularly the purging of ju- venile records, have also hampered the efforts of researchers to study criminal careers over the ages of transition from juvenile status to adulthood. Restrictions on the storage and dissem- ination of juvenile records resulted from the orientation of juvenile courts toward rehabilitation rather than punishment and from the belief that juveniles are less responsible than adults for acts that would be labeled criminal by the adult justice system. Some people believe that the fingerprinting of juveniles, a key to accurate identification, may create a "criminal self-image" that may weaken self-imposec! restraints against future crime. It is also argued that dissemination of records outside the juvenile court sys- tem stigmatizes a juvenile with the desig- nation "clelinquent," which may lessen |93 opportunities for legitimate employment, thereby increasing the likelihood of sub- sequent offending. The prospect of hav- ing juvenile records purged after an ar- rest-free period is advocated as an incentive for juveniles to terminate crim- inal careers before adulthood. Others have argued that the ambiguity of nota- tion that is characteristic of juvenile court records makes them very Circuit to inter- pret and summarize (e.g., Greenwood, Abrahamse, and Zimring, 19841. Finally, in pursuing their objective of rehabilita- tion, juvenile courts collect "social data" on such episodes as misconduct in school, mental health status, family his- tory, and other topics that are not only especially sensitive to an individual but may also involve other parties whose pri- vacy would be compromised by dissemi- nation. It is argued that routine sharing of these records could disrupt continued co- operation by the agencies that now pro- vide such background information to the juvenile court. For those who advocate the use of ju- venile records, the challenge is to re- spond to these concerns by designing systems and procedures that inform adult justice system decision makers more fully about juvenile delinquent careers with- out undermining the rehabilitative goal of juvenile courts. Maintaining accessible fingerprint records of juveniles arrested for serious crimes-crimes that would be felonies if committed by an adult may be warranted as a means of eliminating cases of mistaken identity. Using finger- prints to identify persons uniquely, sys- tems could! be developed for the routine transfer of juvenile disposition data to police recorcls. Augmenting police rec- orcis wig data on juvenile dispositions could both improve the fairness with which those records are subsequently used and eliminate the need for access to the juvenile court files with their sensi- tive social data. Juvenile arrest and dispo

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194 sition histories could be maintained in a separate repository, with no clisclosure permitted for uses outside the criminal justice system. Adult justice system agen- cies would gain access to the juvenfle record] at the time of a person's first seri- ous criminal involvement as an adult. In defining criteria for access, different juris- dictions might choose different thresh- olds of crime seriousness and different stages of criminal justice processing (e.g., arrest, indictment, or conviction). Requir- ing a high level of seriousness would reflect a desire to avoid opening a juve- nile record in connection with only a minor offense. Precluding access until after conviction would reflect a belief in the principle that a juvenfle record should not influence decisions in the adult system that are made before guilt is established with legal certainty. Alterna- tively, permitting prosecutors and judges to see a juvenile record when making charging, pretrial release, and plea bar- gaining decisions would allow them to become more fully informed of the public safety risks associated with their deci- sions. Different jurisdictions will weigh these concerns differently and so may choose different thresholds and stages. One choice that seems reasonable would be the first adult arrest for a felony. A juvenile record would be appended to an adult record only if the adult arrest leads to a conviction. The juvenile record, with appropriate safeguards against dissemina- tion, would be retained in the juvenfle repository at least as Tong as it retains value for decision making in the aclult criminal justice system. When juvenfle records are no longer operationally useful, they should be pre- served in an otherwise inaccessible way for research purposes. Research on a number of important questions has been hindered by the bifurcation of juvenfle and adult record systems. As highlighted in Chapter 3, particular problems have CRIMINAL CAREERS AND CAREER CRIMINALS been the misleading conclusion of clesis- tance-"false Resistance" from offend- ing that is implied by the truncation of juvenfle court records when indivicluals "graduate" to a(lult jurisdiction ant! the inability to inclucle the record before age 18 in career-length estimates for adult samples. The bifurcation has hampered research on such key questions as the effect of juvenfle justice interventions on adult criminal careers and the influence of information about juvenfle careers on the processing of cases involving young adults. There would be considerable re- search value in linked records of juvenile and adult arrests and dispositions. Record purging preclucles such research. There- fore, while access to juvenile records should be carefully controlled to protect in(livid~uals' identities, those records should be stored as a basis for research. Other Records Some information that is useful in pre- dicting the course of criminal careers is not available in either the adult or juve- nile justice system records. For example, Chaiken and Chaiken (1984:211) found that official-record information was not sufficient to distinguish the offenders they designated as "violent predators" from other offenders. Despite violent predators' self-reports of frequent, violent delinquency as juveniles, their juvenile records either did not exist or were found to be indistinguishable from those of other offenders. Greenwood (1982) pointed to two specific characteristics that distinguish high-rate offenders a history of drug use and significant periods of unemployment. Data on these character- istics are not routinely inclu(led in arrest histories or court disposition files, al- though they sometimes appear with other social data in juvenile court records or adult presentence investigation. Presentence investigations will un

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USE OF CRIMINAL CAREER INFORMATION IN DECISION MAEUNG doubtedly continue to be the primary vehicle for the collection of information on drug use, employment status, and fam- iTy and social history. Although maintain- ing such data in permanent criminal jus- tice records might improve the quality of preconviction decisions, that benefit might be at least partly offset by other consequences. For example, routine dis- closure of drug treatment agency records to justice agencies for predictive use might discourage users from seeking treatment or disrupt the therapeutic rela- tionship between users and counselors. Urinalysis at the time of arrest is an alter- native means of determining drug use, and test results could be appended to the arrest record for use following subse quent arrests. This procedure would as- ~~ sist efforts to provide police and prosecu tors with information about an arrestee's history of drug use and would avoid prob lems associated with inflation sharing between treatment agencies and justice agencies. In addition to data on employment his- tory, substance abuse, and other social history, presentence reports in most juris- dictions also include the investigators' sentencing recommendation. To the ex- tent that these recommendations have in- fluence, it is important that their underly- ing predictive assumptions be based on facts. Presentence investigators should tee informed of base rates of characteristics (such as substance abuse or truancy that 195 cies for those decisions. They do so more often on the basis oftheir own knowledge and experience than on the basis of statis tical analysis of information about repre sentative offenders. Because of the grow ing body of data and research on offenders, there are considerable oppor tunities for expanding ant! improving the bases for decision making in terms of predictors of specific offenders' careers. Exploiting such opportunities does not preclude the pursuit of other criminal justice objectives, such as assuring ap pearance at trial or imposing deserved punishment. Decision makers can com bine prediction-based classifications with aclditional information- ties to the com munity, victims' preferences, seriousness ot tne crime, or amenability to various forms of correctional treatment- that is pertinent to those other objectives. In concert with these other objectives, at tempts to reduce crime through incapac itation of offenders could be improved by familiarity with the accumulating knowI edge about offenders' criminal careers. That knowledge would inform decision makers of typical criminal careers and of the indicators of high- and low-risk of fenders. It is likely that the research knowleclge will confirm some of their current beliefs and practices. But it is also likely that some factors they believe to be important as predictors of offending will be found not to be so, while other factors they may not view as salient will be are often used to distinguish among of- shown to be important. fenders. They should also be in foe of Because decision makers' predictions correlations between those characteris- about offenders' criminal careers are not tics and the frequency of serious offend ~ng. CONCLUSIONS Criminal justice decision makers use knowledge about criminal careers both in making specific decisions affecting indi vidual offenders and in establishing poli _ routinely recorded, it is impossible to measure directly the improvement that could be achieved by giving decision makers statistical predictions about the offenders who come before them. Indi- rect evidence suggests that with available statistical scales, gains in crime control efficiency through selective incapacita- tion would be modest at best a ~10

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196 percent reduction in robberies by adults, for example, with an increase of 1(~20 percent in the number of convicted rob- bers who are incarcerated. Similar crime control through general increases in in- carceration would require substantially higher increases in prison populations. The gains from selective incapacitation are limited in part because decision mak- ers already invoke many of the offender characteristics that figure prominently in the scales. As criminal career research progresses and the quality of available data improves, the crime-control effi- ciency of selective incapacitation can be expected to improve somewhat. As progress continues and new predic- tion scales emerge, there will be a ten- dency to take scales developed in one jurisdiction and use them in another. to use scales developed for one stage of the criminal justice process at another stage, and to take scales developed at one time and use them at a later time. It is impor- tant to recognize that such transfer must be done with great caution and with val- idation and recalibration in each new set- ting. The characteristics of convicted of- fenders at the sentencing stage in one state may be considerably different from those in another state. Hence, the factors that distinguish high-risk offenders in one state may well be different from those in the other state. Similarly, the factors that distinguish high-risk prisoners who have already been filtered through multiple stages of the criminal justice system (probably through several occurrences of recidivism) are likely to be different from those that distinguish high-risk arrestees being considered for pretrial release. Fur- thermore, since there may be changes over time in both the environment asso- ciated with offending and the selection processes within the criminal justice sys- tem, predictors even within a particular jurisdiction must be periodically recali- brated. CRIMINAL CAREERS AND CAREER CRIMINALS Since prediction scales are potentially vulnerable to variation by jurisdiction, by stage of the criminal justice system, and over time, successful validation in several jurisdictions can increase confidence in scale transferability by identifying key variables that seem to have consistently high predictive value, by helping to re- fine data collection forms and variable definitions, and by developing initial can- didate scales that can be adapted in any new setting. It is crucial, however, that every scale be tested, validated, and recalibrated at each decision stage and jurisdiction in which it is to be used. In choosing offender characteristics to be incorporated in prediction scales, it is important to consider the ethical appro- priateness of any candidate variable. In general, the seriousness of the instant offense is the most acceptable predictor, followed closely by a record of prior con- victions. Any other characteristics that are considered for use should have theoreti- cal import and validity, reflect blamewor- thiness, bear a strong predictive relation- ship to a criminal career, and should take account of other social concerns such as equal protection. Other ethical issues in- volve concern about errors, especially when prediction is used to increase indi- vidual punishment, but also when it is used to decrease some individuals' pun- ishment. In all such prediction, ethical questions must be addressed carefully and must be resolved locally. In the use of prediction scales, the validity of data on the predictor variables is a crucial concern. Records available to the criminal justice system raise many questions involving the use of such data. First, some variables used as predictors- such as drug use or juvenile convic- tions may be poorly or ambiguously re- corded in the information sources avail- able. If such data are to be used, information systems will have to improve the accuracy of their records, avoiding

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USE OF CRIMINAL CAREER INFORMATION IN DECISION MAKING errors both of omission ant! of commis- sion. In considering the variables and records to be used as predictors, it is also important to anticipate reactions as a con- sequence of such uses. If information about drug involvement is used as a pre- dictor of offending-as current informa- tion suggests it should-one must con- sider whether such use would inhibit individuals from participating in drug treatment programs. Addressing these concerns may require continuing to re- strict the source of information about cer- tain variables: for example, to obtain cer- tain information only from criminal justice sources rather than from therapeu- tic agencies. Juvenile records are of particular con- cern because of the bifurcation between the adult and the juvenile criminal justice systems. Records of juvenile adjudica- tions are typically unavailable to the adult criminal justice system, presumably to avoid lifetime stigmatization as a result of some minor juvenile escapades. While that principle is certainly reasonable for individuals whose juvenile involvement 197 is indeed minor and especially for those who do not persist into an adult criminal career, the bifurcation floes not seem rea- sonable for juveniles whose delinquency careers are serious and who persist into serious adult offending. Thus, while juve- nile records should continue to be pro- tected from general public access, the adult criminal justice system should have access to juvenile records of at least those offenders arrested as adults on a felony charge. There is a clear capability in the cur- rent state of the art to develop predictors that are better than chance, but it is still unclear how much better than current practice statistically assisted prediction can be. One can expect currently avail- able scales to produce only limited im- provements to existing decision practices in terms of crime control. It is reasonable to expect, however, that future research will improve criminal justice decisions, at a minimum by highlighting additional salient predictor variables and by point- ing to variables that are often used but are incleed weak.