In This Issue

NACCJCP & psychological services

The conference presented the latest in correctional psychology, offered continuing education credits relevant to the field and contributed to the knowledge base

By Nicole R. Gross and Ashley B. Batastini

The 2nd North American Correctional and Criminal Justice Psychology Conference (NACCJCP 2) took place June 2-4, 2011, in Toronto, Ontario. The conference was co-sponsored by the Criminal Justice Section of the Canadian Psychological Association (CPA) and the Criminal Justice Section of Division 18 of the American Psychological Association (APA). NACCJCP 2 aimed to provide students and professionals with the opportunity to attend programs presenting the latest research in correctional psychology, network with individuals who share mutual clinical and research interests, earn continuing education credits relevant to the field and contribute to the growing knowledge-base that is unique to this specialty area. Keynote addresses were given by internationally known experts including Joel A. Dvoskin, PhD, ABPP, R. Karl Hanson, PhD, Sheilagh Hodgins, PhD, Jennifer L. Skeem, PhD, and Paula Smith, PhD. Four manuscripts from data presented at NACCJCP 2 are briefly outlined below as a sample of the interesting and impactful research that contributed to the conference's success. You can find these peer-reviewed works in an upcoming edition of Psychological Services.

We anticipate that the NACCJCP conference will continue to grow in the coming years, and continue to provide psychologists and students with a fun and rich professional experience. We hope that you will all consider joining us for the 3rd North American Correctional and Criminal Justice Psychology Conference to be held June 4-6, 2015 in Ottawa, Ontario.

Connors, A. D., Mills, J. F., & Gray, A. L.  Intimate Partner Violence Intervention for High-Risk Offenders.

The authors evaluated 159 male inmates incarcerated within the Canadian federal prison system with a history of violence against a domestic partner. Eligible participants completed an intensive treatment program that combined group and individual counseling sessions targeting known risk factors for perpetuating family and spousal abuse. Using an assessment battery that included self-reported and facilitator-rated questionnaires, results revealed significant improvements in anger awareness, attitudes towards abuse, proneness to jealousy in relationships and application of program knowledge from pre- to post-intervention. Furthermore, program participants who were more motivated to change their behaviors experienced the greatest treatment gains.

Derkzen, D., Booth, L., Taylor, K., & McConnell, A.  Mental Health Needs of Female Offenders.

With the growing number of females entering the criminal justice system, these authors aimed to identify the mental health needs of this population. A total of 88 female inmates detained in federal custody throughout Canada were surveyed using the Computerized Diagnostic Interview Schedule (C-DIS-IV). Secondary data was also collected on relevant background information from the Offender Management System (OMS). Among those females with reported mental health concerns, a majority showed evidence of lifetime psychiatric problems. Common diagnoses included Posttraumatic Stress Disorder, Major Depressive Disorder, Antisocial Personality Disorder, and Substance Abuse/Dependence Disorders.

Gould, D. D., Watson, S. L., Price, S. R., & Valliant, P. M.  The Relationship between Burnout and Coping in Adult and Young Offender Centre Correctional Officers: An Exploratory Investigation.

The authors examined the effects of work-related burnout and common coping strategies among correctional officers in adult and youth detention centers. A sample of 208 officers completed an online survey designed to measure psychological dimensions of burnout (e.g., emotional exhaustion) and specific methods used to deal with stress (i.e., problem-focused, emotion-focused and dysfunctional). In general, results suggested that correctional officers tend to employ adaptive coping strategies in response to stress. Despite this finding, however, officers continue to experience high levels of emotional burnout as a result of their work environment. Additionally, variables such as gender and length of experience were related to levels of burnout observed in correctional officers.

Day, D. M., Hart, T. A., Wanklyn, S. G., McCay, E., Macpherson, A., & Burnier, N.  Potential Mediators between Child Abuse and Both Violence and Victimization in Juvenile Offenders.

This study aimed to understand the causal mechanisms underlying violent perpetration and peer victimization in juvenile offenders. Several mediator models were used to examine the relationships between these outcomes and childhood physical and emotional abuse — known predictors of violence and victimization for this population — among a sample of 112 incarcerated youth. Mediators of interest included (1) impulsiveness, (2) depression and (3) drug use. Results showed that abuse experienced in childhood was associated with greater levels of depression, and that these youth were, in turn, more likely to be victimized by their peers. Additionally, the relationship between fighting behavior and emotional abuse was mediated by drug use. Impulsiveness, while related to both types of abuse, was not associated with violent perpetration or victimization.