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Probation Officers’ judgements: A study using Personal Construct Theory

Mullineux, Judith, Taylor, Brian and Giles, Melanie (2018) Probation Officers’ judgements: A study using Personal Construct Theory. Journal of Social Work, N/A . pp. 1-19. [Journal article]

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DOI: 10.1177/1468017318757384


Summary: Social workers and probation officers are frequently called upon to make judgements about the likelihood of re-offending. However, whilst the use of risk assessment instruments is now commonplace, the cognitive processes through which these judgements are made are rarely explicit. Findings: This study used the repertory grid method to elicit the constructs of judgements about re-offending of 15 experienced probation officers. Primary factors in their judgements were related to: (1) responsibility and risk taking behaviour; (2) criminal history; (3) self-awareness; and (4) stability. Personality characteristics, substance misuse and family dysfunction were also important. The findings are discussed in relation to two theoretical frameworks for understanding decision making: heuristics and biases and image theory, which focuses on values. Application: It is suggested that the design and implementation of assessment tools should be undertaken in the light of the constructs used in making professional judgements which inform the relevant decision making.

Item Type:Journal article
Keywords:Assessment, decision making, criminal justice, probation, professional judgement, re-offending, repertory grid, risk, social work.
Faculties and Schools:Faculty of Social Sciences > School of Sociology and Applied Social Studies
Faculty of Life and Health Sciences
Faculty of Life and Health Sciences > School of Psychology
Faculty of Social Sciences
Research Institutes and Groups:Institute for Research in Social Sciences > Social Work & Social Policy
Psychology Research Institute > Health, Education and Well-being
Psychology Research Institute
Institute for Research in Social Sciences
ID Code:39705
Deposited By: Dr Judith Mullineux
Deposited On:13 Apr 2018 14:06
Last Modified:13 Apr 2018 14:06

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