The relationship between the urica and correctional treatment in a sample of violent male offenders
The usefulness of the University of Rhode Island Change Assessment scale (URICA) in identifying treatment progress in violent adult offenders was evaluated in this archival study. The 198 men in the study participated in a 21-week treatment program at a Canadian federal institution. On average, individuals were 31 years old with four prior violent convictions. Most offenders were Aboriginal (53%). Study variables included self-report questionnaires (e.g., URICA, Criminal Sentiments Scale-Modified, State-Trait Anger Expression Inventory), staff ratings of treatment participation (Group Behaviour Checklist [GBC]), and risk measures (Security Reclassification Scale, Violence Risk Scale [VRS], Psychopathy Checklist-Revised). Post-treatment institutional misconduct information was available for 193 individuals and recidivism data was collected for the 50 individuals who were released to the community. The psychometric properties of the URICA for this sample were similar to those found in past research. Cluster analyses of pre- and post-treatment URICA data produced five-cluster solutions. These cluster profiles were consistent with previous research and rank-ordered to reflect increasing readiness for change. Profile rankings correlated significantly with anger problems and antisocial attitudes at pre- and post-treatment. GBC scores for individuals in less advanced profiles "peaked" at treatment week 15 and then decreased, whereas those in more advanced profiles improved throughout treatment. Differences in GBC scores between these two profile groups may have been delayed until the second half of treatment due to the increasing difficulty of treatment material. Profile rankings were not correlated with risk measures and correlated minimally with institutional misconduct/recidivism. Profile rankings correlated significantly with stage membership (from the VRS) at pre- but not post-treatment; the different time frames involved in scoring the URICA and VRS resulted in the URICA being more susceptible to fluctuations in mood or environment at post-treatment. When comparing the strength of the correlations between profile rankings and VRS stages with other variables, the VRS stages had significantly stronger correlations with risk measures. Overall, the URICA was useful in identifying treatment progress, and the URICA's strength was in identifying short-term change rather than long-term change, which was consistent with past research.