Date of Award

Spring 3-2-2022

Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)



Committee Chair

Eric R. Dahlen

Committee Chair School


Committee Member 2

Ashley B. Batastini

Committee Member 3

Donald Sacco

Committee Member 3 School


Committee Member 4

Craig Warlick

Committee Member 4 School



This study aimed to better understand the circumstances in which the racial identity of a justice impacted person can extraneously influence post-conviction placement decisions based on specialized re-offense prediction tools, specifically decisions at the crux of community supervision and jail time. Participants (N = 448) were exposed to one of nine conditions (3 descriptors of racial identities 3 levels of risk information) in which they were asked to rate their agreement with risk findings, rank the categorical risk of a hypothetical justice-involved person, and make management decisions (i.e., incarceration or community supervision; mandated treatment). It was hypothesized that participants exposed to an examinee of color and who were not provided any information about that person’s level of risk would rank the examinee as the highest risk, more often choose incarceration over community supervision, and mandate treatment more than other participants. A main effect of race/ethnicity was also expected. For those who received risk information, it was predicted that participants would show more agreement with the risk findings if they were told the assessment was completed by a forensic examiner. Further, when controlling for explicit racial bias, it was hypothesized that the presentation of risk data and whether or not it was proffered by a trained examiner would differentially impact participants’ legal decisions. Results of 3 3 analysis of covariance and binomial logistic regressions showed no effect of risk information or racial identity on risk agreement ratings or placement decisions. The racial/ethnic identity of the examinee predicted treatment decisions, such that participants more often chose mandated treatment for the Black examinee than the White or Latino examinee. Finally, results of a multinomial logistic regression showed that participants exposed to risk information were more likely to rate the examinee, regardless of race/ethnicity, as lower risk than those not given risk information. However, participants who reported more racial bias rated the examinee as more at-risk and were more likely to suggest the individual be incarcerated. This study has implications for practice and policy. Limitations and directions for future research are discussed.