Journal of Criminal Psychology

ISSN: 2009-3829

Article publication date: 1 August 2016



Dhingra, K. (2016), "Editorial", Journal of Criminal Psychology, Vol. 6 No. 3, pp. 101-101. https://doi.org/10.1108/JCP-08-2016-0021



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2016, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Welcome to issue 6.3 of the journal. As always, we are pleased to present papers that address a broad range of issues, and use samples drawn from various countries around the world.

The first paper, by Gavel and Mandracchia, examines the effects of ego identity development processes and criminal associations on thinking patterns associated with criminal behaviour (i.e. criminogenic thinking) in a sample of 104 male prisoners. As predicted, each of the four ego identity statuses (i.e. identity achievement, foreclosure, moratorium, identity diffusion) were present in their sample of prisoners, suggesting that incarcerated offenders engage in similar identity development processes as non-prisoners. Also, as predicted, criminal associations were found to positively predict overall criminogenic thinking as well as the cognitive immaturity subtype of criminogenic thinking. Finally, individuals categorised as either identity achievement or moratorium were found to engage in significantly lower levels of criminogenic thinking, a finding counter to predictions. The authors conclude that there is a need for further research to understand the ability of identity exploration to protect against, or even negate, the influences of criminal associates.

It is widely acknowledged that lineup construction is an important factor in explaining identification performance. Despite this, the merits of different approaches have not been thoroughly investigated. Responding to this gap in the literature, Levi reviews the empirical support for the match-to-description vs the similarity-to-suspect methods of choosing lineup members. He finds that whilst the match-to-description approach might be the generally accepted one, only very rarely does this strategy prove superior in correctly identifying culprits. However, given that the rate of false identifications is greater when the similarity-to-suspect method is used, Levi concludes that the American Psychological Association’s White Paper recommendation (Wells et al., 1998) to use the match-to-description should remain in place.

The third paper (Greer) considers whether sex traffickers should be subject to sexually violent predator (SVP) laws in order to protect victims and hold traffickers fully accountable for their crimes. Greer notes the similarities between human sex traffickers and sexually violent offenders in terms of predatory behaviours, victimisation tactics, and personality traits, before drawing on case studies to build an argument for applying SVP civil commitment statutes to particularly heinous sex trafficking cases. He contends that the implementation of SVP laws (modified if needed), when appropriate (e.g. when individuals are a present and on-going danger to society), would protect society from the predators they were designed to restrain.

The final paper in this issue (Sherretts and Willmott) examines the psychometric properties of the Measure of Criminal Social Identity (MCSI) in samples of prisoners drawn from the USA (n=501), Pakistan (n=319), and Poland (n=351). Four alternative factor models, with uncorrelated measurement error terms, are specified and tested using confirmatory factor analysis and bifactor modelling techniques. The authors find that the MCSI is best conceptualised as measuring three distinct dimensions (cognitive centrality, in-group affect, and in-group ties) in each of the samples tested. Although substantial support for the measure’s reliability and utility across diverse offender samples is found, the need for further scale development (item rewording and the addition of items), in order to enhance our understanding of the processes that underlie criminal thinking and pathways to offending behaviour, is noted.

As ever, we hope you find the papers in this issue interesting. We would encourage you to recommend the journal to colleagues and give thought to submitting papers for consideration. Author guidance can be found at: http://emeraldgrouppublishing.com/products/journals/author_guidelines.htm?id=jcp

Our final issue of the year, “Self-harm and suicidal behaviour in forensic settings”, will be brought to you by Dr Karen Slade. As such, I would like to take this opportunity to thank our contributors, reviewers, and readers for their support in 2016 and to wish you all the very best for 2017.

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