Academic Publications

Gender, Race/Ethnicity, and Prediction: Risk in Behavioral Assessment

Whitney Threadcraft-Walker | Melody Mitchell Threadcraft | Howard Henderson | David Rembert


This study examined probation outcomes for female minority offenders using the Wisconsin Risk Needs Assessment Instrument (WRNAI) to see if race, location, offense severity, and risk scores predicted outcomes. It found location and minority status mattered more than risk scores at the individual level, while minority status remained an issue on the interactional level.

Key Takeaways

  • Location and being Black were the strongest individual-level predictors of probation failure, more so than offense severity or risk scores.
  • Hispanic women were more likely to fail probation in one county compared to Black and White women.
  • The WRNAI had lower predictive accuracy for Black female probationers compared to White and Hispanic probationers.
  • Findings indicate the importance of examining the intricacies of minority female offenders in assessing risk tools.
  • Intersectional approaches accounting for the additive effects of race and gender may improve prediction.