Please join us for our sixth installment of the 2014-2015 Brown Bag Speaker Series, featuring a presentation by Dr. Clifford Kusaj and Dr. Jasmine Tehrani, titled “Assessing Violence Risk Among Offenders and Life-Term Prisoners.”
Tuesday, April 14th, 2015
12-:00 – 1:00pm
University of California, Irvine campus
Social & Behavioral Sciences Gateway, room 1517
Violence risk assessments play an increasingly important role in parole decision-making. This presentation will describe the evolution of the Board of Parole Hearings’ Forensic Assessment Division and provide an overview of its approach to assessing Life-term prisoners who are eligible for parole consideration. Presenters will address the following questions relevant to assessing violence risk with offenders and with life-term prisoners, in particular: What challenges are associated with determining the base rate of violence of indeterminately sentenced prisoners and is this important? What should be assessed and how should it be assessed? How should risk be communicated to laypersons? How does risk communication impact parole decision making? What is the value of risk assessment?
Dr. Cliff Kusaj is the Chief Psychologist of the Board of Parole Hearings’ Forensic Assessment Division and he recently coauthored in Law and Human Behavior the first study to examine the influence of violence risk assessment of Life-term prisoners on parole decision making. Before joining the Board in 2008, Dr. Kusaj was a Senior Psychologist at San Quentin State Prison. His clinical background includes pre-doctoral internship and postdoctoral fellowship in forensic assessment at the Federal Correctional Complex in Butner, NC and at Patton State Hospital in San Bernardino, CA, respectively. Dr. Kusaj earned his doctorate in Clinical Psychology from Baylor University in 2002.
Dr. Jasmine A. Tehrani is a Senior Psychologist with the Board of Parole Hearings’ Forensic Assessment Division. She earned her Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology from the University of Southern California (USC) and completed a two-year post-doctoral fellowship in Forensic Psychology at the USC Institute of Psychiatry and Law. She is currently a Clinical Assistant Professor of Psychiatry at the USC Keck School of Medicine/ USC Institute of Psychiatry and Law and an Adjunct Assistant Professor of Psychology in the USC Department of Psychology. Dr. Tehrani has published book chapters and journal articles in the field of violence and criminal behavior, particularly the genetic and biological bases of violence and criminal behavior. Dr. Tehrani has served as an expert witness and testified in both state and federal court, evaluating criminal defendants on various psychological legal issues, including competency to stand trial, dangerousness and insanity. Prior to joining the Board in 2006, she worked for the Federal Bureau of Prisons and Twin Towers Correctional Facility, evaluating and treating severely mentally ill inmates.