Capital offenders in Texas prisons: rates, correlates, and an actuarial analysis of violent misconduct

Law Hum Behav. 2007 Dec;31(6):553-71. doi: 10.1007/s10979-006-9079-z. Epub 2007 Mar 23.


This study analyzed the records of 136 recently incarcerated capital murder offenders in the initial phase (M = 2.37 years, range = 6-40 months) of their life sentences in the Texas Department of Criminal Justice. Prevalence rates of institutional violence were inversely related to severity: potentially violent misconduct (36.8%), assaultive violations (14%), serious assaults (5.1%), and homicides (0%). Consistent with prior studies, factors correlated with assaultive misconduct included age (inversely), prior prison confinement, and concurrent robbery or burglary in the capital offense. A simplified Burgess scale entitled the Risk Assessment Scale for Prison-Capital (RASP-Cap) was moderately successful in identifying varying levels of improbability of committing violence-related misconduct however defined (AUC = .715-.766).

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Capital Punishment*
  • Crime / statistics & numerical data*
  • Humans
  • Prisons / statistics & numerical data*
  • Risk Assessment
  • Texas / epidemiology
  • Violence / statistics & numerical data*