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The Creation and Validation of an Actuarial Lebanese Risk Assessment Tool


Project Description

The aim of this project is to develop and validate an actuarial risk and needs assessment (RNA) tool in the Arabic language for use with convicted offenders with a particular focus on psychopathy. Practitioners in Western countries use RNA instruments routinely in prisons to gather data on offenders’ personalities, attitudes and behaviours related to recidivism (Miller & Maloney, 2013). However no such tools are currently used in Lebanon, nor are known to have been designed for an Arabic speaking population to take into account their bespoke needs (the Risk-Need-Responsivity principle; Bonta & Andrews, 2007). Such actuarial-based instruments are used to classify offenders in order to treat, rehabilitate and reduce recidivism (e.g. Fass, Heilbrun, DeMatteo & Fretz, 2008; Andrews & Dowden, 2006), yet according to the Head of Prison Directorate (Lebanese Ministry of Justice), there are currently no tools to assess risk and needs in Lebanese prisons. Consequently, this has been emphasized as an urgent need.

How to apply:

Applications are made via our website using the Apply Online button below. If you have an enquiry about this project please contact us via the Email NOW button below, however your application will only be processed once you have submitted an application form as opposed to emailing your CV to us.

Candidates for funded PhD studentship must demonstrate outstanding qualities and be motivated to complete a PhD in 3 years.

The PhD Studentships are open to UK, EU and international students. Candidates for a PhD Studentship should demonstrate outstanding qualities and be motivated to complete a PhD in 4 years and must demonstrate:

outstanding academic potential as measured by either a 1st class honours degree or a Master’s degree with distinction or equivalent Grade Point Average (GPA)
an IELTS (Academic) score of 6.5 minimum (with a minimum 6.0 in each component) for candidates for whom English is not their first language which must be evidence at application
In addition to satisfying minimum entry criteria, BU will look closely at the qualities, skills and background of each candidate and what they can bring to their chosen research project in order to ensure successful completion.

Applicants will be asked to submit an online application form and a proposal (approximately 1500 words) outlining their understanding of the project for which they are applying, the approach they would envisage taking and what qualities they will bring to the research community.

Please note:

current BU Doctoral students are not eligible to apply for a Studentship
current MRes/MPhil students can apply, subject to satisfactory completion of their Research Degree prior to being able to take up the award
PhD Studentships cannot be used to support BU staff to complete doctoral programmes.
Additional Eligibility

Fluent in both written and spoken Arabic. The tool will be written in Arabic and candidate will have to be able to communicate with the guards, prisoners, and other relevant personnel.
Familiarisation with the Lebanese culture to ensure cultural sensitivity.
Strong advanced research method and statistical skills for actuarial design and testing (e.g. with psychometrics).
Ideally, the candidate will have:

Prior experience working in prisons and/or with offenders, ideally in Lebanon.
Studied and/or worked in the area of Forensic Psychology.
An understanding of psychopathy and risk assessment.
Skills in administering and interpreting standardized personality tests.

Funding Notes

A fully-funded Studentship includes a maintenance grant of £15,000 per year to contribute towards living expenses during the course of your research, as well as a fee waiver for 36 months.

Associated costs, such as for fieldwork and conference attendance, will also be met under the Studentship.

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