Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences

Research Profile: Alana Cook, Psychology

October 19, 2011

SFU's graduate students are involved in a wide range of research into how the world works, not how we think it works — and sometimes, the two are incongruent.

Alana Cook, a clinical-forensic PhD student in SFU's Department of Psychology, has just published a paper in Canadian Psychology with Ron Roesch, professor of psychology and Director of the Mental Health, Law, & Policy Institute, on “tough on crime” bills.

In their paper, “Tough on Crime” Reforms: What Psychology Has to Say About the Recent and Proposed Justice Policy in Canada," Cook and Roesch argue that from a psychological perspective “tough on crime” policies are not supported by scientific literature and come at a large financial and human cost.

It's a timely paper: Tough on crime legislation is currently under legislation in Ottawa, and the co-authors are arguing that the federal government’s reactive strategy to get tougher on crime should be replaced by one that targets preventive crime measures — an evidenced-based crime policy approach.

It's been a banner year for Alana. In the last few months, she has presented an invited keynote paper to the Canadian Association of Threat Assessment Professionals in Banff, AB, and has presented several first author papers and posters at international professional meetings, including meetings of the International Association of Forensic Mental Health Services and the American Psychology-Law Society (Div. 41 of APA).

Alana's supervisor is Dr. Stephen D. Hart. Her research is on psychology and law, with a focus on violence risk assessment and psychopathic personality disorder. Her current research focuses on group-based violence risk assessment and management, validation and translation of the Comprehensive Assessment of Psychopathic Personality Disorder (CAPP), and the creation of a new conceptual model of Borderline Personality Disorder: the Comprehensive Assessment of Borderline Personality (CABP).

Alana is currently serving as the Chair-Elect of the Student Section of the American Psychology-Law Society (Div. 41 of APA) and as a student editor for the International Journal of Forensic Mental Health.

She's received several awards, distinctions and a graduate fellowship for her research and leadership work.

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