Public opinion is increasingly concerned with the release of offenders and the possibility of further acts; therefore it is important that the predictions made in individual cases are as precise as possible. Palk, Freeman and Davey (2008) stress that prediction of risk of recidivism among violent and sex crime offenders is a challenging task.
The assessment of risk focused originally on the prediction of future offences by sex offenders. This kind of prediction is not an exact science, however it has developed and refined over the last four decades. (Palk et al, 2008)
Risk assessment focused in the past on the decision whether an individual was dangerous or not. More recently the multidimensional nature of risks and risk assessment becomes increasingly evident. Being dangerous is not an inherent characteristic; one individual might pose a danger in one situation, but not in another. (Beck-Sander and Clark, 1998)
[...] Department of Justice Murrie, D. C., Boccaccini, M. T., Turner, D. B., Meeks, M., Woods, C., Tussey, C. (2009): Rater (Dis)Aggreement on Risk Assessment Measures in Sexually Violent Predator Proceedings, Psychology, Public Policy, and Law, Vol No 19-53 Palk, G., Freeman, J., Davey, J. (2008): Australian forensic psychologists' perspectives on the utility of actuarial versus clinical assessment for predicting recidivism among sex offenders. In Proceedings 18th Conference of the European Association of Psychology and Law, Maastricht, the Netherlands Philipse, M. W. [...]
[...] Critical discussion of the usefulness of static assessments to predict levels of risk in offenders In this paper I am discussing the application of static assessment methods in predicting the level of risk offenders represent in the future. The essay compares the differences between static and dynamic factors of recidivism as well as static and dynamic assessments. The importance of environmental and contextual factors is also highlighted. Research results related to the predictive value of several assessment tools are demonstrated, and so are the attempts to improve the accuracy of these methods. [...]
[...] Murrie et al (2009) argue that the strong psychometric properties of actuarial risk assessment measures are considered to increase reliability and reduce subjectivity of these methods. Research evidence suggests that the allegiance of the evaluator could influence the scores of an assessment instrument in forensic evaluation. Murrie et al recommend further research in this area. (2009) Palk et al (2008) suggest a structured professional judgment model which eliminates the limitations of both the pure actuarial approach and the clinical approach. The structured professional judgment approach incorporates empirical-based static factors connected with re-offending and relevant dynamic factors for treatment programs. [...]
[...] Palk et al (2008) highlight the importance of static factors in prediction when using an actuarial approach. Static factors do not change over time and ignore crucial dynamic factors, such as treatment effects and lack of victim availability. The formulation of treatment and prevention is difficult based solely on static factors. Van den Brink et al (2010) also emphasize the idea that the static risk factors of the client's history are important in predicting future risk and risk enhancing behaviours not only in offender population, but also in community mental healthcare. [...]
[...] Craig et al (2005) give a definitive list of static risk factors associated with offence recidivism. Static risk factors can be divided into four different broad categories. Developmental factors are juvenile sex offences, poor family background and victim sexual abuse. Sexual interest factors are male victim, paraphilias and extra-familial victims. Forensic factors are past criminal history, past sexual convictions, past violent convictions, time spent in custody, non-contact sex offences, stranger victims and multiple victims. Clinical factors consist the age of the offender, lower IQ, marital/relationship history, discontinuation in community treatment and psychopathy. [...]
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