Risk assessment is the cornerstone of effective offender management (Andrews & Bonta, 1998) and the identification of the risks posed by offenders, and factors associated with recidivism are crucial to the identification of appropriate and effective interventions designed to reduce the risk of recidivism. A further caveat when discussing the development and accuracy of risk measures is that of base rates of re-offending.
The extent to which actuarial risk measures can be applied to diverse groups or populations has also been questioned. The participants were convicted adult male offenders referred to a UK Regional [Medium] Secure Unit (RSU) for assessment between 1992 and 1995. Of the 250 adult male offenders identified for inclusion in this study, 87 were excluded due to limited personal history information where it was not possible to accurately score levels of risk using the six risk assessment measures. The SVR-20 is a clinically guided checklist designed to assess risk for sexual violence recidivism in sexual offenders. As might be expected only a small number of offenders were considered to be high or very high risk. The OI revealed that 75 (42%) of the sample of 153 offenders were reconvicted during the follow-up period. Of the 85 sexual offenders, 6 (7%), 10 (12%) and 15 (18%) were reconvicted of a sexual offense within the two, five and 10-year follow-up periods respectively (see Table 1). With the exemption of RMS, the risk assessment measures were generally better at predicting violent reconviction than sexual reconviction in the sex offender sample (Table 2). The validity estimates of the six risk assessment measures were calculated using Person correlations between risk scores and reconviction outcome (Table 3). The purpose of present study was to evaluate the accuracy of a number of sexual offender risk measures and to cross-validate the predictive accuracy of the Risk Matrix 2000 scales. The violent offenders were reconvicted at twice the rate than any other offender group for non-sexual offenses. For the most part, combining sexual and violent offender groups negatively impacted on the predictive accuracy of some risk assessment measures.
The process of including four risk items had a positive effect on Static-99, RMS and RMV in predicting sexual reconviction but a negative effect on RMV in predicting violent reconviction. The pattern of results from the RMV suggests the scale measures facets of behavior different to that of sexual offending, in terms of deviant sexual interest, but is more consistent with other aspects of sexual offending such as anti-sociality and non-sexual violence. More recently Craissati (2003) examined reconviction data on 310 sexual offenders over a four year period using actuarial measures combined with Sexual Risk Behavior (SRB) factors. Research into actuarial predictors of sex offender subgroups, extent and severity of violence combined with dynamic factors are likely to further advance our knowledge of sexual re-offending.
The field is moving toward measures of risk that incorporate both static and dynamic risk factors.
Although the desire to predict the risk of future violence posed by individuals is likely centuries old, risk assessment efforts until recently have been relatively unsuccessful in terms of their predictive accuracy.
In many respects, the effectiveness of sex offender management policies relies on the ability of criminal justice professionals to accurately differentiate sexual offenders according to their risk for recidivism (Hanson & Morton-Bourgon, 2005). While much progress has been made regarding the ability of professionals in the field to accurately estimate the likelihood of future sexual reoffense, no one is presently able to estimate either the timing or the severity of such future criminal conduct (J. Sex offender risk assessments are most often employed in applied forensic settings for purposes of decision-making (Doren, 2002).
Sex Offender Registration and Notification (SORN) proceedings, during which the results of the assessment are used to classify ("level") offenders based on their assessed risk.
Civil commitment proceedings, during which the results of the assessment are used to argue for and against indefinite confinement based on the assessed risk for sexual recidivism. Unguided (or unstructured) clinical judgment: The evaluator1 reviews case material and applies personal experience to arrive at a risk estimate, without relying on a specific list of risk factors or underlying theory to prioritize or weight any of the information used. Research-guided clinical judgment: The evaluator begins with a finite list of factors identified in the professional literature as being related to risk. Pure actuarial approach: The evaluator employs an existing instrument composed of a finite, weighted set of factors (generally static, or relatively unchanging and historical in nature) identified in the literature as being associated with risk. Adjusted actuarial approach: The evaluator begins with the administration of an existing actuarial instrument and then employs a finite list of considerations that can be used to raise or lower the assessed level of risk. Criminologist James Bonta (1996) has identified three generations of risk assessment methods: unstructured professional opinion (corresponding to Hanson's (1998) unstructured clinical judgment), actuarial methods using static predictors (corresponding to Hanson's actuarial approach), and methods that include both static and dynamic factors (referred to by Bonta as criminogenic needs). For accurate risk assessment to occur, the factors associated with the type of risk being assessed must be known. Sex offender risk assessment, while similar in many ways to the assessment of other latent constructs (psychological concepts) within psychology and mental health, differs in at least one significant aspect.
The accurate assessment of risk involves gaining an understanding of all available, relevant factors associated with the known criterion or outcome behavior.
Hanson and Morton-Bourgon (2009) concluded that empirically derived actuarial approaches were more accurate than unstructured professional judgment in assessing risk of all outcomes (sexual, violent, and any recidivism). Another set of factors often considered as potential adjustments to actuarial measures are those referred to as "criminogenic needs" (Bonta, 1996) or psychologically meaningful risk factors (Mann, Hanson, & Thornton, 2010). While it stands to reason that clinicians would want to consider dynamic factors when assessing risk, doing so via an adjustment of actuarial instruments may not be the most effective way. It is important to note that empirical research undertaken to date has yet to identify a single "best" assessment instrument. Indeed, the empirical evidence suggests that multiple dimensions or pathways underlie sexual offending, with a number of scholars describing a convergence between two of these dimensions: sexual criminality and general criminality. These two underlying dimensions of sexual offending were discussed in a recent study of the incremental validity of a number of actuarial instruments (Babchishin, Hanson, & Helmus, 2011). There are other compelling reasons to use more than one instrument during the risk assessment process, even when the instruments tap the same dimension or the same theoretical domain.
One way to mitigate the problems associated with the exclusive use of nominal categories is to also provide numerical indicators of risk, such as a recidivism rate probability, a percentile rank, or a risk ratio. Consumers of risk assessment information typically desire more than a simple nominal or numeric indicator of risk. Significant growth has occurred in recent years in both the development of sex-offender-specific risk assessment instruments and their use in the field. Significant advancements in the science and practice of sex offender risk assessment have occurred over the past two decades. One of the primary challenges for the field in the future will be to identify more comprehensively the risk factors (both static and dynamic) that are related to sexual offending. Given the lack of a single best risk assessment instrument, evaluators will continue to have to rely on their professional judgment to select and employ the best risk assessment approach for the circumstances and setting. Research on the best ways to revise assigned risk based on post-index behavior or qualities also is needed. There also is a need to devise more effective and intuitive means of communicating risk assessment findings. For assessing the likelihood of sexual recidivism, the best-supported instruments are the Static-99, Static-2002, MnSOST-R, Risk Matrix-2000 Sex, and adding the item scores from the SVR-20 (Hanson & Morton-Bourgon, 2009). 1 The terms "evaluator" and "evaluation" used throughout this chapter refer to the individual performing the risk assessment and the overall risk assessment process, respectively.
The term SARATSO refers to evidence-based, state authorized risk assessment tools used for evaluating sex offenders.
A collaborative approach to sex offender management, known as the Containment Model, is used in California.
The SARATSO Committee will do a presentation on the Containment Model for judges, or for stakeholders in the sex offender management community, on request.
A state-level committee of governmental and nongovernmental agencies to stimulate a more coordinated response, enhance safety for individuals who have experienced domestic violence or sexual violence, improve accountability of offenders, and look for broader system outcomes. There are indicators of future risk of harm as well as the italicized indicators of lethality.
Click the following for the Idaho Risk Assessment of Dangerousness and research supporting the Idaho Risk Assessment of Dangerousness.
The sexual offense reconviction rate for the sex offender group was 18% at 10 years follow-up, compared with 2% for the violent offenders. Bartosh, Garby, Lewis, and Gray (2003) investigated the predictive utility of the Static-99, RRASOR (Hanson, 1997), MnSOST-R, and the Sex Offender Risk Appraisal Guide (SORAG; Quinsey et al.
The RMS has three risk items in step one (number of previous sexual appearances, number of criminal appearances, and age), the sum of which is translated into a risk category. The RSU is a forensic psychiatric facility that holds medium risk adult psychiatric patients and mentally disordered offenders. It is designed so that the assessment of risk can change over time as more information about an offender becomes available.
The four main factors selected for use with RRASOR were those variables that accounted for unique variance: prior sexual offenses, age, victim gender and relationship to victim. Dempster (1999) examined the predictive accuracy of the SVR-20 against that of the VRAG, SORAG, RRASOR and PCL-R (Psychopathy Checklist-Revised; Hare, 1991) and found that only the RRASOR and SVR-20 were able to distinguish sexually violent from generally violent recidivists.
None of the general offenders were reconvicted of a sexual offense during the follow-up period compared with only 1(2%) of the violent offender group.
Compared with other sex offender risk assessment scales, the RMS consistently obtained the highest AUC index for predicting sexual reconviction over the follow-up period. These items were considered with the three most recent actuarial risk measures, Static-99, RMS and RMV. The results from this study support the use of some actuarial sex offender risk measures, in particular the Risk Matrix 2000 Sexual and Violent scales. In the present study, official reconviction rates were calculated using data from the Home Office Offenders Index (OI). It should be noted that these factors are not acute dynamic risk factors but rather are static risk factors that describe dynamic instability. It is not clear to what extent levels of violence were displayed during the commission of a sexual assault. These included any offense with a sexual element, the targeting of victims and any behavior associated with the index offense. A combination of risk scales or factors yet to be considered may improve predictive accuracy in distinguishing between violent and sexual assault. Sexual offenders discharged from prison in England and Wales: A 21 year reconviction study.
These measures also have the benefit of providing targets for intervention, given the changeable nature of dynamic risk factors. Notwithstanding pseudoscientific methods such as phrenology (which claimed to gauge behavior propensities based on measurements of the skull), risk assessment for many decades has primarily involved individual mental health professionals applying their accumulated experience and clinical acumen to produce a clinical judgment of the degree of risk posed by a particular individual.

In this context, risk assessment typically involves arriving at an estimate of the likelihood that an offender will recidivate (that is, revert to illegal behavior) after the individual experiences legal consequences or intervention for a prior criminal act. Indeed, estimates of risk for sex offenders are used in various community corrections, institutional corrections, and civil commitment decision-making contexts. Arguing from a policy standpoint, Tabachnick and Klein (2011) have stated that the results of actuarial risk assessments in particular should inform decision-making at all levels regarding the supervision of adult sexual offenders in order to prevent recidivism. While these factors are given priority in the risk assessment, they are combined with other factors and considerations using the clinician's judgment. The instrument is used to identify the presence or absence of each risk factor, and an estimate of risk is arrived at through a standard, prescribed means of combining the factors. By including dynamic risk factors in the assessment process, third-generation risk assessments can be used to both guide and evaluate the impact of intervention efforts. Knowledge about the risk factors associated with recidivism typically is generated through research in which the recidivism rate for offenders with a particular characteristic is compared to the recidivism rate for offenders without that characteristic, or for offenders possessing other characteristics (Hanson, 2000). The strongest predictors of sexual recidivism are factors related to sexual criminality, such as a demonstrated sexual interest in children, a history of prior sexual offenses, the age of onset of sexual offending behavior, and having committed a variety of sexual offenses.
These are dynamic (that is, changeable) risk factors that can serve as targets for intervention efforts.
With this and the limitations of using only one risk assessment instrument (particularly in especially high-stakes situations such as civil commitment evaluations) in mind, clinicians have considered the potential benefits of using more than one instrument during the assessment process (Doren, 2002; Hanson, 2009, 2011). First, classical test theory suggests that increasing the number of items in an assessment increases reliability and coverage. As part of that study, the Rapid Risk Assessment for Sex Offense Recidivism (RRASOR) instrument was found to tap sexual criminality, while the Static-99 was found to assess risk along the general criminality pathway. Currently, nominal descriptors of risk (low, moderate, and high) are used most commonly (Babchishin & Hanson, 2009). Frequently, decision-makers want the risk assessment process to provide them with information on the likelihood of recidivism, the potential consequences associated with recidivism, and what might be done to mitigate the assessed risk (Hanson, 2009). When used in tandem, nominal and numerical means of conveying risk are more accurate and informative than either one is in isolation.
Two examples would be stating that "low risk" means that the risk of sexual recidivism is similar to what would be expected from a group of non-sex offenders, and "high risk" means that an offender is more likely than not to sexually recidivate over the course of his lifetime. The advent of automated actuarial tools conceptually allows even clerical workers to compute risk scores using these instruments.
Identifying these factors and incorporating them into the risk assessment process will help clinicians and decision-makers better match risk levels to treatment and management efforts, thereby fulfilling the promise of third-generation risk assessment instruments (Bonta, 1996).
Incorporating dynamic risk factors at this point in time requires a structured approach and subsequent clinical adjustment, as there are no universally agreed-upon weights for the relevant dynamic risk factors (A. In effect, this entails identifying treatment targets and assessing the impact of treatment on risk and other factors, such as institutional misconduct or the amount of time that has elapsed without a new conviction (K. Communication of risk should be tailored to the purpose and setting of the assessment, and both qualitative descriptors and numerical estimates that consumers of risk assessment information can use to guide sex offender management decision-making should be provided. For assessing the likelihood of violent (including sexual) recidivism, the best supported instruments are the VRAG, the SORAG, the Risk Matrix-2000 Combined, the SIR, and the LSI-R and its variants (Hanson & Morton-Bourgon, 2009). State law established the SARATSO (State Authorized Risk Assessment Tool for Sex Offenders) Review Committee, to consider the selection of the risk assessment tools for California.
Communication and collaboration among the supervising officer, treatment provider, and polygraph examiner are the heart of this model, which relies on ongoing communication about risk.
Survival analyses revealed the violent offenders were reconvicted at twice the rate of any other group. 1998) in predicting sexual recidivism and found that the effectiveness of each instrument varied depending on offender type.
Indeed, in recent years the literature witnessed a surge in empirically derived risk measures, many of which have not been empirically validated.
Step two contains four aggravating factors (any conviction for sexual offense against a male, sexual offense against a stranger, non-contact sex offenses, being single or having relationships of less than two years). The RSU provided an out-patient assessment resource for local agencies such as Probation Services and the Courts from which the present sample was taken. The scale demonstrated a moderate predictive accuracy across all samples with the average correlation significantly better than the best single predictor (prior sexual offenses r = .20).
The ROC analysis is the preferred index used to evaluate the predictive accuracy of a risk assessment tool using the Area Under the Curve (AUC) (Harris, 2003).
Of the 85 convicted sexual offenders, 31 (36%) were reconvicted of any offense within 10-years, while 34 (74%) of the violent offenders were reconvicted during the same period. The overall reconviction rate for the sample of sexual offenders was lower than that of the violent offender sample. The four additional risk items had a negative effect on accuracy in the RMV in predicting violent reconviction.
This only records whether the offender was reconvicted and of what offense and does not record re-arrest data or victim characteristics.
This may go some way to explain why RMV obtained higher AUC indices for predicting sexual reconviction than did some of the other risk measures exclusively for sex offenders. Thornton and Beech (2002) examined the extent to which psychological deviance (using the Structured Risk Assessment system, Thornton, 2002; and psychometric indicators, Beech et al.
Adjusting standard assessment and treatment models to meet the needs of sex offenders in the community. Psychopathy and sexual deviance in treated rapists: association with sexual and nonsexual recidivism. Actuarial assessment of risk for criminal recidivism among sex offenders released from Swedish prisons 1993-1997.
Assessment of risk for criminal recidivism among rapists: A comparison of four different measures. Adolescent sexual offender recidivism: Success of specialized treatment and implications for risk prediction.
Andrew Kalinsky, Offender Index Coordinator of the Home Office Research Development and Statistics Directorate, for his support in gathering the reconviction data. Thus, the scientific and theoretical underpinnings of risk assessment are a critical component of the successful management of adult sexual offenders (Tabachnick & Klein, 2011). Therefore, it is critically important to establish a clear understanding of exactly what risk is being assessed and to frame expectations accordingly.
This approach is the only risk assessment method that can be scored using a computerized algorithm or by minimally trained nonclinicians. Sex offender risk assessment entails a process of estimating the likelihood of a future event based entirely on secondary, indicator variables (Hanson, 2009). For the prediction of sexual recidivism, actuarial instruments designed for assessing the risk of sexual recidivism had the greatest predictive accuracy, followed by mechanical approaches designed for assessing the risk of sexual recidivism and actuarial instruments designed for assessing the risk of general recidivism. One dynamic risk factor that has received considerable attention in this context is the offender's age at the time of assessment. For a risk factor to be considered psychologically meaningful, there must be a plausible rationale that the factor is a cause of sexual offending and there must be strong empirical evidence that the factor predicts sexual recidivism. In fact, in a study of evaluators who conduct civil commitment evaluations, Jackson and Hess (2007) reported that 79.5 percent of the evaluators use more than one actuarial instrument in their sex offender civil commitment evaluations.
Second, if there are multiple driving forces behind sexual offending behavior, and individual risk assessment instruments tap these underlying dimensions or pathways to sexual offense recidivism differentially, then the use of multiple instruments would have a distinct advantage over the use of a single instrument alone.
When using scales that assess the same domain of risk factors, averaging the scores is recommended.
While qualitative descriptions in general and these particular nominal descriptors are usually preferred over numerical formats for communicating risk, the use of qualitative labels alone has certain limitations. Interpreting numerical risk estimates properly can also be a challenge when base rates for the behavior in question are unknown or are not taken into consideration.
As noted above, there is currently no single "best" risk assessment for all offenders in all situations. Rigorous scientific research has demonstrated that respectable levels of predictive accuracy have been obtained with purely actuarial risk assessment approaches, approaches using structured professional judgment, and the mechanical combination of items from structured risk schemes.
It is nonetheless important to provide ongoing training and monitoring of evaluators to ensure that risk assessment procedures and instruments are always used appropriately and with integrity. Furnishing decision-makers with both an accurate, contextual understanding of risk, and also with recommendations for mitigating and managing risk, is likely to be most beneficial. The RRASOR, Static-99R and Static-2002R All Add Incrementally to the Prediction of Recidivism among Sex Offenders. Manual for the Sexual Violence Risk-20: Professional Guidelines for Assessing Risk of Sexual Violence.
Adjusted actuarial assessment of sex offenders: The impact of clinical overrides on predictive accuracy.
The development and initial testing of the AIM2 framework to assess risk and strengths in young people who sexually offend.
The accuracy of recidivism risk assessments for sex offenders: A meta-analysis of 118 prediction studies. Improving the predictive accuracy of Static-99 and Static-2002 with older sex offenders: Revised age weights. Long-term predictive ability of the Risk Matrix 2000: A comparison with the Static-99 and the Sex Offender Risk Appraisal Guide. Assessing risk for sexual recidivism: Some proposals on the nature of psychologically meaningful risk factors. Using SRA Need domains based on structured judgment to revise relative risk assessments based on Static-2002 and Risk Matrix 2000. Recent research (N = 9,305) underscores the importance of using age-stratified actuarial tables in sex offender risk assessments.
Research shows that the most accurate way of predicting whether a sex offender will reoffend is by utilizing a validated risk assessment instrument. The Static-99 and SORAG were both significantly predictive of sexual, violent, and any recidivism for extrafamilial child molesters, and all four tests were predictive of violent or any recidivism in this subgroup. The presence of two or four of these aggravating factors raises the risk category by one or two levels respectively. Assessment protocols and psychology assessment reports were examined using a retrospective archival research design. Stage one details static or historical risk factor while stage two relates to aggravating factors, the presence of which can increase the risk category. Of the 85 sexual offenders, 86% (n = 73) were followed up to eight-years, 49% (n = 42) to nine-years, and 4.7% (n = 4) at 10 years.

However, combining the sex and violent offender groups generally had a negative effect on predictive accuracy on all risk scales (Table 2).
However, the sexual reconviction rate for the sex offender group was higher than that of the violent offender group during the follow-up periods. Given the evolutionary development, it was expected that the more recently developed risk measures such as Risk Matrix 2000 would outperform the older instruments. Evaluating treatment efficacy with sexual offenders: The insensitivity of recidivism studies to treatment effects.
Differences in the predictive validity of actuarial risk assessments in relation to sex offender type.
A six-year follow-up of men going through representative probation based sex offender treatment programs.
The prediction of criminal and violent recidivism among mentally disordered offenders: A meta-analysis. Comparing sex offender risk assessment measures on a UK sample: International Journal of Offender Therapy and Comparative Criminology, 48, 7-27.
Comparing the validity of actuarial and structured clinical assessments of risk for sexual violence. Poster presented at the 19th Annual Conference of the Association for the Treatment of Sexual Abusers; San Diego, California. In the three decades since the publication of Monahan's book, the relative accuracy of violence risk assessments has increased substantially.
Current methods at present allow, in most cases, only for an estimate of the likelihood of both future sexual and nonsexual offending over a specific timeframe. As a result, the assessment of risk by necessity involves the combination of a number of risk factors in a meaningful manner.
Their analysis consisted of 536 findings drawn from 118 distinct samples with a total sample of 45,398 sex offenders in 16 different countries.
The need for training and technical assistance in the context of risk assessment was identified by the 2012 SOMAPI forum participants.
Paper presented at the 19th Annual Research and Treatment Conference of the Association for the Treatment of Sexual Abusers, San Diego, CA. Presentation at the 28th Annual Research and Treatment Conference of the Association for the Treatment of Sexual Abusers, Dallas, TX. For incest offenders, all four tests were at least moderately predictive of sexual recidivism, whereas the Static-99 and the SORAG were highly predictive of violent or any recidivism. Sexual offenders were classified as having committed a contact sexual offense (rape, attempted rape, indecent assault, gross indecency) either current conviction or previous conviction at the time of the assessment. Of the 46 violent offenders, 87% (n = 40) were followed up at eight years with 43% (n = 20) being followed-up at nine-years. The overall reconviction rate for the sample of sexual offenders (19% at two-years, 28% at five-years, and 36% at 10-years) was lower than that of the violent offender sample (39% at two-years, 63% at five-years, and 74% at 10-years), and general offender sample (18% at two-years, 27% at five-years, and 36% at 10-years).
The sex reconviction rate for sexual offenders in the present study is consistent with recent research (Caan, Falshaw & Friendship, 2003). In respect of Static-99, this study reported an AUC of .57 for sexual and violent reconviction at two-years follow-up. However, including additional risk items with static-based actuarial risk measures can improve predictive accuracy. The two systems of deviance assessment were standardized from which the Number of Dysfunctional Domains could be calculated.
The relative utility of fixed and variables risk factors in discriminating sexual recidivists and non-recidivists. Evaluation of a national prison-based treatment program for sexual offenders in England and Wales. A comparison of child molesters and non-sexual criminals: Risk predictors and long-term recidivism.
Assessing the legal standard for predictions of dangerousness in sex offender commitment proceedings. A comparison of modified versions of the Static-99 and the Sex Offender Risk Appraisal Guide. Paper presented at the 21st Annual Conference for the Association for the Treatment of Sexual Abusers, October 2-5, Montreal, Quebec Canada. Integrating statistical and psychological factors through the structured risk assessment model. The accuracy of these estimates depends in part on the degree to which the individual offender being assessed matches a known group of sex offenders and the degree to which the factors included in the risk assessment accurately reflect the known universe of relevant risk factors. Over the past three decades, numerous studies have examined the factors that are related to sexual offense recidivism, and not a single study has found the specific type of crime an offender is convicted of to be predictive of the likelihood of recidivism (Freeman & Sandler, 2010). It is important to keep in mind that for purposes of risk assessment, the utility of a risk factor depends on its empirical relationship to the outcome being predicted (Helmus et al., 2012). The context in which risk assessment findings are communicated can also influence interpretation. The RMS obtained marginal accuracy in predicting sexual reconviction while the RMV obtained good accuracy at predicting violent non-sex reconviction. None of the four tests established consistent predictive validity across recidivism categories in regard to rapists or hands-off offenders, however, the Static-99 and the SORAG were significant in terms of sexual recidivism. RMV risk items include, age on release, amount of prior violence and a history of burglary. Offenders who had a history of a previous sexual conviction were scored as sexual offenders even though their index offense may have been non-sexual. Of the 22 general offenders, 86% (n = 19), 50% (n = 11), were followed up at eight and nine-years respectively.
Static-99 was better at predicting violent reconviction than sexual conviction in both sexual and combined sexual-violent samples.
Final report on the development of the Minnesota Sex Offender Screening Tool-Revised (MnSOST-R).
Cross-validation and extension of the violence risk appraisal guide for child molesters and rapists. Paper presented at the 21st Annual Research and Treatment Conference, Association of the Treatment of Sexual Abusers, October 2-5, Montreal, Canada. The following types of risk assessment approaches were included in the analysis: empirical actuarial, mechanical (using factors chosen primarily on the basis of theory or literature reviews), adjusted actuarial, structured professional judgment, and unstructured professional judgment.
Therefore, contemporary risk assessment involves a bit of paradox: even though research on risk assessment has largely eliminated subjective judgment from within the risk assessment process itself, clinical judgment on the part of the evaluator is still needed to make valid, research-informed decisions about the appropriate risk assessment instrument(s) to apply in any particular setting.
An item analysis revealed four factors not included in the risk scales significantly correlated with sexual and violent reconviction.
In a review of sex offender risk measures, Craig, Browne, and Stringer (2003a) reported that 10 out of 12 risk measures examined were better at predicting general offense recidivism than at predicting sexual offense recidivism. Violent offenders were classified as having committed a violent offense (actual or grievous bodily harm, murder, manslaughter, wounding, and common assault) having no history of sexual offenses or sexual element to their offending. Corbett et al., (2003) found that 12% of violent convictions were sexually motivated, and in 10 out of 19 rape cases the sexual element of the crime was removed and downgraded to a violent offense (Lees, 1996). Manual for the Sexual Violence Risk-20 (SVR-20): Professional Guidelines for Assessing Risk of Sexual Violence. The prediction of recidivism among federally sentenced offenders: A re-validation of the SIR scale.
Paper presented at the 19th Annual Conference for the Association for the Treatment of Sexual Abusers. Including these factors with Static-99, RMV and RMS increased the accuracy in predicting sexual reconviction but had a negative impact on the accuracy of RMV in predicting violent reconviction. However in terms of age and risk of re-offending, extrafamilial child molesters show relatively little reduction in recidivism risk until after the age of 50 (Hanson, 2002). Levels of risk of those who offended against children varied when compared with levels of risk of those who offended against adults. Other than the original study, there have been no cross-validation studies using the Risk Matrix scales. Although the results from the present study support offense specific risk measures, it is not clear what risk factors are better at predicting general, violent or sexual recidivism.
For purposes of sex offender risk assessment, the relevant base rate is the proportion of convicted sex offenders who commit a subsequent sexual offense, either over a specified timeframe or over the course of their lifetime.
The probability of over estimating the risk (predicting an offender will reoffend when they did not - false positive prediction) is increased when the base rate is low, and conversely, by raising the base rate increases the probability of under estimating the risk (predicting an offender will not reoffend when in fact they did - a false negative prediction). Offenders with adult victims obtained significantly higher mean scores using the RMS and SACJ-Min than did sex offenders with child victims who obtained significantly higher scores on the RRASOR. Indeed, Langstrom and Grann (2000) argued that sexual and general recidivist factors are not the same. First report of the collaborative outcome data project on the effectiveness of psychological treatment for sex offenders.
The base rate is arrived at through reference to large meta-analyses of sex offender recidivism, such as Hanson and Bussiere (1998) and Hanson and Morton-Bourgon (2005). Offenders with adult victims were more likely to be considered medium-high to high risk using Static-99 and SACJ-Min respectively, whereas offenders with child victims were more likely to obtained scores in the low to medium-low risk categories using the RMS. Risk factors associated with general recidivists are: early conduct disorder, previous convictions, Psychopathy, and the use of death threats or weapons at the index sex offense.
Similarly, levels of risk also varied depending on the type of referral agency and level of security. The sample in the current study consisted of those offenders referred to a Regional [Medium] Secure Unit for assessment.
Risk factors associated with sexual recidivism include previous sex offenses, poor social skills, male victims, and two or more victims in index offense. It is not clear why they were referred for assessment but they may poses unusual risk characteristics compared to others offenders supervised by the probation service that required a specialist assessment by an RSU.

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