Decision issues in risk assessment. Journal of Applied Social Psychology, 24 14 , The next best alternative is the empirically—guided approach to risk assessment. The violence prediction scheme.
Centre of Criminology, University of Toronto. Journal of Applied Social Psychology, 24 14 , This fact has been recognized by researchers developing actuarial tools. Indeed, Gottfredson , p. Cormier points out that the SIR scale, widely used by corrections and parole workers, "cannot provide targets for treatment interventions or for the possibility of changes in risk over time" p. Alternatively, clinical information may be used to improve actuarial assessments Serin, ; Gottfredson, Put simply, well executed assessments are the key to informed decisionmaking with adult and juvenile sex offenders. Managing risk - Whose problem is it anyway? In summary, actuarial risk assessment tools are an extremely important innovation in the sex offender assessment process, but practitioners must be cognizant of and carefully consider the following issues: The likelihood of a particular sex offender re-offending cannot be accurately predicted; rather, the field is limited to predicting the likelihood that a sex offender with particular characteristics may re-offend. Employment at arrest Cormier, The SIR is useful in predicting general recidivism, but is not able to assess risk for sexual or violent recidivism as strongly, and is not useful in the management of offender risk as it measures only unchangeable factors Bonta, et al. The ability to predict violence and dangerousness. Important limitations must be kept in mind when considering available methods of risk assessment for future sex offending. Because of their relationship with recidivism both in the short and long term, identifying these criminogenic needs must be a key focus of assessment efforts. The risk categorization i. Challenges with assessing risk among juvenile sex offenders are a function of the low base rates of juvenile sexual recidivism, a lack of controlled, empirical studies pertaining to risk estimation with this population, and limited efforts to develop risk assessment tools specifically for juveniles to date see, e. Prediction issues for practitioners. Law and Human Behavior, 22 2 , Each item is assigned a specific weight, and the items are summed to yield a total score that is associated with a broad risk category e. With respect to assessing risk among sex offenders, actuarial tools are undoubtedly a valuable resource. Though clinicians and corrections workers may strive to be objective and to keep biases from affecting their assessments, it is well known that any task undertaken by a person will be influenced by his or her perspective. Misjudgements made by psychologists and psychiatrists may result in an indefinite period of incarceration. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 62 5 , Issues for forensic psychologists [On-line]. Forum on Corrections Research, 6 3 , An overview of selected methodological issues.
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