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The Predictive Validity of a General Risk/Needs Assessment Inventory on Sexual Offender Recidivism and an Exploration of the Professional Override

J. Stephen Wormith, Sarah Hogg & Lina Guzzo.

Criminal Justice and Behavior: December 2012 vol. 39 no. 12 1511-1538.

 

Abstract

This study examines the predictive validity of the Level of Service/Case Management Inventory (LS/CMI) on a sample of sexual offenders extracted from a large cohort of offenders and compares predictive validities with nonsexual offenders from the same cohort. The LS/CMI predicted sex offenders' general recidivism, which occurred at a rate of 44.1%, with about the same accuracy as less frequently occurring violent (12.34%) and sexual recidivism (3.73%; AUC = .77, .74, and .74, respectively) and with nonsexual offenders. The study revealed that allowing assessors to override the numerically derived risk level with their professional judgment, a practice that increased risk level much more often than it decreased it, reduced the predictive validity of the scale and did so particularly for sex offenders by increasing risk excessively. An exploration of factors related to these adjustments revealed that non-risk-related characteristics were used in judgments to modify risk ratings. Implications for policy and practice are considered.

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