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The Utility of Risk Assessment Instruments for the Prediction of Recidivism in Sexual Homicide Perpetrators

Andreas Hill, Martin Rettenberger, Niels Habermann, Wolfgang Berner, Reinhard Eher & Peer Briken.

Journal of Interpersonal Violence; December 2012, vol. 27, no. 18, 3553-3578.

 

Abstract

To examine the predictive accuracy of four well established risk assessment instruments (PCL-R, HCR-20, SVR-20, and Static-99) in an important subgroup of sexual offenders, these instruments were assessed retrospectively based on information from forensic psychiatric court reports in a sample of 90 released male sexual homicide offenders (out of an original sample of 166) in Germany. Follow-up information about criminal reconvictions after release were obtained from the federal criminal records. Total scores as well as subscales and single items of these risk assessment instruments did not predict sexual recidivism, and only some of them had moderate predictive power regarding nonsexual violent recidivism. Possible explanations for these unexpected results are the retrospective study design with missing information about influences during the long duration of detention and time after release, the small sample size as well as the possibility that the risk assessment instruments investigated were valid for general sex offender samples, but not for the particular subgroup of offenders with sexually motivated homicides.

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