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Quantifying the Relative Risk of Sex Offenders: Risk Ratios for Static-99R

R. Karl Hanson, Kelly M. Babchishin, Leslie Helmus, and David Thornton.
Sexual Abuse: A Journal of Research and Treatment; October 2013, vol. 25, no. 5, 482-515.

Abstract

Given the widespread use of empirical actuarial risk tools in corrections and forensic mental health, it is important that evaluators and decision makers understand how scores relate to recidivism risk. In the current study, we found strong evidence for a relative risk interpretation of Static-99R scores using 8 samples from Canada, United Kingdom, and Western Europe (N = 4,037 sex offenders). Each increase in Static-99R score was associated with a stable and consistent increase in relative risk (as measured by an odds ratio or hazard ratio of approximately 1.4). Hazard ratios from Cox regression were used to calculate risk ratios that can be reported for Static-99R. We recommend that evaluators consider risk ratios as a useful, nonarbitrary metric for quantifying and communicating risk information. To avoid misinterpretation, however, risk ratios should be presented with recidivism base rates.

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