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NCJRS Abstract

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NCJ Number: 114828 Find in a Library
Title: Assessment of Sex Offender Risk
Journal: Perspectives  Volume:12  Issue:4  Dated:(Fall 1988)  Pages:16-18
Author(s): B Bemus
Date Published: 1988
Page Count: 3
Type: Issue Overview
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: In the development of sex offender risk assessment scales, two issues must be considered: What is the underlying philosophy of intervention? and how will the scale affect decisionmaking?
Abstract: For a philosophy based on offender monitoring and control, such as that underlying intensive supervision programs, an additive risk scale is most appropriate. Such a scale is designed to identify groups of offenders with similar potentials (statistical probabilities) for reoffending. Additive scales show a linear relationship between total score and risk, and the score differentiating one group from another is arbitrary. When the underlying philosophy is case management and offender-treatment matching, a risk scale may be used in conjunction with a needs assessment instrument; or a decision tree strategy may be used. A decision tree is a series of yes/no questions, designed around available intervention options, that lead the decisionmaker along a path that ultimately results in a treatment recommendation. Decision trees can be used to define groups by offender characteristics. The Washington County (Wisc.) risk scale illustrates a decision tree model that can be used to identify the preferred agency response given the offense and personal characteristics of the offender. Management considerations in the use of such scales include that no single methodology or scale is preferable or best, scales predict low risk more accurately than high risk, the role of the scale in decisionmaking should be specified, and scales should be empirically validated. 2 figures and 3 references.
Main Term(s): Offender classification
Index Term(s): Sex offender profiles; Sex offender treatment; Treatment offender matching
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