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NCJ Number: 74716 Add to Shopping cart Find in a Library
Title: Right Not To Be a False Positive - Problems in the Application of the Dangerousness Standard
Journal: Psychiatric Quarterly  Volume:52  Issue:2  Dated:special issue (Summer 1980)  Pages:84-99
Author(s): H J Steadman
Date Published: 1980
Page Count: 16
Sponsoring Agency: US Dept of Health, Education, and Welfare
Washington, DC 20203
Grant Number: MH28850
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: Based on studies with relevant primary data, this essay by a forensic psychiatrist focuses on the distinction between the clinical and statistical predictions of dangerous behavior for involuntary commitment purpose.
Abstract: The reliability of clinical predictions of dangerous behavior in mentally ill offenders is questioned because most of the data on the accuracy of such predictions concerned mental patients released -- contrary to psychiatric advice -- from maximum security facilities by court decisions. A study conducted at the Patuxent Mental Institute for Defective Deliquents in Maryland failed to reveal any ability on the part of the staff to accurately identify potentially dangerous inmates. Tabular data are included concerning clinical and statistical dangerousness predictions by various researchers based on false-positive rates. Accuracy of clinical predictions of dangerous behavior rarely exceeded in predictions obtainable simply by chance, even among groups generally considered high risk. Tabular data are also provided on the accuracy of clinical and statistical predictions of patients, assaultiveness while hospitalized; on the accuracy of clinical and statistical analysis in predicting assaultiveness in the community, and subsequent arrest for murder, manslaughter, or assault. The apparent psychiatric inabilities in predicting dangerous behavior have important implications for due process protection in both the mental health and the criminal justice system. Forty references are appended.
Index Term(s): Criminality prediction; Dangerousness; Forensic psychiatry; Mentally ill offenders
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