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It is our intent to create a respectful environment for understanding and healing, a Discussion-Safety-Zone for Related Topics, while maintaining our Visitors' Zones-of-Privacy, and to interact on a non-judgmental basis. Today far too many communities fail to create these safety-zones!

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    Risk Assessment Overview:
    Sec. 1 Declaring:     Sec. 2 Predicting:     Sec. 3 Process & Correctness:     Sec. 4 Tools in Use:     Sec. 5 Tools Used by States:
*** Risk Assessment Systems: Tools in Use ***


Canada: JOHN HOWARD SOCIETY OF ALBERTA (2000). Risk assessments may yield statistically significant success rates, but they are unable to provide accurate predictions in a substantial portion of cases. According to Hanson and Thornton (1999), the predictive accuracy of professional risk assessments (both actuarial and clinical) is only slightly better than chance. False positives and false negatives are a concern in any assessment of risk.

Formal methods of assessing risk can be categorized as either actuarial or clinical. Actuarial methods require the collection of a large amount of historical data which can indicate whether the offender is likely to re-offend. Risk factors measured by actuarial tools can be static (unchangeable) or dynamic (changeable). For instance, an actuarial risk prediction tool may measure number of prior convictions, age at the time of the offence and the offender's relationship to the victim, all static factors, in addition to such dynamic factors as response to treatment and criminal association. Clinical assessments are based on the professional opinions of psychologists and psychiatrists, who take a more holistic approach to predicting whether an offender will re-offend. Clinicians may consider personality traits, mental illness, as well as biological, social and psychological factors that are related to offending.

The combined use of actuarial and clinical assessments may provide a greater degree of accuracy than one type of assessment used in isolation. Further, in determining risk, both static and dynamic factors should be taken into consideration - a number of risk assessment tools measure only unchangeable historical data. Looking at variables that may influence future behaviour that are subject to change, in addition to static factors, allows justice workers to better assess the level of risk posed by an individual. Finally, the assessment of sex offenders using existing methods is highly inaccurate.

.for Adolescents.

Adolescent Risks: by Kirk Heilbrun, Ph.D., Cindy Cottle, M.A., and Ria Lee, M.A.

Juvenile Sex Offender Assessment Protocol: by Robert Prentky, Ph,D. and Susan Righthand, Ph,D. Actual scoring forms are found on pages 42-44.

.The Sexual Adjustment Inventory for Juveniles (SAI-J).

SAI-J for Juveniles The Sexual Adjustment Inventory (SAI) has been modified for juvenile (12 to 17 years) assessment. The SAI for juveniles has the acronym SAI-J. The SAI-J is designed specifically for assessment of juveniles accused or convicted of sexual offenses.

.Risk Assessment Tools for Juvenile Sexual Offenders and Sexually Reactive Children.
.(J-RAT) (IM-RAT).

J-RAT / IM-RAT / LA-SAAT The risk assessment tools on this page were developed for Stetson School, a longterm 92 bed residential treatment program in Barre, Massachusetts, for 9-18 year old children and adolescents who have engaged in sexually abusive behavior..

The Juvenile Risk Assessment Tool (J-RAT) is designed and intended to be used for the initial assessment of juvenile sexual offenders, assessing both static (historical) and dynamic (susceptibe to change, treatment-responsive, or criminogenic) variables. We have recently (10/26/01) modified the J-RAT, which now has the designation V2.

The Interim Modified Risk Assessment Tool (IM-RAT) is designed for re-evaluation over time, or as an on-going measure of assessment during treatment, and largely is a measure of dynamic factors, or responsiveness to treatment.The current version is the V2 (second) version.

We have also recently developed a latency age assessment tool to evaluate both sexual reactivity and sexual assaultiveness in children 8-12. The Latency Age Sexual Adjustment and Assessment Tool (LA-SAAT) is in its first version at Stetson School, and serving as our prototype as we test its usefulness and value. It is posted below, as well as the J-RAT and IM-RAT, but be aware that there may be typos and other problems that we have yet to discover. Meantime, the LA-SAAT is available to anyone who would like to download it.

The Juvenile Risk Assessment Tool (J-RAT), the Interim Modified Risk Assessment Tool (IM-RAT), and the Latency Age Sexual Adjustment and Assessment Tool (LA-SAAT), are copyright of Stetson School, but at this time are available at no charge and may be downloaded, printed, reproduced, and used without further permission.

.The Rorschach.
.Inkblot Test.

The Rorschach Test: Sometimes used in combination with other tests.

.The Sexual Adjustment Inventory.

The SAI The Sexual Adjustment Inventory (SAI) is designed to identify sexually deviate and paraphiliac behavior in people accused or convicted of sexual offenses.

.by Wayne Petherick.

A Primer: Over time, there has been a need for professionals to assess the level of dangerousness a certain individual poses to society. This may take the form of assessing an individual for his tendency to commit violent acts, either now or in the future, or it may be assessing an inmate's suitability for release back into the community; that is, whether or not he will continue to pose a danger upon release.

Given that an inaccurate prediction could mean the difference between liberation and incarceration, these assessments must be conducted with great caution. This is especially true when one considers that the rate of false positives, that is, those assessments that incorrectly identify an individual as a danger when he is not, is incredibly high.

COMMENT: A great discussion. Don't forget to read through each of his sections found on his menu.

.by Hollida Wakefield and Ralph Underwager.

Assessing Violent Recidivism in Sexual Offenders: The prediction of future violence is difficult, complex, and controversial, and psychologists and psychiatrists do not have a good track record in making accurate predictions. But since John Monahan's (1981) influential book on predicting violent behavior, there has been a great deal of research in this area resulting in improvement in the ability of clinicians and researchers to make these predictions (Monahan, 1996; Webster, Harris, Rice, Cormier, & Quinsey, 1994).

The fundamental problem is that in the general population, violent behavior is a low frequency event. Attempting to predict events in a population with a low antecedent probability leads to an unacceptable level of false positives. If the base rate for violence in a given population is very low, then the most accurate prediction is always to predict that a given individual will not be violent. Any assessments of individual cases will produce less accurate results over the long run.

.The Minnesota Multiphasic.
.Personality Inventory II.

The MMPI II: The MMPI 2 has been consistently ranked one of the top two psychological instruments of all psychological instruments in use by American Psychologists. It is one of the most researched tests around as well. It's not perfect, mind you, as it has both strengths and weaknesses, but used properly, it is an invaluable tool. Here is another very good general discussion on the MMPI and MMPI 2 tests.

Further, lawyers have cautioned that, the MMPI & MMPI 2 can be misused.

.The Revised Minnesota.
.Sex Offender Screening Tool.

The MnSOST-R revised version of the Minnesota Sex Offender Screening tool has been reported to be cross-validated as recently as 11-1-2000. You can download both the form and the manual. However, this link will require that you provide your name and contact information so that they can advise you of any future updates.

The following link does not require your name or contact information: This manual explains how to code the form: Click (PDF file) which also includes a form that you can print. Should you want just the coding form MnSOST-R Coding form (.doc file): however, this requires Microsoft Word to load.

.The Static-99.
.Sex Offender Screening Tool.

The Static-99 This file contains both the coding form (pg 15) and all the instructions for coding the form. Here is another more complete set of instructions for coding the Static-99 form.

.The Rapid Risk Assessment.
.for Sexual Offense Recidivism Tool (RRASOR).

The RRASOR The RRASOR is a form consisting of four simple questions; the offender's number of prior sexual offenses, the age of the offender, whether the offenses involved incest, and the gender of the victims. Within this court case Dr. Berlin discusses the shortcomings of this Screening Tool. rrasor form

.The Registrant Risk Assessment Scale (RRAS) Tool.

The RRAS New Jersey's Manual Covering Sex Offender's, Exhibit F is the actual RRAS form. Exhibit E are the instructions for preparing the form. Given that the manual is 80 pages long (PDF file) we have summarized it as follows:

The Registrant Risk Assessment Scale (RRAS) was developed “to assess risk” in a uniform, consistent manner. The Scale assesses 2 main components of potential reoffence risk: 1) the seriousness of the offence should the offender recidivate and 2) the likelihood that the offender would recidivate.

“Seriousness” and “likelihood” are important variables. For instance, in the case of a “compulsive exhibitionist,” although there may be a high likelihood of reoffence, there is minimal harm from a reoffence, so “seriousness” is low. The offence is considered to be a “nuisance” rather than a danger. Conversely, with a violent offender (for example, a sadistic rapist) who has a history of substantial victim harm, even a relatively low likelihood of reoffence may result in moderate or high risk to the community, given the nature of the offence.

The RRAS consists of 4 items as follows: 1) The seriousness of the offence: degree of force, degree of contact, age of victim. 2) Offence history: victim selection, number of offences/victims, duration of offensive behaviour, length of time since last offence, history of antisocial acts. 3) Characteristics of the offender: response to treatment, substance abuse. 4) Community support: therapeutic support, residential support, employment, educational stability.

The factors are weighted, with those assessing seriousness of the offence being heaviest. Illustratively, an offender whose prior offenses have involved violence, an extremely young victim, and sexual penetration (physical damage) would be more likely to fall in a higher risk category.

.The Violence Risk Appraisal Guide (VRAG).
and the Sex Offender Risk Appraisal Guide (SORAG) Tools.

The VRAG and SORAG: The Violence Risk Appraisal Guide (VRAG) and its companion Sex Offender Risk Appraisal Guide (SORAG) are actuarial tools for the prediction of violent recidivism. (At first, the VRAG was called the Statistical Risk Appraisal Guide). The tools give the probability (from zero to 100%) that an offender will commit a new violent offense (including sex offenses) within a specified period of community access. The tools say how one offender’s risk compares to others. The SORAG is for male sex offenders and the VRAG is for men who have committed serious, violent or sexual offenses. Further down the developer's page are links which take you to full explanations of these actuarial instruments.

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