[oajfp] new articles on risk assessment, coerced confessions
- From: "Gregory DeClue Ph. D. ABPP" <gregdeclue@xxxxxx>
- To: OAJFP@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
- Date: Fri, 01 Oct 2010 09:08:31 -0400
Recently added to the Open Access Journal of Forensic Psychology, available for free at http://www.forensicpsychologyunbound.ws/ Wilson, R. J., & Looman, J. (2010). What can we reasonably expect to accomplish in conducting actuarial risk assessments with sexual offenders in civil commitment settings? A response to Campbell and DeClue: “Maximizing predictive accuracy in sexually violent predator evaluations. Open Access Journal of Forensic Psychology, 2, 306-321. Abstract: Measuring risk to recidivate in populations of sexual offenders has always been a contentious and complicated process. Whereas predictions of reoffense risk were once offered by clinicians using “unstructured clinical judgment,” the research literature has clearly shown that the accuracy of such methods often fails to meet even chance levels. Consequently, the past 20 years or more has seen the development and refinement of tools designed to actuarially predict risk for recidivism. One such tool, the Static-99, has become the index of choice for most evaluators of sexual recidivism risk, to the extent that it is likely the most widely researched and utilized measure of its type in the world. However, the Static-99 is not without its foibles: It possesses only moderate predictive accuracy, omits such robust predictors as direct measures of sexual deviancy and antisociality, and does not include any dynamic factors. Further, it appears that heterogeneity in the standardization samples presents issues for evaluators and jurists alike in terms of how best to evaluate individual offenders against putative normative groups. In their paper “Maximizing Predictive Accuracy in Sexually Violent Predator Evaluations,” Campbell and DeClue argue that the predictive value of the Static-99 and its related measures is suspect. These arguments center on issues related to cut-off scores, confidence intervals, and assignment of individual offenders to specific normative samples based on factors not included in the Static-99. In this paper, we provide a response to some of the issues raised by Campbell and DeClue, specifically focusing on forcing dichotomous status on continuous variables, a failure to see the big picture in using Static-99 to predict risk in populations of Sexually Violent Predators, and difficulties associated with creating confidence intervals. DeClue, G., & Campbell, T. W. (2010). Still maximizing accuracy in sexually violent predator evaluations. Open Access Journal of Forensic Psychology, 2, 322-336. Abstract: We respond to eleven points raised by Wilson and Looman (2010) regarding our article, “Maximizing Predictive Accuracy in Sexually Violent Predator Evaluations” (Campbell & DeClue, 2010b). We summarize our recommendations regarding risk assessment and risk communication. We continue to recommend that evaluators who use actuarial instruments should inform the trier of fact how to maximize the accuracy of predictions based on those instruments. Campbell, T. W. (2010). Maximizing accuracy and welcoming scrutiny: An additional response to Wilson and Looman. Open Access Journal of Forensic Psychology, 2, 337-346. Abstract: Using binary methodology to assess the accuracy of an actuarial instrument such as the Static-99R is entirely consistent with how those instruments are used in practice. Despite Wilson and Looman's position to the contrary, the high-risk norms of the Static-99R appear less than representative of U.S. sex offenders subject to civil com mitment. Unfortunately, the predictive accuracy of the Static-99R never exceeds that obtained by relying on the base rate alone. Attempts at protecting the Static-99R from scrutiny are ill advised, inviting skepticism and disrespect from triers of fact. DeClue, G. (2010). Dear Sheriff, Your detectives coerced a confession. Open Access Journal of Forensic Psychology, 2, 347-352. Abstract: When an appeal results in the overturning of a criminal conviction because a confession was coerced, that is likely to garner some public attention and scrutiny. Somewhat less attention and scrutiny might follow a finding of not guilty in a criminal trial, and still less attention and scrutiny may follow the suppression of an interrogation and confession during a pre-trial hearing. Even less public attention and scrutiny—or none at all—may follow a decision by a prosecutor not to contest a defense attorney’s motion to suppress a coerced interrogation and confession. Less public attention and scrutiny can result in less feedback to a law-enforcement agency, which could impair the agency’s ability to learn and evolve. In some cases, forensic psychologists can provide feedback to law-enforcement agencies, so that we can all work together to promote justice. A letter is a useful way to begin that process.
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