[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, 

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 

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 

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