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Ethical and Practical Concerns Regarding the Current Status of Sex Offender Risk Assessment

Author(s): Douglas P. Boer

Journal: Sexual Offender Treatment
ISSN 1862-2941

Volume: 3;
Issue: 1;
Start page: 1;
Date: 2008;
Original page

Keywords: risk assessment | sexual offenders | actuarial | clinical

Risk assessment strategies are becoming more complex and accurate, but remain problematic in terms of how such instruments are promoted and used. Currently, many people doing risk assessments of sex offenders are using actuarial (statistical) tests developed in other countries or on unique populations, with offenders very different from the test-development sample. This is clearly unethical and inappropriate and could result in needless prolonging of incarceration or the premature release of a dangerous individual and possible needless victimization of others. Other measures, such as the structured clinical guidelines may provide a short-term solution to the widespread use of unguided professional judgement and the lack of population-based actuarial tests.
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