New directions in assessing risk for sexual offenders
Hogue, Todd E.
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Risk assessment is the cornerstone of effective offender management. The identification of the risks posed by offender and the factors associated with recidivism are crucial to the identification of appropriate and effective interventions designed to reduce the risk of recidivism. While it is generally accepted that the predictive accuracy of actuarial methods outperforms clinical judgement, critics of the actuarial approach argue that the limitations of actuarial risk assessments are such that experts have yet to reach consensus on the best risk factors for predictive accuracy and methods for combining these risk factors into an overall evaluation. This paper considers a number of important conceptual issues associated with the assessment of risk for sexual offenders and offers an alternative approach to risk appraisal. The Multiaxial Risk Appraisal (MARA) model encourages a more global approach to the assessment of risk and examines 'nomothetic' (actuarial scales and psychometric assessments of psychopathology and psychosexual characteristics) and 'idiographic' (empirically guided clinical assessment and dynamic changes in risk) approaches. One of the advantages of using the MARA model is that the resultant assessment considers the theoretical possibility that there are different aetiological pathways impacting on an offender's risk of recidivism and allows for the inclusion of dynamic risk-related information. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2016 APA, all rights reserved)