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Mauston, WI, United States

Karl Hanson R.,Public Safety Canada | Harris A.J.R.,Forensic Assessment Group | Helmus L.,Carleton University | Thornton D.,Sand Ridge Secure Treatment Center
Journal of Interpersonal Violence | Year: 2014

This study examined the extent to which sexual offenders present an enduring risk for sexual recidivism over a 20-year follow-up period. Using an aggregated sample of 7,740 sexual offenders from 21 samples, the yearly recidivism rates were calculated using survival analysis. Overall, the risk of sexual recidivism was highest during the first few years after release, and decreased substantially the longer individuals remained sex offense–free in the community. This pattern was particularly strong for the high-risk sexual offenders (defined by Static-99R scores). Whereas the 5-year sexual recidivism rate for high-risk sex offenders was 22% from the time of release, this rate decreased to 4.2% for the offenders in the same static risk category who remained offense-free in the community for 10 years. The recidivism rates of the low-risk offenders were consistently low (1%-5%) for all time periods. The results suggest that offense history is a valid, but time-dependent, indicator of the propensity to sexually reoffend. Further research is needed to explain the substantial rate of desistance by high-risk sexual offenders. © 2014 The Author(s). Source


Beech A.R.,University of Birmingham | Miner M.H.,University of Minnesota | Thornton D.,University of Birmingham | Thornton D.,Sand Ridge Secure Treatment Center
Annual Review of Clinical Psychology | Year: 2016

This review summarizes and critically examines the changes in how the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM) characterizes paraphilias. Attention is paid to the diagnostic options that were included in DSM-5, the decision not to include criterion sets for two additional disorders (paraphilic coercive disorder and hypersexual behavior disorder), and the further decision not to modify the diagnosis of pedophilic to pedohebephilic disorder. The three most significant changes are (a) the move to distinguish paraphilias from paraphilic disorders (allowing unusual sexual interests to be studied by researchers but only regarded as disorders when they cause distress or dysfunction), (b) introducing criteria describing paraphilic disorders as being in remission (when they no longer cause distress or dysfunction), and (c) clarifying the relationship between behavior and paraphilias. Concerns are noted about the forensic use of diagnoses and the lack of funding for field trials in this revision of the DSM. Suggestions are given for future directions in order to further research efficacy and clinical diagnosis. Copyright ©2016 by Annual Reviews. All rights reserved. Source


Hanson R.K.,Public Safety Canada | Babchishin K.M.,Public Safety Canada | Babchishin K.M.,Carleton University | Helmus L.,Carleton University | Thornton D.,Sand Ridge Secure Treatment Center
Sexual Abuse: Journal of Research and Treatment | Year: 2013

Given the widespread use of empirical actuarial risk tools in corrections and forensic mental health, it is important that evaluators and decision makers understand how scores relate to recidivism risk. In the current study, we found strong evidence for a relative risk interpretation of Static-99R scores using 8 samples from Canada, United Kingdom, and Western Europe (N = 4,037 sex offenders). Each increase in Static-99R score was associated with a stable and consistent increase in relative risk (as measured by an odds ratio or hazard ratio of approximately 1.4). Hazard ratios from Cox regression were used to calculate risk ratios that can be reported for Static-99R. We recommend that evaluators consider risk ratios as a useful, nonarbitrary metric for quantifying and communicating risk information. To avoid misinterpretation, however, risk ratios should be presented with recidivism base rates. © The Author(s) 2012. Source


Helmus L.,Public Safety Canada | Helmus L.,Carleton University | Thornton D.,Sand Ridge Secure Treatment Center | Hanson R.K.,Public Safety Canada | And 2 more authors.
Sexual Abuse: Journal of Research and Treatment | Year: 2012

Actuarial risk assessment scales and their associated recidivism estimates are generally developed on samples of offenders whose average age is well below 50 years. Criminal behavior of all types declines with age; consequently, actuarial scales tend to overestimate recidivism for older offenders. The current study aimed to develop a revised scoring system for two risk assessment tools (Static-99 and Static-2002) that would more accurately describe older offenders' risk of recidivism. Using data from 8,390 sex offenders derived from 24 separate samples, age was found to add incremental predictive validity to both Static-99 and Static-2002. After creating new age weights, the resulting instruments (Static-99R and Static-2002R) had only slightly higher relative predictive accuracy. The absolute recidivism estimates, however, provided a substantially better fit for older offenders than the recidivism estimates from the original scales. We encourage evaluators to adopt the revised scales with the new age weights. © The Author(s) 2012. Source


Helmus L.,Carleton University | Thornton D.,Sand Ridge Secure Treatment Center | Babchishin K.M.,Carleton University | Harris A.J.R.,Forensic Assessment Group
Criminal Justice and Behavior | Year: 2012

There has been considerable research on relative predictive accuracy (i.e., discrimination) in offender risk assessment (e.g., Are high-risk offenders more likely to reoffend than low-risk offenders?), but virtually no research on the accuracy or stability of absolute recidivism estimates (i.e., calibration). The current study aimed to fill this gap by examining absolute and relative risk estimates for certain Static sex offender assessment tools. Logistic regression coefficients for Static-99R and Static-2002R were combined through meta-analysis (8,106 sex offenders; 23 samples). The sexual recidivism rates for typical sex offenders are lower than the public generally believes. Static-99R and Static-2002R both demonstrated remarkably consistent relative predictive accuracy across studies. For both scales, however, the predicted recidivism rates within each risk score demonstrated large and significant variability across studies. The authors discuss how the variability in recidivism rates complicates the estimation of recidivism probability in applied assessments. © 2012 International Association for Correctional and Forensic Psychology. Source

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