Can violent (re)offense be predicted? a review of the role of the clinician and use of actuarial tests in light of new data

Robert John Zagar, Kenneth G. Busch, William M Grove, John Russell Hughes

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

14 Scopus citations

Abstract

This article is an evaluation of established actuarial probation-parole tests in light of new data on violent and homicidal behavior. Probation-parole tests originally were developed by observing risks related with recidivism or return to court after release (i.e., the "danger" of releasing an individual) by following offenders in court records for up to 10 years. Commonly used probation-parole tests together comprise 82 distinct items related to characteristics of the offender: home, school, peers, job, family, individual-medical, community, and court contacts. The risks for violence and homicide found by Zagar, et al. were compared with prior meta-analyses of risks with the criterion of violent delinquency. Bootstrapped logistic regressions in Zagar and colleagues' new data yielded highly accurate predictions of violence, showing that improved methods and sampling can lead to still higher accuracy than had been achieved by established probation-parole tests. A general discussion of the usefulness of actuarial tests and answers to challenges of their validity for decision making are provided.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)247-277
Number of pages31
JournalPsychological reports
Volume104
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Feb 1 2009

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