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Lecture 5

PSYC 268 Lecture Notes - Lecture 5: Sex Offender, Sex And The Law, Crime Prevention

Course Code
PSYC 268
Deborah Connolly

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PSYC 268 – Fall 2012
Week 5 Book Readings: Chapter 2 pp. 45-52; Chapter 10 pp. 274-287
Approaches to Risk Management
1. Unstructured Clinical Judgment – clinical decision making
oIdeographic approach – focuses on the specific individual rather than on groups of
oQualitative approach – relies on subjective (clinician) judgments
oThe clinician who is conducting a violence risk assessment in this manner will use his or
her best clinical judgment regarding the likelihood that the examinee will be violent in the
2. Actuarial Decision-Making
oNomothetic approach – based on research done on large groups of people
oQuantitative approach – statistical data
oThe clinician who is conducting a violence risk assessment will use a formal, algorithmic,
objective approach to make a decision
oThe clinician must incorporate his or her professional experience by using a formulaic
approach that takes into consideration specific risk markers, each given a specific weight
oThis approach has been found to be considerably more accurate
3. Structured Professional Judgment
oMelds the actuarial and clinical approaches
oA specific array of risk markers is considered, thus ensuring that all clinicians take into
consideration the same risk factors for each examinee
oThe clinician is able to introduce his or her professional experience to temper or augment
the actuarial prediction
Violence Risk Factors – past violent behavior; young age; relationship instability; employment
instability; substance use; major mental disorder; early home or school maladjustment; violations of
conditional release; lack of insight, etc
Risk Assessment Instruments
-Violence Risk Appraisal Guide (VRAG by Quincey, Harris 2005) – used to predict the
probability of violence within a particular time frame in offenders with mental disorders; actuarial
-Violence Prediction Scheme (VPS by Webster, Harris 1994) ; actuarial
-HCR-20 (Webster, Douglas 1997) – information and criteria for evaluating 10 historical factors, 5
clinical factors, and 5 risk management factors and encompasses past, present, and future risk
considerations; structured professional judgment
-Spousal Assault Risk Assessment Guide (SARA by Kropp, Hart 1998); structured professional
-Sexual Violence Risk-20 (SVR-20 by Boer, Hart 1997) – information and criteria for evaluating
11 psychosocial adjustment, 7 sexual offense, and 2 future plans variables for the evaluation of
violence risk in sex offenders; structured professional judgment

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-Sex Offender Risk Assessment Guide (SORAG by Quinsey, Harris 2005) – used to predict the
probability of violence and sexual recidivism in previously convicted sex offenders
-Rapid Risk Assessment for Sex Offense Recidivism (RRASOR by Hanson 1997) – brief 4-item
screening instrument used to evaluate risk for sexual violence in previously convicted sex
-STATIC-99/STATIC-2002 (Hanson, Thornton 1999) – used to determine the long-term potential
for sexual recidivism in male sex offenders
-Sex Offender Needs Assessment Rating (SONAR by Hanson, Harris 2000) – used to measure
change in level of risk for sex offenders
-Minnesota Sex Offender Screening Tool (MnSOST-R by Epperson, Kaul 1998) – used to
determine level of risk for sexual recidivism among rapists and intrafamilial child molesters
Psychopathy and Risk Assessment
Psychopathy – personality style that encompasses both behavioral and affective (emotional) component
-Characteristics – glib, grandiose, callous, remorseless, reckless, manipulative, impulsive,
dishonest, parasitic, and unable to experience the normal range and depth of emotional experience
-Individuals with psychopathic personality styles are more likely to engage in general criminal
behavior and violent behavior than their nonpsychopathic counterparts
Violence Risk Assessment for Psychopaths
- Different Factors
oThe nature of the violence or the types of violence that may occur
oThe severity or seriousness of the violence
oThe frequency of the violence or how often it might occur
oThe imminence or how soon violence might occur
oThe likelihood or probability that violence will occur
-Risk Management – refers to the strategy of attempting to reduce the probability that an
individual will be violent by describing conditions under which it may increase and other where it
may decrease
oTo manage one’s risk, one must know the conditions that may serve to increase or decrease
the probability of violence so that these can be monitored or adjusted accordingly
oi.e. access and use of drugs or alcohol
- Assess through risk assessment instruments; interviews with offender, individuals who know the
Psychopathy – constellation of affective, interpersonal, and behavioral characteristics
- Often has significant impact on the individual’s understanding of and functioning within his or her
-Characteristics: lacking emotional responsiveness, having no sense of shame, being superficially
charming and manipulative, showing irresponsible behavior, being inadequately motivated
-Distinct from antisocial personality disorder (APD) though they have some similarities
oPsychopathy is a broader concept than APD, and encompasses an interpersonal/affective
component in addition to the behavioral component of APD
-Hare’s Psychopathy Checklist-Revised (PCL-R by Hare 1991, 2003)
o20 items that are rated on the basis of file information and an interview with the examinee
Malingering – the feigned production or exaggeration of psychological or physical symptoms to
achieve some external incentive
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