Female Sex Offender Risk Assessment
Risk Assessment for a Sex Offender and the Reasons for the Practice
Risk assessment can be defined as a process through which one estimates the chances or probability of an offender repeating his or her criminal conduct (Hanson, 2009). The evaluation of the likelihood of an offender going back to his ways is very crucial to both the policymakers and clinicians. When it comes to a female sex offender risk assessment, the success and potency of policies and rules regarding the management and control of female sex offenders is dependent on the aptness and capability of criminal justice experts to precisely and correctly distinct and categorize sexual offenders as per their likelihood of recidivism.
Why Risk Assessment Measures are Widely Used
Risk assessment for female sexual offenders is used to assist in making important decisions in sentencing and criminal verdicts and rulings; deciding which treatment options should be adopted, the appropriate setting and the modal quality; and the registration of the sex offender (Griffin et al., 2008).
Risk Assessment Methods
There are several methods and ways through which risk assessment for female sex offenders can be carried out. These approaches can be classified in five major ways. The first one is the unguided criminal judgment, and it is also referred to as the unstructured method. In this approach, the evaluator goes through all the case studies, studying them and using his work experience in coming up with a risk estimate. The evaluator does not depend on any risk factor or fundamental and intrinsic hypothesis to expedite the process. The second technique is known as the guided clinical judgment, and it is also known as the structured technique. To come up with a risk estimate, the evaluator starts with a determinate and fixed number of factors which are connected and linked to the risk; these factors are decided upon using personal work experience and intrinsic hypotheses instead of sense and heuristic firsthand observation or experience. The third method is the research guided clinical judgment. In this approach, the evaluator commences with some factors which are seen to be connected to the risk; thus in the risk assessment process, these risks factors are given priority. Other ways include a simple actuarial approach and adjusted actuarial approach (Hanson, 2009).
Risk Assessment Instruments and Why a Sex Offender is Compared to Other Sex Offenders When Conducting a Sex Offender Risk Assessment
There are several instruments which are used in assessing and evaluating the chances of sexual recidivism. Some of the most popular and recognized instruments include the Static-99, the SVR-20 approach, the Static-2002 approach, the Risk Matrix-2000 and the MnSOST-R approach. However, some experts in the risk assessment field have pointed out that to enhance the accuracy and effectiveness of risk assessment approaches it is imperative to include some dynamic risk factors when it comes to the evaluation instruments. One of the factors is the age of the offender when the assessment is being conducted. Research has indicated that there is an inverse relationship that exists between the criminal offender and the age such that with an increase in age, he rate of criminal offending does reduce considerably. Because of this observation, some changes have been made on the Static 99 and the Static 2002 with better versions developed (Static 99R and Static 2002R) which are more effective and efficient in accounting for the effect and influence of the age of the offender when the assessment is being carried out. There are some instruments which have been invented recently, and they have integrated and assimilated several dynamic factors. Such instruments include the Acute 2007, the SRA FV (Forensic Version of the Structured Risk Assessment) method and the Stable 2007 (Oliver et al., 2007).
Female sex offender management practices across the criminal justice spectrum follow a series of steps. First and foremost, there is the case processing where the arrest and investigation, prosecution, defense, sentencing and disposition take place. The second stage is corrections where corrections programming are established and treatment starts. The third stage is reentry and tracking. Supervision, treatment, registration and community notification happen at this stage. The final step is community support, which involves prevention and education, victim services and outreach and community involvement (Thornton and Knight, 2009).
Risk Assessment Measures for Female Sex Offenders
Of late, there has been the use of third generation risk assessment instruments, and one of the main advantages of these instruments is that they can provide and offer targets for the measures of intervention. Such instruments include the Level of Service and Case Management Inventory. This one offers an overview of the evaluation of the risks and requirements for people involved in criminal justice. Communication and conveying of findings after carrying out the risk assessment is very crucial in the risk assessment of sex offenders. As of now, the most commonly used are nominal descriptors of risk, categorized as either low, moderate or high (Hanson, 2009).
There are a set of guidelines that are recommended when it comes to the assessment process. Some of these guidelines include risk factors that are assessed, evaluated, should have and a comprehensible nature; correct and accurate estimates and probabilities of recidivism likelihood should be provided; all factors have to be considered before the findings are forwarded; long-term short-term variations in risk should be analyzed and put into consideration; protective factors together with risk factors have to be inculcated; the victim and the offender have to be included in the assessment process and the assessment techniques used should be easy to use and implement.
Griffin, H.L., Beech, A., Print, B., Bradshaw, H., & Quale, J. (2008). The development
and initial testing of the AIM2 framework to assess risk and strengths in young people who sexually offend. Journal of Sexual Aggression, 14, 211225.
Hanson, R.K. (2009). The psychological assessment of risk for crime and violence. Canadian Psychology, 50, 172182.
Oliver, M.E., Wong, S.C.P., Nicholaichuk, T., & Gordon, A. (2007). The validity and reliability of the Violence Risk ScaleSex Offender Version: Assessing sex offender risk and evaluating therapeutic change. Psychological Assessment, 19, 318329.
Thornton, D., & Knight, R. (2009). Using SRA Need domains based on structured judgment to revise relative risk assessments based on Static-2002 and RiskMatrix 2000. Presentation at the 28th Annual Research and Treatment Conference of the Association for the Treatment of Sexual Abusers, Dallas, TX.
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