Their analysis, making use of path analytic and similar statistical techniques, demonstrates well the richness that can emerge when one moves away from looking at single, static variables. The most crucial difficulty arises from the fact that actuarial prediction is about groups, and unless we are talking about a high-frequency behaviour it can tell us little about individuals.
But what does this mean other than that young, single, impulsive, violent men, particularly when they drink, tend to behave in impulsive and violent ways? Because it is state rather than trait that appears to be the most relevant in terms of reoffending, factors that tend to be invisible to the actuaries may be crucially important to clinicians in determining when intervention is necessary.
In the Quinsey et al. First, it is wholly empirically driven and as such gives no reason to believe that findings from one population can be reoffending rate of sex offenders in Maple Ridzhruen to another. Library Sexual Offence Recidivism:.
But both these objections are practical ones that can be overcome. Overall, identification of those at low risk and those at exceptionally high risk of reoffending is good, although prediction of the future offending behaviour of individuals in between is much less satisfactory.
This will require movement away from a blind reliance on variables for their own sake to a fuller understanding of how these variables relate to the phenomenon of sexual offending.
This is often presented as a profound insight, but in reality this variable does little more than distinguish a group of men who have demonstrated that they are prepared to engage in particular behaviours. Even when one looks at studies of apparently higher risk offenders, reoffence rates remain relatively low.
This is partly because of difficulties in assessment, but also because by their very nature they change over time, making quantification difficult. Nevertheless, supporters of actuarial approaches to the prediction of recidivism would argue that reoffending rate of sex offenders in Maple Ridzhruen problem is one of collecting enough of the right variables to plug into an algorithm that will generate a reliable desk-top prediction of risk of sexual reoffending.
These factors may also be at work in sexual offenders, explaining the findings of Thornton and Travers and Harris, Rice and Quinseydescribed above in relation to violent sex offenders. For example, Hanson, Steffy and Gauthier found that increased recidivism amongst child molesters was associated with never having been married and having previous sex offences, whilst in rapists Thornton and Travers reported that reoffending related to a combination of a current or past conviction for violence, four or more previous convictions of any sort, and age under 30 at the time of their sentences.
We would also, however, incorrectly decide that i. Book Store. Bulletin of the American Academy of Psychiatry and the Law 22, Sex offenders are not simply bundles of variables. The tension between public perception of sex offenders representing a high recidivism risk and the evident reality of statistics that demonstrate relatively low levels of sexual reoffending is in part influenced by a confusion between frequency and severity of reoffending, in part by the higher risk associated with some offenders, and in part by the nature of sex offending itself where any reoffence may be seen as unacceptable.