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Sexual Offender: A classification of high risk by professional judgment methods does not imply any particular probability of repeat sexual offending

In the past 25 years, legislation has been passed in Western countries allowing for the indeterminate imprisonment or institutionalization of offenders convicted of serious sexual offenses. Each of these statutes requires that the offender in question poses a danger to others, a criterion that may be determined with the aid of a structured risk assessment instrument (SRAI).

Despite the widespread use of structured risk assessment instruments in the prediction of repeat sexual offending, it is not known how stable rates of sexual recidivism are in people classed as high risk. Dr. Jay P. Singh and colleagues (University of South Florida/USA) investigated the extent and sources of variation in rates of sexual recidivism in sex offenders found to be high risk by structured risk assessment instruments.
The research found: The rate of sexual recidivism in individuals classified as high risk by structured risk assessment instruments varies systematically. Taken alone, a classification of high risk, whether generated by actuarial or structured professional judgment methods, does not imply any particular probability of repeat sexual offending.

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