It would be humorous if the real-world consequences were not so grave. Every year, at a jam-packed session of the annual conference of the Association for the Treatment of Sexual Abusers (ATSA), the developers of the Static-99 family of actuarial risk assessment tools roll out yet a new methodology to replace the old.
This year, they announced that they are scrapping two of three sets of “non-routine” comparison norms that they introduced at an ATSA conference just four years ago. Stay tuned, they told their rapt audience, for further instructions on how to choose between the two remaining sets of norms.
To many, this might sound dry and technical. But in the courtroom trenches, sexually violent predator cases often hinge on an evaluator’s choice of a comparison group. Should the offender be compared with the full population of convicted sex offenders? Or a subset labeled “high risk/needs” that offended at a rate more than 3.5 times higher than the more representative group (21 percent versus 6 percent after five years)? Full Article