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The Field Validity of Static-99/R Sex Offender Risk Assessment Tool in California

Policies that differentially apply to sexual offenders at different risk levels require defensible procedures for classifying offenders into risk categories. The current study examines the reliability and validity of Static-99 and Static-99R sexual offender risk assessment tools as implemented in the State of California. California is a valuable case study because it is a large jurisdiction that has devoted considerable resources to the implementation of risk tools. Download (pdf)

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  1. td777

    The validity should be questioned, especially since the state lists blatantly false information about the Static-99 on the Megan’s Law website. My wife checks it regularly. It has me as a Level 3 risk, stating this risk is a result of a Static-99 administered in 2010. However, not only was the Static-99 not administered in 2010, I have never taken this for the state in any year. The state is randomly putting this information on the website and assigning risk levels and blatantly lying to the public about risk of registrants.

    • Q

      td777

      I think the whole thing should be scrapped because it’s at odds with facts. It implies that registrants are a threat, which the facts prove any threat is minuscule. And these Keystone cop type officials couldn’t predict the future under any circumstances; which this test implies they can do. The mere fact they are lying and saying you were given the test says much of the integrity of the test it’s self and the people that give the test. Sounds like a job for an attorney. This test is junk science.

    • George

      I don’t know for sure, but I think you don’t take these tests. They are based on known history, marriage, prior offenses, and current offense, etc. You can google and find the actual 10 or so questions. However, the study does find too wide of a discrepancy between scorers. So a different scorer might find a different score. If you can afford a lawyer maybe you can get an independent score by a different expert.

      The validity of all these risk tools should still be questioned though, and Calif0ornia does not need this risk assessment tool to score what the actual recidivism rate is. The recidivism rate is independent the scores.

      “Overall, 48.4% (230/475) of offenders were
      charged with any offense, of which 4.8% (23/
      475) were charged with a sexual offense during
      the fixed 5-year follow-up period. Of the 23
      sexual recidivists, 15 were charged with any
      contact sexual offenses and 8 were charged with
      only noncontact sexual offenses.”

      That means that 15 out of the 475 were charged with a new contact offense. That is a recidivism rate of 3.1578947368421053% for contact offenses and (8) 1.6842105263157894% for non-contact offense. This is far, far different than the public perception. Also note that a “charge” is not a conviction. So we can’t be sure beyond a reasonable doubt what the actual offense was.

      This may explain why CASOMB agrees with a change of the registry and it doesn’t need the risk assessment tool to accomplish that. Of course those making a living off of the tool want to keep it active and CASOMB using the tool as a buffer may make sense politically.

      • td777

        Actually, the Static-99 itself is a series of questions, and supposedly how you answer the questions reflects how much of a risk you are. I have taken it twice, once in preparation for my initial defense and the second time for private counseling I did while on probation, both of which were in 2007 and both of which showed me as a very low risk. The Megan’s law site claims I did it also in 2010 and that the risk assessment is moderate. Both of those, when I took it and the results of the assessment, are blatant lies. As I said, I have never taken the Static-99 administered by the state, not in 2010 and not in any year.

        • Q

          The test doesn’t work.The test doesn’t do what they want. They have to lie to make it conform to their wishes. The test is BS junk science and it sucks you ever had to participate in this farce. In case no one has ever noticed; we human beings can’t predict the future like this test implies and these wast of time and money people think. The main problem with this test, aside from not being able to predict the future, is that it doesn’t take into account that people change. People and their personalities are not static. Change is a universal law that everything is subject to; especially people.

  2. Brubaker

    Exactly…ttd777 if that’s the case of them listing level for registered then they are in the wrong …resentence…double jeopardy …due process violation ..lifetime parole is what they are doing…put that in the study and see how much static you get.

    • Brubaker

      No jury decided the level or degree of alleged accusation …fair trial / due process demands it…they are framing level far after the fact a jury should have been allowed to decide…furthermore parole ends 3 or some 5 years when dept corrections assigns risk score upon parole…….PAROLE.

    • td777

      You’re saying what I have for years now. The life sentence of registration in itself is a form of lifetime parole. We may have fewer restrictions than what we had on probation or parole, but we still have unnecessary restrictions for the rest of our lives. No other group has this, and no other group has recidivism rates as low as we have after completing probation or parole. The bottom line is that having registration is nothing more than a propaganda tool politicians use for political gain and the media use to sensationalize stories.

  3. mch

    “Moderate success, may or may not work…right out of this paper! There’s no convincing me that a 10 question test is a valid predictor of anything. These people are messing with lives and applying pseudo-scientific methods that just aren’t valid (at least to me).
    So what about the probation officer that scores it wrong, or decides your answer is not what he wanted to see? The chance of being in a lower tier, if it ever happens in California, is completely gone. More arbitrary decisions based on the mindset and emotions of the test administrator or test scorer. Total B.S.
    Can someone convince me otherwise? The brain trusts that come up with this crap need to develop a test that is 100% accurate all of the time.

  4. Ron Lake County, CA

    My CP felony conviction was in 2001. Sentence was 4 months at minimum security County time. Went to the court’s Dr. for an intensive evaluation that took over 2/3 hours of live tests and interview. I was deemed low risk. No STATIC-99 offered or taken. Is this a good thing or bad thing for me? Will I ever have to take the STATIC-99 test?

    • td777

      Well, be careful and have someone watch the Megan’s Law website for you. You may have never taken the Static-99, but that won’t stop the state from claiming you have.

      • Ron Lake County, CA

        Has a registered citizen ever been convicted for using the state Megan’s law website?

        • td777

          Not that I’ve ever personally heard about, but I’d never take that chance. My wife checks it regularly to see if they’ve added anything else about me. That’s how I know about the site saying what it does about the Static-99.

        • George

          Yes. He was looking for a date. I’d post the link but there is a huge picture of him in the article.

          “In what is considered to the first case of its kind in California, ______, 35, of Cupertino was charged Thursday with one misdemeanor count of illegally accessing the database as a registered sex offender.”

          Bet they would have a hellva time trying to get a conviction if it was for legal research.

        • Tired of hiding

          Hell, just go to your local coffee shop and use their wifi to check it.

          It’s no BFD deal and you should do it now and then to assure accurate information! You have every right to know what misinformation they might be putting up for the world to see (and some crazy who kills RSOs).

          It is a proven fact that these useless registry lists are full of inconsistencies and errors!

        • watching

          YES!!
          Has a registered citizen ever been convicted for using the state Megan’s law website?

          ill find the link later

  5. Avig

    In the concluding pages the authors endorse a tiered system for registration, one in which low risk offenders would not register after ten years. That is one of the good results of this Static99 testing and I hope the state legislature is listening.

  6. JC

    From my experience recently with the court and probation systems in CA, the Static-99 and Static-99R are not “taken”. Rather they are an assessment the courts and probation departments use internally in classifying offender risk. The assessment looks at a number of variables from offenders personal life (age, relationships, etc.) as well as circumstances of offense (age of victim, sex of victim, violent, etc.) and assigns 0 or 1 to each variable. The total “score” is then determined and risk level is assigned based on the range it falls in (i.e. 0-3 low, 4-6 mid, 7-10 high).

    As time goes on and circumstances change, your score can be revised (favorably).

  7. Tim

    This is a criminal profiling tool, not a test of recidivism. No one has done the study yet that says this causes a person to commit a sex crime and thus does not. They are asking for a lot of trouble by pegging people into risk categories based on statistics which don’t accurately represent cause and effect. They represent rather generalized trends and maybe should be used for educational and therapeutic purposes only. Some possible lawsuits here: someone put on the registry for life, while a person with the same background, but who is older gets 10 years? Oh, and I like the part about the tool being more accurate for Europeans than some other groups. Statistics can be manufactured for any number of characteristics. One may ask why not score based on national origin or gender or race? Used as a formula for who gets restrictions placed upon them and who doesnt this becomes a tool for systematic discrimination.

  8. Bluewall

    Soo umm that Zero is gone and now is a blank in the area…. wtf

  9. B

    I want to be safe…safe from gang members, drunk drivers, burglars and armed robbers. I want a Static99 done on all these offenders. See what those numbers are and then lets apply some “regulations” to them.

  10. StillBill

    A little clarification: The Static-99 is not a test to be given or taken. It is an evaluation tool that is scored by a “scorer”. Your presence or cooperation are not required at all because the answers to its 10 question are (theoretically) issues of fact that can be found through the examination of an individual’s criminal record. It is called “Static” because the answers to its 10 questions are (again, theoretically) not subject to variance or interpretation. They are what they are. There is but one correct score and that score should be consistently agreed upon by trained scorers.

    The preceding is, of course, the way things are supposed to be in some fairyland ideal world. The uncertainty of that world’s existence is the very raison d’etre of this study. It’s a self serving gesture by which this learned group of professionals can convince themselves to “believe” that their fairyland is just around the corner and still maintain their dignified self-respect. But I think we’ll see many more such studies, because deep down inside they still worry that their “leap of faith” is but a blind jump into some craggy, rock bottomed pit.
    If the Static-99 is, in fact, static and based on unchanging, unalterable facts, why is an 80 page manual required to show how 10 questions should be answered? Would you like to be a scorer yourself? Check out the following and go to work:

    http://www.static99.org/pdfdocs/static-99-coding-rules_e.pdf

    And what are they doing about those of us heinous CP possessors and others who are specifically excluded from the population for which, by its own coding rules, the Static-99 can be used? I quote from page 5 of the above linked document:

    “This instrument is not recommended for females, young offenders (those having an age of less than 18 years at time of release) or for offenders who have only been convicted of prostitution related offences, pimping, public toileting (sex in public locations with consenting adults) or possession of pornography/indecent materials…”

  11. Chris

    @george.

    I took it once during the presenctence probation report, and after sentenceing with my treatment provider.

    So yeah people do take it.

    Scored low on both.

  12. mch

    All any of us ask for is a 100% accurate tool for evaluating risk. This “tool” should be based solely on facts, not suppositions or educated guesses. This tool should also have a huge cross section of samples, not just a few hundred. Ten questions answered by someone else in your absence? That’s insane! Piss probation off and you’ll be a high risk I’ll bet. How can the “scorers” know your heart? How can they see the changes? Let this process involve witnesses that have seen the change in one’s heart and mind.

    Static 99R: It’s a blind man in a dark basement, looking for a black cat that was never there.

    • fedup

      Yeah… and when they perfect that crystal ball I want a copy of it so I can make a fortune in the stock market or know when to put all my money on red in Vegas….

      There is NO way to accurately predict from a group, be it hundreds or millions, what a person will do in the future. And I find the concept of “us” very much objectionable. I have absolutely nothing in common with the person who murdered Megan Kanka or Jessica Lunsford, or who kidnapped Jaycee Dugard. Nothing! Maybe a traffic ticket, but that is it.

      I vehemently object to the concept of punishing Person A for something Person B does, has done, or best of all, MIGHT do!

    • Margaret Moon

      I don’t believe there now exists, or ever will, a “100% accurate tool” to determine future risk. You are correct that no one can “know your heart.” And all scoring is done by a human with “filters,” prejudices, preferences, likes and dislikes. Therefore all scoring is subjective. If your examiner dislikes blue-eyed, black-haired, short men, you may be in serious trouble!

  13. Neil B Fisher

    We are talking the Static 99 test and exam. According to some of the most trained and experienced professionals in this field of study The facts are this. The static 99 has a major flaw it has the ability of giving many a false postives But, they all do agree to the exact same thing, The Static 99 can and does show without a doubt what offenders are the very lest to commit a violent sex act. But that is not what is wanted is it? They are not concerned with which offenders will not commit a sex act they are concernend with which offenders will!. So my thoughts are this, why don’t they use the test and exam in showing and helping with getting the state’s lawmakers the needed feeling of security with relations to making it a perminate law of allowing for a petition of Certification of Rehabilitation for Specific low level, low threat sex offences such as the PC 288.(a). One thing is that thoes persons who are making a living in the use of the static 99 would still be making money in its use and would push just as hard showing its ability to show who is less likley to commit a sex crime. But its just a thought and a suggestion.

  14. mch

    I think that these brain-trusts that developed the Static-99 and 99R should also develop one called the Static-99 for Law Enforcement since law enforcement officers commit far more sex offenses than do registered citizens!

  15. David A.

    Static 99 & Static 99R are not accurate. No study is able to replicate even “modest accuracy” (as wrongfully claimed by the California Sex Offender Management Board [CASOMB] and the CA Department of Justice). It is described by its own “developers” as wildly unstable. Fact & common sense dictate that human behavior cannot be predicted with 10 unscientific “risk factors,” derived from mostly CANADIAN violent offenders from the 1970, and applied to American offenders (even the non-violent ones) in 2016. Static 99 accuracy and the top secret data behind it (the scam artists ‘developers’ behind it call it a “trade secret”) must be questioned!

  16. Independent Dave

    Static 99 accuracy is only 29 percent. A random guess is 50/50. What’s most troubling is that the California Sex Offender Management Board (CASOMB) describes the Static-99R as “very accurate.” These so called psychological “treatment” experts, law enforcement, and politicians pitch — in late-night infomercial manner — that people labeled high risk sex offender (HRSO) must be treated with harsher penalties (as we see with the fictitious tiered registry — which will require lifetime registration for HRSO labeled people, regardless to underlying offense). It all sounds good; but the benefit is limited only to its superficial label. Unbeknownst to the public, the HRSO label relies on the Static 99 scam. A scam sold by the same people milking the CalPERS pension system and profiting from shady CDCR ‘treatment’ contracts. Happy Independence Day!

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