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General News

Ever have Your Fortune Told.

Human beings have the habit of wanting somebody to be omniscient In powers to predict the future. When you think of a fortuneteller you think of a Gypsy type woman in a dark room with a turbine on her head in front of a crystal ball. We know in our hearts that these people are charlatans, whether they use a crystal ball, tarot cards, numerology or our astrological signs.

Why then should we put any more faith into forensic psychologists who disregard the limits of science by overstating the accuracy of risk assessments and inventing pretextual disorders to justify preventive detention. Even claiming to have same truth telling powers regarding future dangerousness based on unsubstantiated allegations. Full Op-Ed Piece

Join the discussion

  1. td777

    How about those of us whose fortune was told without us even being present to hear it? There is a Static-99 assessment supposedly taken by me in 2010 according to the Megan’s Law website(thanks to my wife letting me know this) and I not only didn’t take it in 2010, I’ve never even taken one administered by the state!

  2. StillBill

    Td777, allow me to correct a common misconception about the Static-99 and hopefully relieve a bit of your frustration on this issue: The Static-99 is not a “test” that is “taken by” or “administered to” an individual. The Static-99 is an assessment tool by which an individual is scored based on questions that can be answered by examining factual items in the individual’s personal and criminal history. The reason it’s called “Static” is that the answers to the questions are theoretically static, unchanging, unalterable facts as they exist at some moment in time.
    The presence of the individual or even the individual’s knowledge that he/she is being assessed is not at all required as long as the assessor/scorer has access to the information required to answer the questions. This is a major reason the Static-99 has been so often selected as the sex offender assessment tool of choice: nothing more than reading the record is required to score most anyone – no personal evaluation, no transport of the subject, no travel by the scorer, no face to face time, no special education except for a few hours class by the scorer. Theoretically, your score on the Static-99 – and most everyone else’s – can be accurately produced by some clerk locked in a windowless room somewhere in Sacramento who had just returned from the “Static-99 Scoring Class”. And who knows, maybe it was.
    You can learn a lot more about the Static 99, direct from the horse’s mouth, at http://www.static99.org/
    Of particular interest, see the actual questions asked at http://www.static99.org/pdfdocs/static-99-coding-rules_e71.pdf
    And the rules for answering those questions at http://www.static99.org/pdfdocs/static-99-coding-rules_e.pdf

    • ab

      Another thing to be aware of is that the static 99 and the other popular evaluation are only meant for hands on offenses. Anyone without a hands on offense should not ever be evaluated by the static 99, infact I believe it says so right on the assessment or at least on the directions for scoring it.

  3. steve

    Question 5 has always confused me. If you read the rules it says “do not count the index offense” On question 6 below, in parenthesis it says “exclude index offense”. Why isn’t that in parenthesis for question 5?

    • StillBill

      I think this is just some internal grammatical inconsistency/error. It’s pretty clear from the coding instructions that the index offense is not to be included in scoring either Question 5 or Question 6. I think the reasoning goes something like: because the Index Offense is the “current” offense, by definition it cannot be considered a “prior” offense. Now is now and then is then and never the twain shall meet.
      What’s most frightening is the power of Question 5 – the only question that can result in a score greater than 1. The highest possible Static-99 score is 12 for the most egregious sex offender possible – a score which is never even mentioned as a possibility in the Static-99 literature – and Question 5 alone would account for 25% of that score. In reality, I suspect that Question 5 often accounts for 30 to 60% of the final score. And a Question 5 high score of “3” could be had by way of CHARGES ONLY WITHOUT A SINGLE CONVICTION! Something is amiss here.
      I too have a specific question regarding to whom the Static-99 is applicable. But I’m going to post that question in the October General Comments section after I get some further information and take some time to formulate it correctly and succinctly.

  4. mike

    The title reminds me of an episode of Oz that said that the only real fortune tellers are judges. What the judge says will be is the only thing that is certain to happen

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