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NY: SORA – The human cost of junk science

Of the nearly 40,000 persons on New York’s sex offender registry, 9,679 are displayed on its public website as Level 3, a warning that he or she presents the maximum risk of committing a sex crime of maximum seriousness. 14,087 persons are displayed as Level 2, meaning they’re moderately likely to commit a moderately serious sex crime.

With so many Frankensteins at large, it’s a wonder anyone dares leave the house.

How does the State know these people are so dangerous? Because they’ve each had a SORA hearing where a judge added up the numbers on a “Risk Assessment Instrument” form (RAI) and classified them accordingly. Full Article

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  1. Good article with wide applicability

    This is a good article that could be used in any state and the country overall. Replace NY with CA, WA, TX, etc and it would be accurately applicable regardless.

    Liked the article on the SORA being punishment published on the same blog too.

  2. jeremy y.

    Hmmm… a “risk assessment instrument”? A three-level tier? Seems mighty similar to the tiered registry that many of us are cheering for in California.

    • Tobin's Tools 2.0

      Guessing from your comments in the other post, I don’t think that you are of the “many” that are cheering for the tiered registry bill to pass?

      Nonetheless, these “risk” assessment instruments — including the Static-99R — are simply too limited to be giving any credence in determining tier levels. This article gives the mistake of attributing “moderate” accuracy to the Static (as claimed by self-interested party Karl Hanson, of course).

      But what’s omitted is that most “studies” giving any accuracy to the Static have its very own self-interested “developers” (or at least one of them) as author(s) of said studies. And more troubling: most “studies” showing the Static’s accuracy are only examining the alleged accuracy for one to five-year periods. Where are the studies examining accuracy at 10 years? Or where are the studies examining accuracy greater than 10 years?

      When the “developers” did examine accuracy for a period greater than 10 years, they found that even “high-risk” sex offenders who do not reactivate within a 17 year period while free in the community are not ever likely to recidivate than anyone else. A fact conveniently omitted in the tiered registry bill being introduced here in California.

      Why use the Static scam to determine lifetime registration periods? Use it for probation or parole supervision levels. But in my opinion, using the Static to determine tier levels are completely inappropriate and WILL do harm to many people. The Static-99R is “junk science” because there is no way 10 questions can predict future behavior. Human behavior is too complex. The Static does not take CURRENT age into account (only “age at release” from incarceration), nor does it take offense-free period in the community into account when giving a dubious score to a person. It perversely gives higher scores to “non-contact offences” and fails to recognize any counseling and/or one taking responsibility for a crime.

      Also, the Static is based off of a small sample of “particularly violent” Canadian and UK offenders from the 1970s. How is using the Static to determine Tier 3 doing anyone “justice” or helping civil rights?

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