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Comparison of Actuarial-Based Assessment vs Offense-Based Assessments for Registered Sex Offenders  

Author:  Shannon DaSilva-Pereira.; Karen J. Terry, Ph.D..

Source: Volume 11, Number 01, December/January 2010 , pp.2-7(6)

Sex Offender Law Report

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This study analyzes the differences in designated risk level of registered sex offenders based upon two types of risk assessment methods: an actuarial system and an offense-based system. This research is important because of the impending implementation of the Adam Walsh Act, which requires that all states adopt a risk assessment system based upon the offenses committed rather than using an assessment of actuarial risk. This study demonstrates that using offense-based assessments will result in more offenders being assessed into the highest risk category of registered offenders (Tier 3). In turn, this is likely to lead to a false sense to security, weak deterrent effect, and unnecessary punititve measures that may actually adversely affect the intending goal of reducing recidivism. Moreover, registration systems relying on offense-based rather than actuarial-based approaches are more likely to fail to identify those individuals most likely to poste a threat to children.


Affiliations:  1: John Jay College of Criminal Justice; 2: John Jay College of Criminal Justice.

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