Sex offender risk assessment : consideration of human rights in community protection legislation

Vess, James 2008, Sex offender risk assessment : consideration of human rights in community protection legislation, Legal and criminological psychology, vol. 13, no. 2, pp. 245-256.

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Title Sex offender risk assessment : consideration of human rights in community protection legislation
Author(s) Vess, James
Journal name Legal and criminological psychology
Volume number 13
Issue number 2
Start page 245
End page 256
Publisher British Psychological Society
Place of publication Leicester, England
Publication date 2008-09
ISSN 1355-3259
Summary ObjectivesRisk assessments provided to judicial decision makers as a part of the current generation of legislation for protecting the public from sexual offenders can have a profound impact on the rights of individual offenders. This article will identify some of the human rights issues inherent in using the current assessment procedures to formulate and communicate risk as a forensic expert in cases involving civil commitment, preventive detention, extended supervision, or special conditions of parole. MethodBased on the current professional literature and applied experience in legal proceedings under community protection laws in the United States and New Zealand, potential threats to the rights of offenders are identified. Central to these considerations are issues of the accuracy of current risk assessment measures, communicating the findings of risk assessment appropriately to the court, and the availability of competent forensic mental health professionals in carrying out these functions. The role of the forensic expert is discussed in light of the competing demands of protecting individual human rights and community protection. ConclusionActuarial risk assessment represents the best practice for informing judicial decision makers in cases involving sex offenders, yet these measures currently demonstrate substantial limitations in predictive accuracy when applied to individual offenders. These limitations must be clearly articulated when reporting risk assessment findings. Sufficient risk assessment expertise should be available to provide a balanced application of community protection laws.
Language eng
Field of Research 170113 Social and Community Psychology
HERDC Research category C1.1 Refereed article in a scholarly journal
Copyright notice ©2008, The British Psychological Society
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Document type: Journal Article
Collections: Faculty of Health
School of Psychology
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