F. S. Berlin, N. W. Galbreath, B. Geary, and G. McGlone (this issue) have raised some important questions regarding the use of actuarial risk assessment instruments in sex offender civil commitment proceedings, also known as sexually violent predator or SVP proceedings. Their primary point is that interpreting the findings of existing actuarial risk assessment instruments is a tricky business because it is not certain whether the extent to which probability estimates derived from group data can be applied to individual cases. I agree completely with Berlin et al. on this point, but disagree with them concerning the extent to which probability estimates—and, therefore, actuarial instruments—are legally relevant in SVP proceedings. I outline some potential problems with respect to the legal admissibility of actuarial instruments, including their legal relevance.
Sexual Abuse: A Journal of Research and Treatment – Springer Journals
Published: Sep 29, 2004
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