P1: FNN/FGL/FKQ/FFB P2: FNN
Sexual Abuse: A Journal of Research and Treatment [saj] PL101-169 March 14, 2000 9:37 Style ﬁle version Nov. 19th, 1999
Sexual Abuse: A Journal of Research and Treatment, Vol. 12, No. 2, 2000
An Actuarial Procedure for Assessing Risk
with Juvenile Sex Offenders
and Sue Righthand
Assessments of juvenile sexual offenders that are intended to aid in dispositional
decisions occur at a multitude of decision points within the juvenile justice system.
Despite the ubiquity of decisions that include considerations of risk, relatively
little empirical work has been done on the development and validation of a risk
assessment procedure for these young offenders. In this article, we discuss our
initial efforts in developing and validating an actuarial risk assessment protocol
for juvenile sex offenders using a sample of 96 adolescents that had been admitted,
treated, and discharged from the Joseph J. Peters Institute. We conclude with a
critical discussion of problems associated with evaluating risk in this population,
and of deﬁciencies and revision requirements in the present protocol.
KEY WORDS: juvenile sex offenders; adolescent; actuarial risk assessment; recidivism.
Sex offenders have been the group of dangerous (nonpsychotic) criminals
most subject either to special commitment statutes or to ad hoc discretionary
and dispositional decisions. Although these special statutes, by and large, have
focused onthe broad, heterogeneous group of adult sexualoffenders,there has been
increasing attention over the past decade to the dispositional problems posed by
juvenilesexoffenders.Indeed,the complexityandubiquity ofthe decision points in
the juvenile justice system are daunting. Assessments of juvenile sexual offenders
frequently are used to assist in various determinations, such as: (a) whether or
Justice Resource Institute, Bridgewater, MA.
Joseph J. Peters Institute, Philadelphia, PA.
Community Behavioral Health, Philadelphia, PA.
State Forensic Service, Augusta, ME.
To whom all correspondence should be addressed at Justice Resource Institute, 30 Administration
Road, Bridgewater, MA 02324.
2000 Plenum Publishing Corporation