Sexual Abuse: A Journal of Research and Treatment [saj] pp916-sebu-469148 July 22, 2003 19:50 Style ﬁle version Nov 28th, 2002
Sexual Abuse: A Journal of Research and Treatment, Vol. 15, No. 4, October 2003 (
The Use of Actuarials at Civil Commitment
Hearings to Predict the Likelihood
of Future Sexual Violence
Fred S. Berlin,
Nathan W. Galbreath,
and Gerard McGlone
Some have argued that actuarial methods such as the RRASOR, the MNSOST-
R, and the Static-99, can outperform clinical judgments when utilized at a civil
commitment hearing to make a prediction. Although actuarial data can be used
to identify a group of persons to be considered for possible civil commitment,
at present it cannot be used to accurately predict the likelihood of future acts of
sexual violence with respect to any speciﬁc individual within such a group. For that
reason, it might be best to restrict the use of actuarial data to the initial screening
process, rather than introducing it at the commitment hearing itself.
KEY WORDS: actuarials; RRASOR; MNSOST-R; Static-99; sexual-predator; civil-committment.
The civil commitment of so-called “sexually violent predators” requires that
a prediction be made regarding the likelihood that a given individual will engage
in future acts of “sexual violence.” In an effort to make any such prediction as
accurate as possible, a variety of actuarial methods have been proposed.
Utilizin an actuarial method to make a prediction involves documenting the
existence of a statistical correlation between the presence of certain “risk factors”
and a particular outcome. For example, when setting premium costs, a medical
insurance company needs to have some sense of which groups of individuals are
likely to be at heightened risk of having a heart attack in the future. A group that
The Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, Baltimore, Maryland.
To whom correspondence should be addressed at The Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral
Sciences at The Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, 104 East Biddle Street, Baltimore,
Maryland 21202; e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Department of Medical and Clinical Psychology, Uniformed Services University of Health Sciences
(Any opinions expressed do not reﬂect the policy of the Department of Defense, or of the U.S.
Ainforce, but are those of the authors.)
2003 Plenum Publishing Corporation