Skip to main content Accessibility help
×
Home

Risk assessment tools in criminal justice and forensic psychiatry: The need for better data

  • T. Douglas (a1), J. Pugh (a1), I. Singh (a1) (a2), J. Savulescu (a1) and S. Fazel (a2) (a3)...

Abstract

Violence risk assessment tools are increasingly used within criminal justice and forensic psychiatry, however there is little relevant, reliable and unbiased data regarding their predictive accuracy. We argue that such data are needed to (i) prevent excessive reliance on risk assessment scores, (ii) allow matching of different risk assessment tools to different contexts of application, (iii) protect against problematic forms of discrimination and stigmatisation, and (iv) ensure that contentious demographic variables are not prematurely removed from risk assessment tools.

  • View HTML
    • Send article to Kindle

      To send this article to your Kindle, first ensure no-reply@cambridge.org is added to your Approved Personal Document E-mail List under your Personal Document Settings on the Manage Your Content and Devices page of your Amazon account. Then enter the ‘name’ part of your Kindle email address below. Find out more about sending to your Kindle. Find out more about sending to your Kindle.

      Note you can select to send to either the @free.kindle.com or @kindle.com variations. ‘@free.kindle.com’ emails are free but can only be sent to your device when it is connected to wi-fi. ‘@kindle.com’ emails can be delivered even when you are not connected to wi-fi, but note that service fees apply.

      Find out more about the Kindle Personal Document Service.

      Risk assessment tools in criminal justice and forensic psychiatry: The need for better data
      Available formats
      ×

      Send article to Dropbox

      To send this article to your Dropbox account, please select one or more formats and confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your <service> account. Find out more about sending content to Dropbox.

      Risk assessment tools in criminal justice and forensic psychiatry: The need for better data
      Available formats
      ×

      Send article to Google Drive

      To send this article to your Google Drive account, please select one or more formats and confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your <service> account. Find out more about sending content to Google Drive.

      Risk assessment tools in criminal justice and forensic psychiatry: The need for better data
      Available formats
      ×

Copyright

This is an open access article under the CC BY license (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/).

Corresponding author

*Corresponding author at: Department of Psychiatry, Medical Sciences Division, University of Oxford, Warneford Hospital, Oxford OX3 7JX, United Kingdom. E-mail address:seena.fazel@psych.ox.ac.uk (S. Fazel).

References

Hide All
[1]Singh, J.P., Desmarais, S.L., Hurducas, C., Arbach-Lucioni, K., Condemarin, C., Dean, K.et al.International perspectives on the practical application of violence risk assessment: a global survey of 44 countries. Int J Forensic Mental Health 2014;13:193206.
[2]Eastman, N., Adshead, G., Fox, S., Latham, R., Whyte, S.Professional duties and personal integrity and conflicting ethical values. In: Forensic psychiatry Oxford University Press;2012.
[3]Appelbaum, P.S.Dangerous severe personality disorders: England's experiment in using psychiatry for public protection. Psychiatr Serv 2005;56(4):397399.
[4]General Medical Council (GMC). Good medical practice: guidance for doctors – the duties of a doctor. 2013 http://www.gmc-uk.org/guidance/good_medical_practice/duties_of_a_doctor.asp.
[5]Eastman, N.The ethics of clinical risk assessment and management: developing law and the role of mental health professionals. In: Gray, N., Laing, J., Noaks, L., Criminal justice, mental health and the politics of risk Cavendish Publishing;2002.
[6]Buchanan, A., Grounds, A.Forensic psychiatry and public protection. Br J Psychiatry 2011;198(6):420423.
[7]Gunn, J.Future directions for treatment in forensic psychiatry. Br J Psychiatry 2000;176(4):332338.
[8]Mullen, P.E.Forensic mental health. Br J Psychiatry 2000;176(4):307311.
[9]Gostin, L.O.Public health law: power, duty, restraint. University of California Press; 2001.
[10]Wilkinson, T.M.Contagious disease and self-defence. Res Publica 2007;13:339359.
[11]Savulescu, J.Future people, involuntary medical treatment in pregnancy and the duty of easy rescue. Utilitas 2007;19:120.
[12]Appelbaum, P.S.A theory of ethics for forensic psychiatry. J Am Acad Psychiatry Law 1997;25:233247.
[13]Fazel, S., Singh, J.P., Doll, H., Grann, M.Use of risk assessment instruments to predict violence and antisocial behaviour in 73 samples involving 24 827 people: systematic review and meta-analysis. BMJ 2012;345:e4692.
[14]Shepherd, S.M.Violence risk instruments may be culturally unsafe for use with indigenous patients. Australas Psychiatry 2016;24:565567.
[15]Shepherd, S.M., Lewis-Fernandez, R.Forensic risk assessment and cultural diversity – contemporary challenges and future directions. Psychol Public Policy Law 2016;22:427438.
[16]Parry, H.Rapist released halfway through sentence went on to attack three more while on parole including a schoolgirl who was raped in front of her boyfriend. Daily Mail 2015. http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-3131895/Rapist-released-halfway-sentence-went-attack-three-parole-including-two-schoolgirls-raped-boys-with.html.
[17]Shepherd, S.M., Sullivan, D.Covert and implicit influences on the interpretation of violence risk instruments. Psychiatry Psychol Law 2016. http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/13218719.2016.1197817.
[18]Siontis, G.C.M., Tzoulaki, I., Castaldi, P.J., Ioannidis, J.P.A.External validation of new risk prediction models is infrequent and reveals worse prognostic discrimination. J Clin Epidemiol 2015;68:2534.
[19]Siontis and collaborators found that only 16% of new prediction models are validated by different authors within five years of their first use, and when external validation of tools did occur, predictive accuracy was generally reduced, Siontis, G.C.M.et al.External validation of new risk prediction models is infrequent and reveals worse prognostic discrimination. J Clin Epidemiol 2015;68(1):2534.
[20]A recent Chinese review found that instruments developed in the West had significantly lower predictive accuracy when used in China compared to that reported for Western populations. SeeZhou, J., Witt, K., Xiang, Y., Zhu, X., Wang, X., Fazel, S.Violence risk assessment in psychiatric patients in China: a systematic review. Aust N Z J Psychiatry 2016;50:3345.
[21]Singh, J.P., Grann, M., Fazel, S.Authorship bias in violence risk assessment? A systematic review and meta-analysis. PLoS ONE 2013;8:e72484.
[22]Singh, J.P.Predictive validity performance indicators in violence risk assessment: a methodological primer. Behav Sci Law 2013;31:822.
[23]Walker, N.Dangerousness and mental disorder. R Inst Philos Suppl 1994;37:179190. http://dx.doi.org/10.1017/S1358246100010055 p. at 182.
[24]Sinnott-Armstrong, W.Neural lie detection in courts. In: Buzzi, E., Hyman, S.E., Raichle, M.E., Kanwisher, N., Phelps, E.A., Morse, S.J., et al. editors Using imaging to identify deceit: scientific and ethical questions American Academy of Arts and Sciences; 2009. 3539.
[25]Ryberg, J.Racial profiling and criminal justice. J Ethics 2010;15:7988.
[26]Lever, A.Why racial profiling is hard to justify: a response to Risse and Zeckhauser. Philos Public Affairs 2005;33:94110.
[27]Nadelhoffer, T., Bibas, S., Grafton, S., Kiehl, K.A., Mansfield, A., Sinnott-Armstrong, W.et al.Neuroprediction, violence, and the law: setting the stage. Neuroethics 2012;5:6799.
[28]Amodio, D.M., Devine, P.G.Stereotyping and evaluation in implicit race bias: evidence for independent constructs and unique effects on behavior. J Pers Soc Psychol 2006;91:652661.
[29]Lippert-Rasmussen, K.Born free and equal? A philosophical inquiry into the nature of discrimination. Oxford University Press;2013.336.
[30]Kahlenberg, R.D.The remedy: class, race, and affirmative action. Basic Books; 1997.386.
[31]Scanlon, T.Moral dimensions: permissibility, meaning. Blame: Belknap Press; 2008.247.
[32]Lippert-Rasmussen, K.Nothing personal: on statistical discrimination. J Polit Philos 2007;15:385403.
[33]Lippert-Rasmussen, K.“We are all different”: statistical discrimination and the right to be treated as an individual. J Ethics 2010;15:4759.
[34]Fazel, S., Chang, Z., Fanshawe, T., Långström, N., Lichtenstein, P., Larsson, H.et al.Prediction of violent reoffending on release from prison: derivation and external validation of a scalable tool. Lancet Psychiatry 2016;3(6):535543.
[35]Skeem, J.L., Lowenkamp, C.T.Risk, race, and recidivism: predictive bias and disparate impact. Soc Sci Res Netw 2016. http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2687339.
[36]Angwin, J., Larson, J., Mattu, S., Kirchner, L.Machine Bias: there's software used across the country to predict future criminals. And it's biased against blacks. ProPublica 2016 https://www.propublica.org/article/machine-bias-risk-assessments-in-criminal-sentencing. [accessed 02.12.16]
[37]Barry-Jester, A.M., Casselman, B., Goldstein, D.Should prison sentences be based on crimes that haven’t been committed yet?. FiveThirtyEight 2015 http://fivethirtyeight.com/features/prison-reform-risk-assessment/. [accessed 02.12.16]
[38]Monahan, J., Skeem, J.L.Risk assessment in criminal sentencing. Annu Rev Clin Psychol 2016;12:489513.

Keywords

Risk assessment tools in criminal justice and forensic psychiatry: The need for better data

  • T. Douglas (a1), J. Pugh (a1), I. Singh (a1) (a2), J. Savulescu (a1) and S. Fazel (a2) (a3)...

Metrics

Altmetric attention score

Full text views

Total number of HTML views: 0
Total number of PDF views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

Abstract views

Total abstract views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between <date>. This data will be updated every 24 hours.

Usage data cannot currently be displayed.

Risk assessment tools in criminal justice and forensic psychiatry: The need for better data

  • T. Douglas (a1), J. Pugh (a1), I. Singh (a1) (a2), J. Savulescu (a1) and S. Fazel (a2) (a3)...
Submit a response

Comments

No Comments have been published for this article.

×

Reply to: Submit a response


Your details


Conflicting interests

Do you have any conflicting interests? *