Evaluating Sex Offenders is the first and only "how to" book describing the complete sex offender civil commitment evaluation. Aimed at helping practitioners, clinicians, counselors, and parole officers assess risk and evaluate offenders who have been convicted of a sex crime, the text offers readers a step-by-step description of what examiners need to know, including information gathering, interviewing offenders, and writing reports. Chapter topics include: defining risk; data gathering; diagnostic issues; recidivism base rates; risk factor lists; actuarial scales; instrumentation (violent and sexual); the evaluation report; presenting in court; ethical issues.

Recidivism Base Rates

Recidivism base rates

Statistics: A group of numbers looking for an argument.

— Gerald F. Lieberman

What is a “recidivism base rate,” and why should I care about such a thing when doing a civil commitment evaluation? This chapter addresses underlying issues to the risk assessment portion of the civil commitment evaluation that are sometimes neglected or poorly understood—issues that actually matter a great deal toward both the conclusions we draw about a subject's recidivism risk and the degree of confidence we have surrounding that conclusion. Those issues fall under the rubric of base rates.

A base rate is simply the proportion of a designated population sharing a certain characteristic. The base rate within the U.S. human population of female members is reportedly just over half. ...

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