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Actuarial prediction of violent recidivism in mentally disordered offenders

Snowden, Robert Jefferson, Gray, Nicola Susan, Taylor, John and MacCulloch, M. J. 2007. Actuarial prediction of violent recidivism in mentally disordered offenders. Psychological Medicine 37 (11) , pp. 1539-1549. 10.1017/S0033291707000876

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Background Actuarial instruments may be useful in predicting long-term violence in mentally disordered patients. We compared two instruments that differ in terms of what they are designed to predict (general versus violent recividism) and the inclusion of stable mental health variables. Method A large sample of mentally disordered patients were scored on two risk assessment instruments, the Violence Risk Appraisal Guide (VRAG) and the Offender Group Reconviction Scale (OGRS), based on information at the point of discharge. Their criminal histories for at least 2 years following discharge were obtained from official records. Results Both instruments were good predictors of both violent and general offending. Over shorter periods (<1 year) the VRAG had very good predictive validities for both types of offences [areas under the receiver operating characteristic curves (AUCs) >0·85], which were significantly better than the OGRS. For longer follow-up periods the instruments had approximately equal prediction accuracy. However, both instruments predicted far more offences than were in fact recorded. Conclusions The VRAG is a very good predictor of future violence in the UK sample. The OGRS may also be of value as it can be completed quickly and without the need for mental health variables. Caution is needed, however, as both instruments appeared to over-predict the levels of reconvictions in this sample.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: Psychology
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology
H Social Sciences > HV Social pathology. Social and public welfare
Additional Information: Pdf uploaded in accordance with publisher's policy at (accessed 25/02/2014).
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
ISSN: 0033-2917
Date of First Compliant Deposit: 30 March 2016
Last Modified: 04 Jun 2017 04:06

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