What are the strengths and weaknesses of current risk assessment practices?

 

  1. Please answer the 3 objectives below in a minimum of 300 words and include references in APA format.
  2. Reply to the two discussions below.  The discussions are other students’ reply to the 3 objectives below.   You can use their discussions as ideas to generate answers for the 3 objectives.

Please let me know if you have any questions.  Thanks!

  1. What are the strengths and weaknesses of current risk assessment practices? When writing your response, focus on tests designed to assess risk and dangerousness.
  2. How can you utilize or build upon the strengths of current risk assessment practices in forensic psychology? How can you account for the weaknesses of current risk assessment practices in forensic psychology? Provide examples and rationales.
  3. Which term do you prefer, “prediction of risk” or “assessment of risk”? State your reasons for your opinion.

Student discussion 1

Risk Assessment Practices

What are the strengths and weaknesses of current risk assessment practices? When writing your response, focus on tests designed to assess risk and dangerousness.

The strength of the risk assessment tools is that they provide an accurate assessment of the risk factors that might affect the behavior in the future (Bartol & Bartol, 2008). In addition, using previous behavior, personality traits and familial history are factors that the most common risk factors assessed and this information can be obtained fairly easily.

Bartol & Bartol (2006) stated that current risk assessment tools use actuarial data, with weaknesses such as “focus[ing] on small number of factors…, are passive predictors, focusing primarily on relatively static variables…, may include risk factors that are unacceptable on legal grounds…, have been developed to predict a specific outcome over a specific period of time in a specific population…, have a restricted definition of violence risk…” (Bartol & Bartol, 2006, p.146). Another weakness of risk assessment tools is that they almost exclusively use PCL-R (Hare Psychopathy Checklist-Revised).

How can you utilize or build upon the strengths of current risk assessment practices in forensic psychology? How can you account for the weaknesses of current risk assessment practices in forensic psychology? Provide examples and rationales.

“The MacArthur Network research project… the goals were..: (1) to improve the validity of clinical assessment risk, (2) to improve the effectiveness of clinical risk assessment, and (3) to provide useful information for reforming mental health policy. The project resulted in the development of the Multiple Iterative Classification Tree, a means of assessing the likelihood that a mentally disordered individual will engage in future aggressive behavior” (Bartol & Bartol, 2008, p.275).

Which term do you prefer, “prediction of risk” or “assessment of risk”? State your reasons for your opinion.

The difference between the “prediction of risk” and “assessment of risk” is that the “prediction” implies that they can provide a prediction of whether or not a person will be violent again. “Assessment” utilizes past and present behavior to analyze the possibility of inappropriate behavior (Bartol & Bartol, 2006). I prefer the “assessment of risk” because it not only provides the assessment of the level or risk, but also provides risk factors that affect the level of risk and suggestions on how to lower the risk (Bartol & Bartol, 2006).

References

Bartol, A. M., Bartol C.A. (2006). Introduction to Forensic Psychology. Research and Application. Second Edition. Los Angeles: Sage Publications. ISBN: 978-1-4129-5830-1.

Bartol, C.R. & Bartol A.M. (2008). Criminal behavior. A psychosocial approach [Eighth edition]. New Jersey: Pearson Prentice Hall, ISBN 0-13-239421-9.

STUDENT DISCUSSION 2

What are the strengths and weaknesses of current risk assessment practices? When writing your response, focus on tests designed to assess risk and dangerousness.

Risk assessment involves an individual that has recently been found guilty of a crime, as authorities need to know how to appropriately deal with the individual. Psychologists, social workers or legal professionals conduct these assessments, and they form an important part of decisions regarding what kind of prison is most appropriate for an offender (e.g., maximum security), whether to release an offender (e.g., to parole), and what factors need to be targeted by interventions (eaplstudent.com). There are three types of assessments; actuarial, unstructured clinical, and structural clinical judgment. One test that is focused on the risk assessment is the Hare PCL-R. The Hare Psychopathy Checklist-Revised (PCL-R) is a diagnostic tool used to rate a person’s psychopathic or antisocial tendencies. People who are psychopathic prey ruthlessly on others using charm, deceit, violence or other methods that allow them to get with they want. The symptoms of psychopathy include: lack of a conscience or sense of guilt, lack of empathy, egocentricity, pathological lying, repeated violations of social norms, disregard for the law, shallow emotions, and a history of victimizing others. Originally designed to assess people accused or convicted of crimes, the PCL-R consists of a 20-item symptom rating scale that allows qualified examiners to compare a subject’s degree of psychopathy with that of a prototypical psychopath. It is accepted by many in the field as the best method for determining the presence and extent of psychopathy in a person (minddisorders.com).

How can you utilize or build upon the strengths of current risk assessment practices in forensic psychology?

In order to build upon strength of current risk assessment it is very important to look the risk factors, yet introducing ways that can decrease the risk overall. Offenders may end up committing the same crime, if released or other crimes, but it is best to determine from the beginning that behaviors or violence could occur in the future. Recidivism associated with risk assessment is a major factor that can occur with an individual that have committed bad crimes, but prisons, jails, or other facilities may provide programs to help. Overall,When a risk assessment is being conducted it is very important that there is validity present and valuable information.

Which term do you prefer prediction of risk or risk assessment?

When it comes to deciding which term I prefer it is best to define both. A prediction occurs when an individual makes a statement of what could happen. Assessment involves in general to the judgment of the quality, worth, importance, or value of something or someone. Since determining both terms, I would pick assessment because there is a chance to find information and apply it to whatever circumstances. I believe more of an outcome of validity and reliability will occur from an assessment.

http://forensicpsychiatry.ca/risk/literature.htm

http://www.eaplstudent.com/fact-sheets/114-risk-assessment

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