Merging developmental and criminal career perspectives: implications for risk assessment and risk prediction of violent/sexual recidivism in adult sexual aggressors of women.
ABSTRACT Currently, a majority of actuarial risk-assessment tools for sexual recidivism contain static risk factors that measure various aspects of the offender's prior criminal history in adulthood. The goal of the current study was to assess the utility of extending static risk factors, by using developmental and criminal career parameters of offending, in the actuarial assessment of risk of violent/sexual recidivism. The current study was based on a sample of 204 convicted sexual aggressors of women incarcerated in the province of Quebec, Canada between April 1994 and June 2000. Semistructured interviews were used to gather information on the offender's antisocial history prior to adulthood, and police records were used to collect data on the criminal career of these offenders in adulthood. For an average follow-up period of approximately 4 years, the violent/sexual recidivism rate for the sample was 23.7%. The results provided support for the inclusion of both developmental and criminal career indicators for the prediction of violent/sexual recidivism. More specifically, recidivists were characterized by an early onset antisocial trajectory and a pattern of escalation of antisocial behavior between childhood and adolescence. The findings suggest that risk assessors should look beyond broad adult criminal history data to include aspects of antisocial development to improve predictive accuracy.