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New York State COMPAS-Probation Risk and Need Assessment Study: Examining the Recidivism Scale's Effectiveness and Predictive Accuracy

NCJ Number
Sharon Lansing, Ph.D.
Date Published
September 2012
55 pages
This report presents findings from a study which examined the effectiveness and predictive accuracy of the New York State COMPAS-Probation Recidivism Scale.
The study found that the Recidivism Scale worked effectively with respect to study cases overall. Case distributions across decile scores (DS) and risk levels were largely as expected; the likelihood of any rearrest increased with each successive DS in a linear manner; furthermore, the likelihood of rearrest increased substantially with each successive risk level; actual and expected rearrest rates were closely aligned across DS; and the scale achieved "satisfactory" predictive accuracy with an area under the curve (AUC) value of 0.71. This scale predicts the likelihood of rearrest for any felony or misdemeanor offense over a 2-year follow-up period for offenders under probation supervision. The study also examined the prevalence of 19 risk/need factors among study cases and the extent to which these factors were correlated with the likelihood of rearrest. Findings indicated that the Recidivism Scale was both effective and predictively accurate (AUC = 0.71) with respect to the overall probation population. Furthermore, the likelihood of rearrest generally increased with the severity of a given criminogenic risk/need. Tables, figures, and appendixes