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Predictive Validity of Risk Assessment with Violent Young Offenders: A 1-Year Examination of Criminal Outcome

NCJ Number
Criminal Justice and Behavior Volume: 30 Issue: 6 Dated: December 2003 Pages: 688-708
Rosalind E. H. Catchpole; Heather M. Gretton
Date Published
December 2003
21 pages
This document evaluates three instruments for their ability to predict recidivism in violent young offenders.
The instruments evaluated were the Structured Assessment of Violence Risk in Youth (SAVRY), the Youth Level of Service/Case Management Inventory (YLS/CMI), and the Psychopathy Checklist: Youth Version (PCL:YV). The SAVRY is a 20-item adult instrument that examines historical, clinical, and risk management variables associated with violent behavior. The YLS/CMI is a 42-item inventory that assesses the following 8 categories of criminogenic factors: prior and current offenses and dispositions, family circumstances and parenting, education and employment, peer relations, substance use, leisure and recreation, personality and behavior, and attitudes and orientation. The PCL:YV is a 20-item clinical tool that assesses youths on several behavioral and personality characteristics associated with psychopathy. The instruments were retrospectively coded from file information on 74 young violent offenders. A follow-up after 1 year examined criminal charges and convictions. The predictive accuracy of each instrument was examined using areas under the curve (AUC's). The findings indicate that the current instruments meaningfully differentiated risk for ongoing violence even among youth previously convicted for violent offenses. Even in the case of violent risk/needs perspective, some individuals clearly were in need of a more intensive intervention than others. It may be argued that youths identified by risk assessment instruments as lower risk may be appropriate for a community-based management intervention that addresses areas of specific concern related to risk for those youths. The most intensive treatment should be reserved for high-risk offenders with strong criminogenic needs and relapse prevention procedures should be used to enhance self-management skills and to maximize generalization to noninstitutional environments. The study provides evidence for the use of adolescent risk assessment measures for designing and administrating intervention programs specific to the criminogenic needs of the youths, with the primary goal being risk reduction. 3 figures, 1 note, 40 references