Violent Offenders: Appraising and Managing Risk
Violent Offenders: Appraising and Managing Risk reports on a program of research that began 25 years ago at a maximum-security psychiatric hospital. This institution, the Oak Ridge Division of the Mental Health Care Centre in Penetanguishene, Ontario, Canada is probably the most thoroughly studied maximum-security psychiatric facility in the world. The authors believe that the results of this program of research present a unique opportunity to draw some conclusions about the prediction of violent behavior and the management of violent offenders that apply in a wide variety of contexts.
The primary focus of the book is on criminal violence of both mentally disordered offenders and criminal inmates, whose histories of criminal violence raise serious societal concerns about the commission of further acts of violence. It is difficult for legal experts, psychologists, and policy makers to make decisions that strike the proper balance between an offender's civil liberties and community safety. Such a balance requires an accurate assessment of the likelihood that an individual offender will commit a new violent or sexual offense.
On the basis of their research on mentally disordered offenders, sex offenders, fire setters, and psychopathic offenders, the authors have developed an actuarial assessment instrument, the Violence Risk Appraisal Guide, which is currently the most accurate risk appraisal instrument available. The authors argue that risk management can be improved by combining what is already known about predicting violence, clinical decision making, and program evaluation. They conclude that the results of their applied research have implications for our understanding of the etiology of violent criminal behavior.