Prosecution-retained versus court-appointed experts: Comparing and contrasting risk assessment reports in preventative detention hearings
The goal of this study was to compare the risk assessment reports of prosecution-retained (n = 43) and court-appointed experts (n = 68) within the context of preventative detention hearings on variables ranging from the information within the assessment reports (e.g., length) to the conclusions drawn in terms of risk and treatment amenability (e.g., categorical statements of risk). A separate section also focused specifically on psychopathy. Court-appointed expert assessments were significantly longer (d = 0.40, 95% confidence interval [CI] [0.01, 0.78]) and contained more information pertaining to risk factors (odds ratio [OR] = 4.48, 95% CI [1.21, 16.61]) and risk management (OR = 3.15, 95% CI [1.20, 8.25]). Both types of experts communicated risk assessment results in categorical terms and were highly likely to utilize actuarial scales. Less than half of all assessments contained information on dynamic or protective factors. Other than providing a total psychopathy score, the assessments contained very little additional information about the implications of this score for risk management or treatment amenability. Although the results indicate that risk assessment reports between prosecution-retained and courtappointed experts were more similar than they were different, it is also evident that, overall, reports should contain more information on dynamic risk factors and risk management in order to be useful in the context of preventative detention hearings.
|Keywords||preventative detention, psychopathy, Risk assessment, risk communication|
|Journal||Law and Human Behavior|
Blais, J, & Forth, A. (2014). Prosecution-retained versus court-appointed experts: Comparing and contrasting risk assessment reports in preventative detention hearings. Law and Human Behavior, 38(6), 531–543. doi:10.1037/lhb0000082