Predicting Sexual Crime: Are the Experts Biased?

The Huffington Post:

Leroy Hendricks had a long history of sexually molesting children, including his own stepdaughter and stepson. When he was 21, he was convicted of exposing himself to two girls, and he continued to prey on kids until he was sent to prison at age 50 for molesting two 13-year-old boys. He served ten years of his five- to 20-year term, with time off for good behavior, and then was set free.

Based on these genuine case records, all the experts completed the two risk assessments on each of the four SVP cases. As reported in an article to be published in the journal Psychological Science, the study revealed a clear pattern of adversarial allegiance–that is, biased decision making in favor of the “side” they were working for. Experts who believed they were working for the prosecution viewed the offenders as a greater threat to public safety, and those who believed they were working for the defense saw the identical offenders as much less dangerous. The effect of this allegiance bias was dramatic and, what’s more, it was much more exaggerated on the more subjective of the two assessment tools.

Read the whole story: The Huffington Post

Wray Herbert is an author and award-winning journalist who writes two popular blogs for APS, We’re Only Human and Full Frontal Psychology.

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