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This book reviews the scientific evidence relevant to assessing the recidivism risk of sex offenders, as well as the issues related to sex offenders, in considerable detail. It is not an attempt for creating sympathy for sex offenders. Substantial numbers of psychologists claim they can accurately identify the recidivism risk of sex offenders. Despite the very limited, peer-reviewed data related to these claims, many psychologists insist the scientific evidence supports their efforts in this regard. Too often, the issues detailed in these chapters have been overlooked and/or misinterpreted. As a result, the likelihood of psychologists misusing and abusing scientific data when assessing sex offenders should not be underestimated. This book identifies numerous instances of such misuse and abuse. Topics include: sexually violent person civil commitment statutes, clinical judgment and clinical experience, guided clinical risk assessments, actuarial assessment of recidivism risk, actuarial instruments for assessing recidivism risk, computing classification accuracy, supplementary assessment procedures, adjusted actuarial assessments, diagnostic classification, treating sex offenders, and ethical obligations. Ultimately, however, the book challenges psychologists to recognize and respond to their scientific and professional responsibilities. When testifying as expert witnesses, ethical obligations prohibit psychologists from misinforming and misleading legal proceedings. These same obligations necessitate that psychologists support their opinions with relevant research data.


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