October 1, 2010
Reader feedback on latest actuarial article
I want to draw readers' attention to a reaction I received today from Brian Abbott, a psychologist and a leading expert on actuarial risk assessment of sex offenders. He has posted an insightful comment on last week's blog essay, "Static redux: Sandgropers jumping off rickety ship." Whereas I was sanguine in my commentary on a new article critiquing the Static-99 family of instruments ("Alice in Actuarial-Land" by Shoba Sreenivasan, Linda Weinberger, Allen Frances, and Sarah Cusworth-Walker), Dr. Abbott expressed dismay. He sees it as a bold and dangerous attempt to legitimize the pseudoscientific clinical-actuarial approach. As he points out, with actuarial instruments forecasting lower risks of sexual recidivism, government evaluators are finding it increasingly difficult to predict the high levels of danger required for civil commitment. They may thus resort to pseudoscientific logic to inflate sex offenders' risk scores. Dr. Abbott's comment is located HERE. I invite you all to share your comments as well.