Risk Assessment/ Future Dangerousness

Risk assessment is an area that has increasingly benefited from the development of mathematical or actuarial methods. Distinct approaches for evaluating accused sex offenders, domestic abusers, juveniles, the incarcerated and other offenders have been formulated. A personís risk of dangerousness or their potential for future violence is assessed by evaluating numerous risk factors, most of which are history-based.†

Personality testing, as it relates to some types of dangerousness assessments, is becoming increasingly focused. Occasionally, brain damage contributes to future risk. The Forensic Panelís neuropsychology experts give context to neuropsychological abnormalities to best inform the court as to the nature of any cognitive deficits and their possible relationship to future dangerousness.

Research in the area of risk assessment is still evolving. The potentials and limitations of the current body of knowledge are well understood by experts from The Forensic Panel for its potential and its limitations. This is particularly important as we have found that misleading testimony abounds in risk assessment cases, especially from some claiming to be invoking scientific literature but who do so selectively. In this vein, psychology and neuropsychology experts from The Forensic Panel possess a high grade of sophistication in research methodology and statistics. This expertise educates courts about the quality and integrity of published literature and whether expert opinions based on the literature is scientifically based.

Furthermore, the oversight of The Forensic Panelís peer review injects accountability into risk assessment evaluations, ensuring that testing and interpretation follows state of the art understandings relating to specific populations. Peer review also minimizes bias in this highly complex area, and promotes utmost diligence in gathering sufficient data to inform such prognosis. Risk assessment and future dangerousness evaluations of The Forensic Panel are thus carried out with the necessary rigor to bring scientific certainty to such an oft-elusive puzzle.