Colorado Sex Crimes Law: Understanding the Colorado Sex Offender Tests – Evaluations
– by the Colorado Criminal Sex Crimes Defense Law Firm of H. Michael Steinberg – Sex Offender Risk Evaluation Tools and Analysis
The intent of this web page is to structure an analysis of the some of the key primary tests applied to sex offenders in Colorado. Again, by studying these tests – the intent is to gain a better understanding of how the Colorado Sex Offender System catabolizes and classifies sex offenders.
STATIC-99: The STATIC-99 is a risk screening instrument developed on a large sample of convicted sex offenders who have been followed for several years after release from confinement. Employing an actuarial method, the authors Drs Karl Hanson and David Thornton (1999), estimate a person’s low, moderate or high risk for recidivism through the use of historical or static variables. This evaluation draws on comparisons with the most recent samples (Helmus, Hanson & Thornton, 2008) of 6,774 sex offenders followed for over 10 years beyond release.
On the STATIC-99, a sex offender is rated on ten historical items. A score of and received a score of one (1) for example on a scale that theoretically ranges from zero (0) to twelve (12) with “twelve” reflecting the highest level of risk for re-offense reflects that individuals with this score, on average, sexually reoffend at a 6% rate over five years and 7% rate over ten years placing the offender into the Low risk range.
The STABLE 2007:
The ST ABLE-2007 is a companion assessment to the STA TIC-99 that assesses dynamic risk factors, which have been shown to correlate with sexual recidivism (Harris, AJ., and Hanson, K, 2007). These factors are dynamic in the sense that they are potentially modifiable with “effortful intervention” resulting in a concomitant reduction in the likelihood of sexual recidivism. Each of twelve items is scored on a three-point scale for a total of 24 possible points. (One item, “emotional identification with children,” is scored only for offenders who have a child victims resulting in a possible total score of 26). A score of seven (7) on the STABLE portion of the scale that ranges from zero (0) to twelve (24), is a score that falls in the Moderate risk range.
The following items are further analyzed that may contribute to a STABLE risk score:
I. Significant Social Influences: This factor rates positive and negative social influences.
2. Capacity for Relationship Stability: This factor relates to whether the individual has had a long-term relationship. Research suggests a prolonged relationship serves as a protective factor against sexual re-offending.
3. Hostility Toward Women: Both rapists and child molesters may have deficits in their capacity to form warm, constructive relationships with women.
4. General Social Rejectionl Loneliness: This factor refers to a general capacity to make friends and feel close to others (secure adult attachments).
5. Lack of Concern for Others: This factor concerns individuals who have little consideration for the feelings of others and generally act according to their own self-interest.
6. Impulsive Acts: This factor relates to whether an individual is characterized by being easily bored and seeking thrills with little regard for personal safety or the safety of others.
7. Poor Cognitive Problem Solving: This factor is based on research showing that risk is increased when individuals have difficulty accurately identifying and solving problems.
8. Negative Emotionality/Hostility: This factor refers to a tendency towards feeling hostile, victimized and resentful or being vulnerable to emotional collapse when stressed.
9. Sexual Preoccupation/Sex Drive: This factor rates the extent to which recurrent sexual thoughts and behavior are evident such as multiple sexual partners, excessive masturbation, and difficulty controlling sexual impulses or frequent impersonal sexual encounters.
10. Sex as Coping: This factor refers to use of sex to reduce stress or manage one’s emotions.
11. Deviant Sexual Interests: This refers to sexual arousal or interest in people, objects or activities that are illegal, inappropriate or highly unusual.
12. Cooperation with Supervision: Often an indicator of recidivism risk, this factor reflects the level of cooperation with supervision or the extent to which an individual works with or against authority.
This risk assessment is in addition to the above ratings and utilizes seven, rapidly changing factors that correlate with sexual recidivism. Based on the researched ratings of probation and parole officers in Canada, Iowa and Alaska (Harris, AJ. & Hanson, K.) these ratings highlight areas that subsequent supervision should target to detect increasing risk for re-offense.
Like the ST ABLE-2007 the items are rated 0 – no problem, 1 – some problem and 2- significant problem.
Factors Related to Sexual Violent Recidivism:
1. Victim Access: The extent to which the individual has opportunity to engage or meet potential victims.
2. Hostility: The extent to which this person expresses indirect or direct hostility, has an “axe to grind” or gets into physical or verbal altercations.
3. Sexual Pre-occupation: The extent to which sexual fantasies, rumination or behavior appears compulsive or excessive.
4. Rejection of Supervision: Is the individual predicted to work against or with supervision.
Factors Related to General Recidivism Risk:
1. Emotional Collapse: This refers to the individual’s ability to “hold it together” and cope with current problems.
2. Collapse of Social Supports: Extent to which the individual retains pro-social support in their life.
3. Substance Abuse: Extent to which the individual is engaged in problematic substance abuse.
An overall acute rating for general recidivism is then calculated from these seven items.