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Journal Article


Fabian JM. Aggress. Violent Behav. 2008; 13(5): 337-345.


(Copyright © 2008, Elsevier Publishing)






Often high profile cases impact the standards for ethical practices in forensic psychology and psychiatry. In Minnesota, a high profile sexual homicide allegedly committed by a parolee who was not civilly committed as mentally ill and dangerous or sexually dangerous (likely due to older age) has brought to question the state's risk assessment policies. Due to the high profile nature of this case, the State Operated Forensic Services (SOFS) in Minnesota has attempted to implement heightened standards in their violence risk assessment policy for both mentally ill and dangerous and sexually violent offender populations. The rationale for this article is to outline how the publicity of a high profile sexual homicide can result in changes in a state's risk assessment procedures. The author will briefly outline the revised risk assessment standards within a state operated civil commitment forensic hospital and describe a case study of a civilly committed sex offender who was examined under these new standards. The author will also question whether more is better. Specifically, the question will be asked whether such standards and practices are efficient and necessary given the issues of incremental validity and the fact that there will always be false negatives (an offender who is deemed to be non-dangerous, who ultimately is).


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