Predicting violent recidivism of treated violent offenders using the psychopathy checklist-revised and the violence risk scale
Burt, Grant Norman
The present study compared the ability to predict violent recidivism using the PCL-R (Psychopathy Checklist-Revised) and the VRS (Violence Risk Scale). The study examined post treatment violent convictions of 60 federal offenders who had participated in a high intensity violence reduction correctional treatment program. The prediction of presence or absence of violent recidivism, and the cumulative number and rate of violent convictions at 1,2,3,4, and 5 years follow up was investigated. VRS ratings of change in risk after treatment were not found to provide a predictive improvement over VRS pre treatment ratings. Correlational, simple regression, and ROC (Receiver Operating Characteristics) analysis indicated that the PCL-R demonstrated a stable relationship to violent recidivism, while the VRS provided a stronger prediction of risk in the short term (i.e., 2-3 years follow up) but was generally unrelated to violent recidivism at a longer follow up period (i.e., 4-5 years follow up). It is suggested that these results reflect the static and dynamic theoretical approaches of the PCL-R and VRS, respectively. Implications of this study indicate that comprehensive file information may be necessary to assess changes in risk accurately. In addition, the differences in the predictive ability of the VRS over length of follow up suggests caution for comparison of static and dynamic risk measures in future research.