Table 1

Influences on Violence Prediction: A Self-Assessment Guide

Evaluator-Specific Influences
        Have I had any past adverse consequences from making inaccurate predictions?
        Have I ever had an evaluee commit suicide? Homicide?
        What are my attitudes on sentencing? Toward the criminal justice system?
        What is my level of confidence in conducting risk assessments?
        How strong is my need for approval? My need to be “right”?
        At any time, did I think what it would mean for me if I was wrong?
        Have colleagues or supervisors ever commented on personal attitudes that seem to affect my work?
Case-Specific Influences
    Personal attitudes
        What biases do I have toward people who commit this crime? People who come from this background? This kind of victim?
        At any time, did I find myself feeling emotionally involved in this case? Feeling excessively emotionally detached?
        What kinds of reactions/feelings did I have toward the evaluee?
        Could the confirmation bias have been in play? Did I review my notes over the course of the case to combat this?
        Could I have fallen subject to illusory correlations between evaluee responses and risk?
        What would it mean for me if this person did poorly upon release? Was violent upon release? What would it mean for my employer?
        As I was interpreting the data, was there any time that I paused and was uncertain about making a decision or conclusion?
        Was I sufficiently concerned that I consulted with a colleague or shared information with a significant other? Should I have consulted?
        What was my gut instinct in this case? Did I follow it? Did I question it?
    Case limitations
        What are the limitations of my findings? Are they the standard limitations of risk evaluations or were there unique ones?
        What would a good lawyer ask me on cross examination? How would I answer?
    External forces
        Am I aware of any external pressures on the outcomes or conclusion of this case?
        How much has this case been in the media? How has it been portrayed?
Context-Specific Influences
        Are there implicit norms where I work? Do they have a component of conservative prediction?
        Do co-workers talk in terms of consequences to themselves?
        Is there an institutional policy that outlines how to deal with ambiguity/uncertainty? That outlines my liability coverage?