We have opposed reliance by courts on the results coming from Static-99 tests since they started to regularly appear in reports prepared for sentencing procedures with courts in Western Australia and South Australia are notable in their criticisms of the failing of the test.
According to the website www.static99.org The Static-99 is a ten item actuarial assessment instrument created by R. Karl Hanson, Ph.D. and David Thornton, Ph.D. for use with adult male sexual offenders who are at least 18 year of age at time of release to the community. It is the most widely used sex offender risk assessment instrument in the world, and is extensively used in the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, Australia, and many European nations.
West Australian Supreme Court, Mr Justice John McKechnie suggested “the main reason the WA DPP applied to keep sex offender Leslie Fred Free behind bars after his five-year jail term expired was his ‘high-risk’ score in the test.
The Supreme Court judge dismissed the DPP’s application, criticising the test’s reliance on 10 static, or unchanging, risk factors.
“This application highlights the limitations of Static-99,” his written ruling explained.
“The respondent will remain at a statistical high risk of offending under Static-99, no matter what interventions occur and how much he changes his lifestyle, because it takes no account of dynamic factors.”
Static-99 is used more than any other test, and in many countries, to measure a sex criminal’s chances of reoffending.
Justice McKechnie concluded that “uncritical acceptance” of its results negated the purpose of treatment programs offered in prisons.
As a growing band of legal and psychological researchers across Australia queries the use of Static-99 for sentencing, judges in other states have to date accepted the results apparently without question.”
This is covered expansively in an article from perth.com.au which can be found here.
Then there is this interesting article from the Connecticut Law Review which provides useful information about how the Static-99 test works.
See the full judgement of Mr Justice McKechnie here.
For a more recent example of the way Static 99 is taken into account by courts, see this example also from West Australia.