Can Unstructured Clinical Risk Judgment Have Incremental Validity in the Prediction of Recidivism in a Non-Western Juvenile Context?

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Research has consistently shown that actuarial measures are superior to unstructured clinical judgments in predicting recidivism of offenders. However, in a non-Western context, clinical judgment may capture contextually relevant risk-related factors. The purpose of the current research is to investigate the incremental value of clinical risk judgment in a sample of Japanese youths. With a sample of 299 released youths, the relative accuracy of the actuarial predictor (Youth Level of Service/Case Management Inventory [YLS/CMI]) and unstructured clinical judgment (recommendation of placement by psychologists) was examined. Results show that an unstructured clinical judgment failed to add incremental variance to the actuarial measure in the prediction of future offenses. The current study results are similar to other studies from North America. Possible reasons why unstructured risk judgment did not add incrementally to the actuarial assessment of risk are discussed.

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