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Researching Sex Offenders: A Workshop on Conceptualizing and Implementing Sex Offender Research Projects. R. Karl Hanson Public Safety Canada Presentation at the 13 th Annual Conference of the NYATSA, Saratoga Springs, NY, May 14, 2008. Big Questions.

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R. Karl Hanson Public Safety Canada

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R karl hanson public safety canada

Researching Sex Offenders: A Workshop on Conceptualizing and Implementing Sex Offender Research Projects

R. Karl Hanson

Public Safety Canada

Presentation at the 13th Annual Conference of the NYATSA, Saratoga Springs, NY, May 14, 2008

Big questions

Big Questions

  • Impact of criminal justice and social policy interventions (e.g., community notification, residency restrictions, civil commitment, risk assessment)

  • Assessment of reduced risk in high risk offenders

  • Active components in sexual offender treatment

  • Social policy for prevention on onset

R karl hanson public safety canada

Evaluation of

Sex Offender Treatment Programs

Collaborative outcome data committee

Collaborative Outcome Data Committee

  • Formed in 1997


    • Define standards for research on treatment outcome for sexual offenders (develop consensus)

    • Organize existing sexual offender outcome studies

    • Promote high quality evaluations

Codc contributors

Anthony Beech

Darren Bisshop

Guy Bourgon

Dawn Fisher

R. Karl Hanson

Andrew Harris

Calvin Langton

Roxanne Lieb

Janice Marques

Michael Miner

William Murphy

Michael Seto

Vernon Quinsey

David Thornton

Pamela Yates

CODC contributors

Codc study quality guidelines

CODC Study Quality Guidelines

  • Structured rating scale

  • Definition of study quality

    • “…judgement of minimal bias can be made with high confidence.”

  • 20 items (plus 1 additional item rated for cross-institutional designs)

    • Items fall under 7 categories

    • Items assess either confidence OR bias (including direction of bias)

I administrative control of independent variables

I) Administrative control of independent variables

  • Defining treatment (confidence)

  • Defining comparison group (confidence)

  • Miscellaneous incidental factors (bias)

Ii experimenter expectancies

II) Experimenter expectancies

  • Experimenter involvement (bias)

  • Blinding in data management (bias)

Iii sample size

III) Sample size

  • Sample size of treatment (confidence)

  • Sample size of comparison (confidence)

  • Sample size of institutions (confidence) (for cross-institutional designs only)

Iv attrition

IV) Attrition

  • Subject selection (bias)

  • Program attrition (bias)

  • Intent-to-treat (bias)

  • Attrition in follow-up (bias)

V equivalency of groups

V) Equivalency of groups

  • A priori equivalency of groups (bias)

  • Adequacy of search of differences (confidence)

  • Findings on group differences (bias)

Vi outcome variables

VI) Outcome variables

  • Length of follow-up (confidence)

  • Validity/reliability of recidivism information (confidence)

  • Equivalency of follow-up (bias)

Vii correct comparison conducted

VII) Correct comparison conducted

  • Data dredging (confidence)

  • Effectiveness of statistical controls (confidence)

  • Computation of least bias comparison (bias)

Global rating

Global Rating

  • All items considered in making overall judgment of bias and confidence

    • Same three-point scales as individual items

  • Bias and confidence are considered separately

Global rating categories

Global Rating Categories

  • Strong

    • High confidence AND negligible bias

  • Good

    • High confidence and some bias, OR

    • Some confidence and negligible bias

  • Weak

    • Some confidence and some bias

  • Reject

    • Little confidence, OR

    • Considerable bias

Reliability study 1 students

Reliability Study 1: Students

  • 2 senior undergrad students

  • Approximately one week training (8 practice studies)

  • 10 real studies rated independently

Results global ratings

Results: Global Ratings

  • Overall 9/10 (ICC = 0.95)

  • Global confidence10/10 (ICC = 1.00)

  • Global bias 9/10 (ICC = 0.69)

  • Direction of bias 7/10

Reliability study 2 experts

Reliability Study 2: Experts

  • 12 Experts in sex offender research evaluation

  • No training on guidelines

  • 10 hypothetical studies ranging in quality

  • Rated 1-6 studies each (3 ratings per study)

Expert raters

Guy Bourgon

Andrew Harris

Grant Harris

Niklas Langstrom

Roxanne Lieb

Ruth Mann

Robert McGrath

William Murphy

Vernon Quinsey

Marnie Rice

David Thornton

Pamela Yates

Expert Raters

Expert reliability

Expert Reliability

  • Some agreement on individual items

  • No agreement on global ratings

Www publicsafety gc ca

  • Collaborative Data Outcome Committee. (2007). Sex offender treatment outcome research: Guidelines for Evaluation (CODC Guidelines). Part 1: Introduction and overview. Corrections User Report No 2007-02. Ottawa: Public Safety Canada.

  • Collaborative Data Outcome Committee. (2007). The Collaborative Outcome Data Committee’s Guidelines for the evaluation of sexual offender treatment outcome research. Part 2: CODC Guidelines. Corrections User Report No 2007-03. Ottawa: Public Safety Canada.

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