Effective, just and humane responses to the causes and consequences of crime

“Risk assessment plays a crucial role in dangerous offender proceedings. While the Canadian criminal justice system relies heavily on predictions of risk, these predictions are inherently error prone. There are no ‘laws’ of behaviour that can be applied to a set of circumstances to determine the behavioural outcome that will follow. Criminal behaviour, in particular, is motivated and supported by an unquantifiable number of factors; therefore, to assess an individual as ‘high risk’ is not to say that he or she will definitely recidivate. Despite its shortcomings, risk assessment can, to a certain extent, differentiate offenders who pose a significant risk for re-offending in the future from those who are likely to refrain from committing future offences.”

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