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Risk Assessment Test STATIC-99

As we've discussed elsewhere on this site, in many cases it is necessary or helpful to obtain a risk assessment during the course of plea negotiations with the prosecution team. One of the risk assessment tests that is administered by the mental health specialist is the Static-99.

Of the multiple future risk measuring tests used in most risk assessments, at least it can be said for the Static-99 that it is mostly limited to an evaluation of sexual offense risk and does not incorporate a multitude of non-sex related mumbo-jumbo (like how well you behaved in the second grade) in reaching its conclusions. Still, skepticism is in order for any test that proposes to measure how an individual will behave in the future. It's one thing, in hindsight, to say that 60 percent of similarly situated people have reoffended in a particular study. It's an entirely different kind of conclusion to say that an individual, i.e., Jimmy Jack Jones, is 60 percent likely to reoffend in this instance.

But the fact is – the Arizona prosecutors rely on these risk assessments – and therefore the defense must consider presenting one to the prosecutor where appropriate.

The Static-99 considers the following factors and determines a recidivism risk on the basis of the "score" on these factors:

  • What is the age of the defendant? (younger is higher risk)
  • Has the defendant ever lived with an intimate partner for two years? (longer is better)
  • Are there any prior non-sexual criminal offenses?
  • Are there prior sexual offenses?
  • Has the defendant been sentenced before in the criminal justice system?
  • Has the defendant committed sex-related, but no-contact offenses, such as indecent exposure?
  • Have there been any unrelated victims in the defendant's past? (Yes is bad)
  • Have there been any stranger victims in the defendant's past? (Yes is bad)
  • Have there been any male victims in the defendant's past? (Yes is bad)