Development of an actuarial static risk model suitable for automatic scoring for predicting juvenile recidivism

Audrey McKinlay, Victoria L James, Randolph C Grace

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Objectives: To test the feasibility of an actuarial model for juvenile offending suitable for automatic scoring. Design: We identified a nationally representative sample of 936 young persons aged 13-17 (745 male, 191 female) who received a juvenile justice intake in 2002 in New Zealand. Methods: Best-subsets logistic regression and a formal model selection criterion were used to generate a predictive model for reoffending, and a conservative estimate of accuracy was obtained with cross-validation. Results: Recidivism during a 1-year follow-up was significantly higher for male (60.8 ) compared to female (46.6 ) delinquents. The model showed that young persons who were male, younger at their first social welfare intake, and had more prior court dates and a greater frequency of contact with police, were more likely to re-offend. The accuracy of the model was moderately high (area under the receiver operating characteristic curve = .710). A model developed specifically for the female cases failed to provide a significant increase in predictive accuracy. Conclusions: These results demonstrate the feasibility of an actuarial model for juvenile offending that is suitable for automatic scoring. Although male delinquents pose a higher absolute risk of juvenile offending than female delinquents, a common set of items related to history of contact with police and social welfare agencies provide a similarly accurate measure of relative risk for both sexes
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)288 - 305
Number of pages18
JournalLegal and Criminological Psychology
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2015

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