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Original Research ARTICLE

Front. Psychol. | doi: 10.3389/fpsyg.2019.02926

Assessing risk among correctional community probation populations: predicting reoffense with mobile neurocognitive assessment software Provisionally accepted The final, formatted version of the article will be published soon. Notify me

Gabe Haarsma1,  SASHA DAVENPORT1, Devonte C. White1, 2, Pablo A. Ormachea1,  Erin Sheena1 and David M. Eagleman1, 3*
  • 1The Center for Science and Law, United States
  • 2Texas Southern University, United States
  • 3Stanford University, United States

We seek to address current limitations of forensic risk assessments by introducing the first mobile, self-scoring, risk assessment software that relies on neurocognitive testing to predict reoffense. This assessment, run entirely on a tablet, measures decision-making via a suite of neurocognitive tests in less than 30 minutes. The software measures several cognitive and decision-making traits of the user, including impulsivity, empathy, aggression, and several other traits linked to reoffending. Our analysis measured whether this assessment successfully predicted recidivism by testing probationers in a large urban city (Houston, TX) from 2017 to 2019. To determine predictive validity, we used machine learning to yield cross-validated receiver-operator characteristics. Results gave a recidivism prediction value of .70, making it comparable to currently used risk assessments. This novel approach diverges from traditional self-reporting, interview-based, and criminal-records-based approaches, and can also add a protective layer against bias, while strengthening model accuracy in predicting reoffense. In addition, subjectivity is eliminated and time-consuming administrative efforts are reduced. With continued data collection, this approach opens the possibility of identifying different levels of recidivism risk, by crime type, for any age, or gender, and seeks to steer individuals appropriately toward rehabilitative programs. Suggestions for future research directions are provided.

Keywords: Risk Assessment, Machine leaming, Neurolaw, predictive validity, neurocognitive, recidivism, Forensic neuropsychology

Received: 27 Sep 2019; Accepted: 11 Dec 2019.

Copyright: © 2019 Haarsma, DAVENPORT, White, Ormachea, Sheena and Eagleman. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY). The use, distribution or reproduction in other forums is permitted, provided the original author(s) and the copyright owner(s) are credited and that the original publication in this journal is cited, in accordance with accepted academic practice. No use, distribution or reproduction is permitted which does not comply with these terms.

* Correspondence: Dr. David M. Eagleman, The Center for Science and Law, Houston, Texas, United States,