The prediction of criminal recidivism using routinely available file information

Diana Fries, Astrid Rossegger, Jérôme Endrass, Jay P. Singh


Objective. The aim of the present study was to cross-validate the investigation of Buchanan and Leese (2006) into the prediction of criminal recidivism. Method. The sample comprised offenders in the criminal justice system of the Canton of Zürich – Switzerland, who were discharged to the community. Participants were followed, and evidence of subsequent charges and convictions for both general and serious recidivism was investigated at fixed periods of 2.5, 6.5, and 10.5 years. The predictive validity of socio-demographic, criminal history, and legal class information was assessed using logistic regression as well as log-likelihood, receiver operating characteristic curve, and contingency analyses. Results. A multivariable model including age and criminal history information was found to produce the highest rates of predictive validity for general and serious recidivism. Conclusion. Information regularly accessible in forensic practice may be able to guide clinicians as to the recidivism risk level of their patients.


Risk Assessment; Violence; Forensic; Recidivism.

Full Text:



Andrews, D. A., & Bonta, J. (2010). Rehabilitating criminal justice policy and practice. Psychology, Public Policy and Law, 16, 39-55.

Bonta, J., Law, M., & Hanson, K. (1998). The prediction of criminal and violent recidivism among mentally disordered offenders: A meta-analysis. Psychological Bulletin, 123, 123-142.

Buchanan, A., & Leese, M. (2006). Quantifying the contributions of three types of information to the prediction of criminal conviction using the receiver operating characteristic. The British Journal of Psychiatry, 188(5), 472-478.

Fazel, S., Singh, J. P., Doll, H., & Grann, M. (2012). The prediction of violence and antisocial behaviour: A systematic review and meta-analysis of the utility of risk assessment instruments in 73 samples involving 24,827 individuals. British Medical Journal, 345, e4692.

Hart, S. D., & Logan, C. (Eds.). (2011). Formulation of violence risk using evidence-based assessements: The structured professional judgement approach. Chichester, UK: John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.


Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.