Validating the Structured Dynamic Assessment Case-Management 21-item (SDAC-21) in a Sample of Incarcerated Offenders

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Smeth, Angela Helena




Given the importance of ensuring that offenders do not engage in offending behaviour while incarcerated and remain crime free once they are released, the field has devoted considerable effort to the development and validation of risk assessment tools. The purpose of this dissertation was to validate the Structured Dynamic Assessment Case-Management 21-Item (SDAC-21; Serin & Wilson, 2012). Importantly, this was the first empirical validation of the SDAC-21.The SDAC-21 is a new body of work that includes empirically derived and theoretically informed dynamic risk factors, responsivity factors, and protective factors. It is an institutional assessment tool that was developed based on the successful implementation of the Dynamic Risk Assessment for Offender Re-entry (DRAOR; Serin, 2007), which is a dynamic risk assessment tool used in the community. Using a sample of 4,217 incarcerated male offenders held in the Iowa Department of Corrections (IDOC), this study examined the psychometric properties and the accuracy of the SDAC-21 in predicting institutional misconducts. In addition, the incremental contribution of the SDAC-21 in predicting institutional misconducts over and above static risk was also evaluated. Lastly, an exploration of the relationship between risk and protective factors in relation to outcomes was also undertaken. The SDAC-21 demonstrated acceptable psychometric properties (e.g., internal consistency, inter-rater reliability). The SDAC-21 significantly predicted institutional misconducts (AUC's ranging from .60 -.75) and demonstrated incremental validity over and above static risk estimates. Further, the results from the moderation analyses indicated that the Protective domain showed independent effects in predicting institutional misconducts, regardless of static risk. These results showed that the SDAC-21 is a valid tool for predicting institutional misconducts. It is anticipated that the results of this research endeavour will improve the overall ability to manage and supervise offenders more effectively within correctional institutions.






Carleton University

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