Friday, December 21, 2007

System Gaming

Crime and Consequences has a great catch on a study demonstrating that offenders may be faking test results to qualify as mentally retarded in light of recent court decisions that ironically put a premium on that condition. One of the concerns we frequently have in corrections generally about risk assessment instruments that are used to place offenders into treatment programs and specific statuses (stati?—oops, must not be because that spellcheck thing just popped up . . . but it just popped up under spellcheck, too) is that those who have been through the process more than once and come to recognize the tests and the points of the assessment may also game them in order to achieve a better situation behind bars or at release. It’s like the concern about kids who start taking the SAT or ACT early so they can know what to do better when it really counts. I doubt that it’s widespread (since we do look for this is analyses of overall scores), but it’s certainly worth being aware of. Part of that predator-prey, action-counteraction thing that drives so much of corr sent anyway.

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