An Examination of the Professional Override of the Level of Service Inventory–Ontario Revision [2020]

This study examined the nature and impacts of the professional override on the Level of Service Inventory–Ontario Revision (LSI-OR), using a large archival database of 40,539 individuals’ information. Research questions focused on the predictive validity of various LSI-OR risk metrics, including total risk/need scores, initial risk categories, and adjusted risk categories, for various types of recidivism; how professional overrides were used; whether they were used more with some groups than others; and whether their impacts varied depending on recidivism type. Overrides were applied in 15.4% of cases, most often (94.1%) to increase risk levels. Override use varied based on gender, race, and the nature of index offenses. Based on receiver operating characteristic analyses, the results generally indicated that adjusted risk levels (incorporating professional overrides) demonstrated inferior predictive validity relative to unadjusted metrics. The results suggest a need for increased caution and consistency in the application of professional overrides.

Laura C. Orton, Neil R. Hogan, J. Stephen Wormith
Criminal Justice and Behavior, July 24, 2020