We estimated the predictive power of the dynamic items in the Finnish Risk and Needs Assessment Form (RITA), assessed by case-workers, for predicting recidivism. These 52 items were compared to static predictors including crime committed, prison history, and age. We used two machine learning methods (elastic net and random forest) for this purpose and compared them with logistic regression. Participants were 746 men that had, and 746 that had not, reoffended during matched follow-up periods from 0.5 to 5.8 years. Both RITA-items and static predictors predicted general and violent recidivism well (AUC = .73 – .79), but combining them increased discrimination only slightly (ΔAUC = 0.01 – 0.02) over static predictors alone. Calibration was good for all models. We argue that the results show strong potential for the RITA-items but that development is best focused on improving usability for identifying treatment targets and for updating risk assessments.
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