Predictive Accuracy of the COMPAS in Identifying Positive Toxicology and Program Completion in a Sample of Court Mandated DUI Offenders

Allison Mischel, Fordham University

Abstract

This study examined the predictive accuracy of an actuarial risk assessment tool, the COMPAS, in gauging risk of substance abuse in a sample of 250 individuals that were charged with driving under the influence of alcohol (DUI) and were court-mandated to a mental health diversion program in New York City. Of the 250 participants, 6.4% had at least one positive toxicology test result, and 92% were retained or successfully completed the program within one year of COMPAS assessment. The Substance Abuse scale demonstrated poor reliability in this sample (α=.47). An ROC curve based on Substance Abuse scale decile scores evidenced an AUC of .57 for positive toxicology, and .53 for program retention/completion. An ROC curve based on Substance Abuse scale raw scores demonstrated an AUC of .58 for positive toxicology, and .54 for program retention/completion. Likewise, Spearman correlation coefficients did not indicate significant associations between COMPAS Substance Abuse decile score and positive toxicology test results, r(248)=.07, p=.28, or program retention/completion, r(248)= .03, p=.64. Similarly, associations between Substance Abuse scale raw scores also did not evidence significant associations with positive toxicology, r(248)=.07, p=.29, or program retention/completion, r(248)=.04, p =.02. These results indicate that while the Substance Abuse scale may influence decision makers, there is little evidence to support its reliability or predictive validity in this sample. These findings raise questions about whether the COMPAS should influence treatment or dispositional decisions, at least with regard to individuals charged with driving while intoxicated. Further research is needed to better understand how to measure and identify clients at risk for relapse and diversion program failure.^

Subject Area

Psychology

Recommended Citation

Mischel, Allison, "Predictive Accuracy of the COMPAS in Identifying Positive Toxicology and Program Completion in a Sample of Court Mandated DUI Offenders" (2018). ETD Collection for Fordham University. AAI10815647.
https://fordham.bepress.com/dissertations/AAI10815647

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