Thursday, March 01, 2007

More NCJRS Abstracts, March 1, 2007--Sex Offender Research, Part Two


NCJ 217130
Howard E. Barbaree ; Calvin M. Langton ; Edward J. Peacock
Different Actuarial Risk Measures Produce Different Risk Rankings for Sexual Offenders
Sexual Abuse: A Journal of Research and Treatment Volume:18 Issue:4 Dated:October 2006 Pages:423 to 440

This study examined the consistency of sex offender risk ranking for recidivism among five commonly used actuarial risk assessment measures: the Violence Risk Appraisal Guide (VRAG), the Sex Offender Risk Appraisal Guide (SORAG), the Rapid Risk Assessment of Sexual Offense Recidivism (RRASOR), the Static-99, and the Minnesota Sex Offender Screening Tool-Revised (MnSOST-R). Results indicated that the five actuarial risk assessment measures did not produce consistent rankings of sex offender recidivism risk. The average sexual offender had percentile rankings that varied by nearly 50 percentile ranks. Some offenders had rankings that varied between the lowest rank on one measure to almost the highest rank on another measure. A full 55 percent of the sample was identified by at least 1 instrument as being high risk while only a small proportion of the sample (3 percent and 4 percent, respectively) were identified as either high or low risk by all 5 instruments. Other findings indicated that the percentile rankings obtained in this study using the five instruments were similar to those reported by the instruments’ developers. The authors support the use of multiple actuarial measures and suggest that responsible risk assessors should combine the percentile ranks obtained by multiple measures into a mean or average percentile ranking. The research sample included 476 adult male sexual offenders who were assessed and treated at a medium-security penitentiary in Ontario, Canada. Researchers coded information from the offender’s files using the five actuarial assessment measures. Data were obtained from archived clinical files, the Offender Management System national database, and the Canadian Police Information Centre records. Files contained interview records, institutional reports, psychological test reports, and pre- and post-treatment results from group therapies. Statistical data analyses were conducted using the Statistical Package for the Social Sciences (SPSS) and Microsoft Excel spreadsheets. Future research should focus on the development of falsifiable theories of recidivism risk. Tables, footnotes, references

NCJ 217171
Leigh Harkins ; Anthony Beech
Measurement of the Effectiveness of Sex Offender Treatment
Aggression and Violent Behavior Volume:12 Issue:1 Dated:January-February 2007 Pages:36 to 44

When evaluating the effectiveness of sex offender treatment, several issues must be considered, as well as the strengths and weaknesses to all of the various methods. Opinions differ in terms of the extent of methodological flaws that should be permitted. It is generally agreed by both optimists and skeptics, that good treatment evaluation designs are those that include a treated and a comparison group equated in terms of risk. The effectiveness of sex offender treatment has been studied and reviewed extensively over the years. However, criticisms exist of all the various methodologies used to date in studies of treatment effectiveness looking strictly at recidivism outcome. Some have suggested additional ways the effectiveness of treatment could be established, by examining not only ultimate outcomes of interest but proximate outcomes, and examining within treatment change providing a more complete picture of effectiveness. The aim of this paper is to discuss various methods of examining treatment effectiveness. It describes a number of research methods used to examine the overall effectiveness of sex offender treatment, such as random assignment, risk band analysis, matched control groups, and change within treatment. Tables, references

NCJ 217174
Tony Ward ; Ruth E. Mann ; Theresa A. Gannon
Good Lives Model of Offender Rehabilitation: Clinical Implications
Aggression and Violent Behavior Volume:12 Issue:1 Dated:January-February 2007 Pages:87 to 107
The detailed application of the Good Lives Model-Comprehensive (GLM-C) to the kind of therapeutic strategies typically used to treat sexual offenders has revealed how this approach can lead to effective therapy. The GLM-C is a new theory of sexual offender rehabilitation that is seen as quite promising. A virtue of the GLM-C is its ability as a theory to integrate practices and factors already accepted as important in the rehabilitation arena. The advantages of treating sex offenders within the GLM-C framework is that it reminds therapists to keep in mind a number of critical elements of treatment that tend to be underemphasized in the traditional risk management approach. It asks therapists to develop an intervention plan that seeks to capitalize on offenders’ interests and preferences and to equip them with the capabilities they need to realize their goal of rehabilitation. In the GLM-C, an individual is hypothesized to commit criminal offenses because he lacks the capabilities to realize valued outcomes in personally fulfilling and socially acceptable ways. It is suggested that the GLM-C can act as a bridging theory by explaining more fully what it is that offenders seek through antisocial actions. This paper begins by first discussing the notion of rehabilitation and the qualities a good theory of rehabilitation should possess. It briefly describes the principles, etiological assumptions, and general treatment implications of the GLM-C. It outlines in detail the application of this novel perspective to the assessment and treatment of sexual offenders. Lastly, a summary is presented of the major points and some comments on the future application and development of the GLM-C. References

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