Saturday, March 17, 2007

More NCJRS Abstracts, March 17, 2007--Sex Offender Research

NCJ 217176
Center for Sex Offender Management
Understanding Treatment for Adults and Juveniles Who Have Committed Sex Offenses
National Institute of Justice/NCJRS

This report provides an overview of current research, professional literature, and practice trends relative to treatment for sexually abusive individuals. A comprehensive approach to managing individuals who have committed sex offenses requires the consideration and integration of a number of key components, including the critical and very promising role of treatment. In response to the growing body of research on those who perpetrate sex crimes, the face of treatment has begun to change in important ways. The future of treatment may indeed reflect more tailored and ultimately more effective interventions for adults and juveniles. Treatment will need to take into consideration the diversity both within and across these populations. In summary, the available evidence suggests that these interventions hold promise for reducing recidivism both among adults and juveniles who have committed sex offenses. Specialized treatment has been a mainstay of sex offender management approaches for several decades. However, due to the heightened attention to sex crimes and its impact on victims and communities, there has been a push for a more punitive response. This punitive response has begun to overshadow the important role of treatment in sex offender management efforts. In an attempt to better illuminate the treatment of sex offenders for those who have a stake in sex offender management, this report examines the unique features of treatment for sex offenders, the conceptualization of treatment, modernizing treatment, and evidence on treatment effectiveness. References

NCJ 217296
Jason Peckenpaugh
Controlling Sex Offender Reentry: Jessica's Law Measures in California
Journal of Offender Monitoring Volume:19 Issue:1 Dated:2006 Pages:13 to 28

Based on a review of research on the effectiveness of various management strategies in reducing sex offender reoffending, this article critiques California's proposed "Jessica's Law," which would increase control over sex offenders released from prison by expanding electronic monitoring and residency restrictions. Among other provisions, Jessica's Law would require lifetime global-positioning-system (GPS) monitoring of registered felon sex offenders released to parole and bar registered sex offenders from living within 2,000 feet of schools and parks. These detailed restrictions on a whole class of offenders would restrict the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation's ability to improve its policies for managing sex offenders on parole. Research shows the value of assessing the reoffending risk of sex offenders on a case-by-case basis, using validated risk-assessment tools. Empirical data indicate that sex offenders are a heterogeneous group, with individuals responding differently to treatment and having varying reoffending patterns. A high percentage of sex offenders have reoffending rates lower than other offenders. Jessica's Law is an over-inclusive remedy for sex offenses that would be very costly and could have unforeseen consequences. In addition to a case-by-case risk assessment for sex offenders released from prison, California should also improve its treatment programs for incarcerated sex offenders. Currently, California is one of a few States with no formal treatment for imprisoned sex offenders. There should also be a focus on improving prevention programs for children and victim services. The research review examines trends in California sex offense data, along with other States with large sex offender populations; the effectiveness of electronic monitoring and residential restrictions in preventing recidivism; and the challenges in implementing expanded electronic monitoring and residential restrictions for sex offenders. 12 tables and 156 notes

NCJ 217350
I. E. Marshall ; W. L. Marshall
Sexual Addiction in Incarcerated Sexual Offenders
Sexual Addiction & Compulsivity: The Journal of Treatment and Prevention Volume:13 Issue:4 Dated:2006 Pages:377 to 390

This study examined the prevalence and nature of sexual addiction in sexual offenders incarcerated in a Canadian Federal prison. Results indicated that 23.75 percent of the 80 participants met the criteria for sexual addiction, which was significantly higher than the expected rate in the general population. Contrary to the hypothesis, sexual addiction was not significantly related to drug and alcohol abuse. The hypothesis that sexual addicts would be more likely to have a history of childhood or adolescent sexual abuse was also not supported by the findings. Sexual addicts were, however, more likely than their non-addicted counterparts to report a preoccupation with sexual thoughts. The findings offer mixed support for the predominant sexual addiction model put forth in 1989 by Carnes. It is recommended that therapists who work with sexual addicts should incorporate a focus on coping and empathy as an important component of treatment. Participants were 40 incarcerated male sexual offenders and a matched sample of 40 community subjects. Community participants were recruited from a government employment center and were screened to exclude those with a history of sexual offending. The two groups were matched in terms of employment history and education. The incarcerated males completed the questionnaire as part of a larger pretreatment assessment package. The questionnaire used for both groups collected information about demographic characteristics, sexual addiction behaviors, and drug and alcohol abuse. Data were analyzed using Pearson Product-Moment correlations, chi-square calculations, and Student’s t-tests. Future research should focus on the relationship between sexual addiction and a preoccupation with sexual thoughts. Table, references


Geoff said...

The first of these articles is seriously flawed. It assumes that sex offending is the same as sexual abuse. It most certainly is not. Many "sex offenses" committed by children and teenagers violate age of consent laws, but involve non-coerced, non-abusive behavior. One prosecutor in Texas said half of all "sexual assault" cases coming through his office were consensual underage sex. See for more information and documentation.

Dr. Dale Glaebach said...

I agree with Geoff, the prior commentator. Psychology, and the therapies thereby constructed, is supposed to be "science"; and science and politics do not mix! I realize that accepting sex offenders for treatment is very lucrative ---and often the therapist is very eager to please the judge or the court system often to receive more referrals. But age of consent crimes are "mala prohibita" crimes that follow the pattern of "bright line" standards for conviction. Even when passed, these laws were not considered as automatic evidence of real harm to a victim; rather, they were seen as society's arbitrary standard of what will be considered criminal and what is not. Although the following is an "old saw" argument, there is yet to be considered the realistic ramifications of what it imports: it makes no sense that young person of age 15 and 364 days is automatically considered a "sex abuse victim" and a day later is considered a freely choosing adult. To show how the assertion that "crime does not equal harm/need for treatment" is relevant in non-sexual cases, I personally had a client who was referred by a judge "for treatment" because he was caught "Driving Under the Influence". It turns out that he was from a foreign country and had never drank beer before, was coaxed by friends to try it, very much disliked it, and then drove home and was arrested. Yes, he is probably "Guilty" ---but this doesn't equate with his needing therapy. We respectfully sent the Judge a letter stating that the man in not an alcoholic, that it was a one time incident, and that, as such, he does not need treatment. I wonder whether a sex abuse counselor has ever even considered sending a similar letter to a judge in an "age of consent" case. Isn't it even scientifically relevant that young teenagers have been exploring sexuality since time immemorium? We talk of "Romeo and Juliet" crimes in casual reference ---well, when do we think on this realistically: Was Romeo suffering from dysfunction? Did he require treatment?
Thank God for the coming of Evolutionary Psychology ---the natural science of the mind---that can help us escape from this pseudoscienfic preoccupation with the very deviant (and unnatural to our species) "youth sex norms" held by this culture, and the inappropriate and, yes, often hurtful laws reflecting them. Psychologists must be more that prostitutes of the state!

Dr. Dale Glaebach, CAC (and evolutionary psychologist)