Dosage of Treatment to Sexual Offenders: Are We Overprescribing?

Department of Justice Canada, Research and Statistics Division, 284 Wellington St., East Memorial Bidg., 6th Floor, Room 6264, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada K1A OH8.
International Journal of Offender Therapy and Comparative Criminology (Impact Factor: 0.84). 05/2003; 47(2):171-84. DOI: 10.1177/0306624X03251096
Source: PubMed


A sample of 337 offenders who received treatment in a variety of sex offender treatment programs in the Ontario region of Correctional Service Canada between 1993 and 1998 were divided based on the highest intensity sex offender programming that they received (low, moderate, and high). The three groups were compared with reference to a variety of actuarial risk assessment measures, criminogenic factors, and the number and type of treatment programs completed. It was hypothesized that the high-intensity group would have more criminogenic risk factors, higher actuarial scores, and participate in more treatment programs than both the moderate- and low-intensity groups. The results indicate that in general, the hypotheses were supported. Nonetheless, the results suggest that the low-intensity group may be receiving too much sex offender-specific treatment.

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Available from: Jan Looman, Oct 20, 2015
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    • "Indeed, research shows that therapeutic climate and the interactional styles of professionals impact treatment effectiveness (e.g., Beech and Hamilton-Giachritsis 2005; Blagden et al. 2014; Grady and Brodersen 2008; Marshall 2005). Excessive fear due to overgeneralizations about the nature of sexual offenders can commonly lead to overprescribing treatment for low risk offenders, which can be both overly costly and predictably ineffective based on the empirically derived Risk-Need- Responsivity (RNR) model of offender rehabilitation (Lovins et al. 2009; Mailloux et al. 2003). While a core ethical responsibility of correctional professionals is to work to keep the community safe, which means applying necessary restrictions based on offender risk, it also appears to be both ineffective and unethical to apply more restriction than is warranted. "
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    ABSTRACT: Despite an extensive research literature on sexual offending, much of current sexual offender policy within the United States runs counter to such literature, and instead, is based on common, pervasive myths about sexual offenders. Not surprisingly, recent studies on sex offender policy effectiveness suggest that current approaches are both costly and largely ineffective. In this paper, we suggest that a longstanding socio-cultural climate of sex-negativity fuels common fears and misconceptions about sexual offending and about policy related to treatment and supervision. We present a positive sexuality model and consider how the effectiveness of dealing with sexual offending issues could be improved through using a positive sexuality approach to guide policy.
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    • "However, the strongest treatment effects were found for programmes provided only to higher-risk offenders.Hanson et al. (2009)concluded that: 'noticeable reductions in recidivism are not to be expected among the lowest risk offenders' (p.886). An earlier study byMailloux et al. (2003)examined the application of the risk principle to sexual offenders by looking at the allocation of sexual offenders to treatment. They found that higher-risk offenders were receiving more intense treatment than were lower-risk offenders. "
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    ABSTRACT: The risk principle of offender rehabilitation states that the intensity of treatment should be proportional to the offender's risk. This article reviews the evidence base for the risk principle with sexual offenders, as well as identifying other arguments, in order to determine whether low‐risk sexual offenders need treatment, and of what type and magnitude. We conclude that low‐risk sexual offenders probably need no more than 100 hours of offence‐focused treatment given their very low reconviction rates. Low‐risk sexual offenders should be kept separate from higher‐risk offenders, and treatment should not interfere with other activities that will enable a non‐offending lifestyle.
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    • "All sexual offenders in Ontario are assessed on intake at the Millhaven Assessment Unit. The assessment has varied over time but has always included an actuarial assessment of static risk factors as well as an assessment of known dynamic factors (Mailloux et al., 2003). Currently, the Static-99R and Stable-2007 are administered. "
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    ABSTRACT: A sample of 348 high-risk sexual offenders was divided into two groups based on the level of preselection (detained, n = 211, and nondetained, n = 137) and the groups were compared on a number of measures which were related to dynamic risk. The hypothesis was that the detained group would score as being higher need on these instruments than the nondetained group. This hypothesis was supported with the detained group reporting greater levels of hostility, cognitive distortions supportive of offending, sexual obsessions, and sexually deviant behaviours. They also scored as being less assertive and as having a more extensive psychiatric history. These findings were interpreted as being supportive of the assertion that the new Static-99R normative groups are related to preselection based on the differences on dynamic factors.
    Full-text · Article · Apr 2012 · International Journal of Offender Therapy and Comparative Criminology
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