Sex Offender Treatment and Legislation

Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, The Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, and National Institute for the Study, Prevention and Treatment of Sexual Trauma, Baltimore, MD, USA.
The journal of the American Academy of Psychiatry and the Law (Impact Factor: 0.93). 02/2003; 31(4):510-3.
Source: PubMed


The current issue of the Journal contains three articles related to sex offenders. The first, by Scott and Holmberg, discusses legislation that mandates either "chemical or surgical castration." The second, by Saleh and Guidry, reviews diagnostic and treatment considerations. The third, by Scott and Gerbasi, discusses sex offender registration and community notification. Much of the relevant sex offender legislation, including that pertaining to testosterone-lowering treatments, has been enacted in response to intense public passion. When it comes to the issue of sex offenders, there is a pressing need to develop a coherent body of evidence-based forensic concepts and knowledge that can rationally inform both clinical practice and future public policy. That may require a closer collaboration between both the criminal justice and legislative sectors, and the scientific-medical communities. The three papers published in this issue provide useful information that may assist toward such a goal.

Download full-text


Available from: Fred S Berlin, Jul 20, 2015
  • Source
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: The relationship of surgical castration to sexual recidivism in a sexually violent predator/sexually dangerous person (SVP/SDP) population is reviewed. A review of the literature on castrated sex offenders reveals a very low incidence of sexual recidivism. The low sexual recidivism rates reported are critiqued in light of the methodologic limitations of the studies. Better designed testicular/prostate cancer studies have demonstrated that, while sexual desire is reduced by orchiectomy, the capacity to develop an erection in response to sexually stimulating material is not eliminated. The relevance of this literature to SVP/SDP commitment decisions and ethics is discussed. Two vignettes of castrated, high-risk sex offenders illustrate how to address risk reduction. Two tables are presented: the first outlines individual case data from a difficult-to-obtain report, and the second summarizes the most frequently cited castration studies on sexual recidivism. Orchiectomy may have a role in risk assessments; however, other variables should be considered, particularly as the effects can be reversed by replacement testosterone.
    Full-text · Article · Feb 2005 · The journal of the American Academy of Psychiatry and the Law
  • Source
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Victoria's new Serious Sex Offenders Monitoring Act 2005 established a new regime whereby high-risk child-sex offenders can receive intensive, long-term supervision in the community post incarceration. Motivation for the new Act stemmed from increasing public outcry regarding a small number of known child-sex offenders sexually recidivating, and presumes that this recidivism should have been, and could have been, predicted and therefore prevented. The present article reviews the nature and purpose of this new sex offender legislation, and discusses some of the theoretical, practical and clinical issues in forensic psychiatric and psychological research highlighted by its implementation. The sole focus of the legislation on child-sexual offenders implies that these offences are more severe, or more recidivistic, than other sexual or violent crimes, a contention that is not wholly supported by the literature. Furthermore, research on many of the crimes specified under the Act is limited, and many questions remain unanswered regarding our ability to predict sexual recidivism, particularly in legal contexts where the consequences of false predictions are so severe. Further research on base rates and risk prediction of these specific offences, and in Australian populations, is required in order to justify the conclusions on which this law is based.
    Full-text · Article · Nov 2006 · Psychiatry Psychology and Law
  • Source
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Megan's Law, an effort to enhance community safety by requiring sex offenders to register and to notify their communities, often for life, has been enacted in all jurisdictions of the United States. Although the ostensible intent of the law is nonpunitive, many registrants feel it infringes on their freedom. Nevertheless, the law has passed constitutional scrutiny. Megan's Law pertains principally to convicted sex offenders, including those adults and juveniles who have entered guilty pleas. This article reveals that many jurisdictions require individuals found not guilty by reason of insanity (NGRI) to register if the offense in question falls under Megan's Law. Thus, insanity acquittees run the risk of interminable supervision. We discuss a recent challenge to the Arkansas registration law and the decision's implications for planning forensic mental health testimony.
    Preview · Article · Feb 2008 · The journal of the American Academy of Psychiatry and the Law
Show more