Thursday, February 4, 2016

Chapter 7: Effectiveness of Treatment for Adult Sex Offenders

Chapter 7: Effectiveness of Treatment for Adult Sex Offenders


Sex offenders have received considerable attention in recent years from both policymakers and the public. This is due at least in part to the profound impact that sex crimes have on victims and the larger community. Perpetrators of sex crimes have come to be viewed by policymakers, practitioners, and arguably the public as a unique group of offenders in need of special management practices. Indeed, therapeutic interventions aimed at reducing the likelihood of reoffending have become a staple of contemporary sex offender management practice. (For more on "Sex Offender Management Strategies," see chapter 8 in the Adult section.)

... ... ...

SMART Office recidivism studies fail to show -within the study-
who the target study population was.
This failure, allows recidivism studies to be misapplied,
generally to ALL offenders.

One such study, on this SMART page, is:

Oliver, Wong, and Nicholaichuk (2008) conducted a treatment outcome study that examined the effects of a high-intensity sex offender treatment program in a Canadian prison. The program employed a cognitive-behavioral approach and it subscribed to the RNR principles of effective correctional intervention. The 2008 study was an extension of an earlier evaluation that found that sex offender treatment worked for both first-time and repeat sex offenders. In this study, 14.5 percent of treated offenders were convicted of new sexual offenses compared to 33.2 percent of the untreated comparison group offenders, based on an average followup period of 6 years (Nicholaichuk et al., 2000).14 A higher proportion of treated offenders (48 percent) compared with untreated offenders (28.3 percent) also remained out of prison during the followup period. Treatment, however, did not appear to affect the rate at which new nonsexual crimes were committed.
Hidden and failed to be explained is, what a high-intensity sex offender treatment program in a Canadian prison, is: It is a treatment program of SVPs, likened in the U.S. to a Civil Commitment Center program. Full explanation at end below:
The 2008 study was more rigorous than the original study. It was based on a larger sample size (472 treated and 265 untreated sex offenders) and a longer followup period. It also incorporated survival analysis, statistical controls of several factors that have been empirically linked to sexual recidivism (such as time at risk, age at release, and sexual offending history), and an intent-to-treat design.15 Sexual reconviction rates were examined across followup periods of various lengths of time. Significant differences between the recidivism rates of treated and untreated offenders were found at each followup period (see table 1).

Positive treatment effects persisted after controlling for age and sexual offending history. In addition, survival analysis indicated that positive treatment effects persisted over time. Oliver, Wong, and Nicholaichuk (2008, p. 533) stated:
In conclusion, the present study provides empirical support to indicate that a high-intensity treatment program for moderate- to high-risk sex offenders that follows the 'what works' principles can yield reductions in sexual recidivism in both the shorter- and longer-term, even after potentially confounding variables were controlled for. In short, treatment appeared to 'work' for this group of sex offenders.

Found on another SMART Office page about the above study:
Oliver, Wong, and Nicholaichuk (2008) conducted a treatment outcome study that examined the sexual recidivism rates of 472 treated and 282 untreated sex offenders. Sexual reconviction rates were examined across various followup periods. For the treated sex offenders, the researchers found sexual reconviction rates of 11.1 percent after 3 years of followup, 16.9 percent after 5 years of followup, and 21.8 percent after 10 years of followup. Sexual reconviction rates for the untreated sex offenders were 17.7 percent after 3 years, 24.5 percent after 5 years, and 32.3 percent after 10 years of followup.

Findings from the study conducted by Oliver, Wong, and Nicholaichuk (2008), like those from the Harris and Hanson (2004) analysis, demonstrate how the recidivism rates of sex offenders increase as followup periods become longer. ... ... ...

The study is explained in this 2010 paper on pg-2120 "Sex Offender Civil Commitment: The Treatment Paradox":

However, sexually violent predators-who have designated mental illnesses and pose a high risk of reoffending-may respond differently to treatment than the average sex offender analyzed in these meta-analyses. Few studies focus on high-risk prison inmates who, similarly to sexually violent predators, receive treatment in secure state hospitals. Thus, the Clearwater Treatment Program-a high-intensity inpatient sex offender program in a Canadian federal maximum-security correctional treatment facility-provides a valuable case study.162

The Clearwater Program study followed moderate-tohigh-risk sex offenders who had completed a six-to-nine-month long cognitive behavioral treatment program.163

Significant group differences were observed between the treatment group and the control group at each stage of follow-up: 5.9 percent versus 13.6 percent after two years; 11.1 percent versus 17.7 percent after three years; 16.9 percent versus 24.5 percent after five years, and 2.8 percent versus 32.3 percent after ten years.'164

A related study examined the sexual-violence recidivism rates for the forty-five "psychopathic sex offenders" in the Clearwater Program over a ten-year follow-up period.165

Psychopathic offenders who failed to complete the cognitive-behavioral treatment program were more likely to recidivate violently but not more likely to recidivate sexually than those who completed the program.166 Researchers studying the Clearwater Program concluded that high-intensity treatment programs can decrease a moderate-to-high-risk sex offender's risk of sexual recidivism in both the short and long run.167

Footnotes pg-2120
162. See Mark E. Olver & Stephen C.P. Wong, Therapeutic Responses of Psychopathic Sexual Offenders: Treatment Attrition, Therapeutic Change, and Long-Term Recidivism, 77 J.CONSULTING & CLINICAL PSYCHOL. 328, 328-29 (2009).
163. Mark E. Olver, Stephen C.P. Wong & Terry P. Nicholaichuk, Outcome Evaluation of a High-Intensity Inpatient Sex Offender Treatment Program, 24 J. INTERPERSONAL VIOLENCE 522, 526 (2009) (subjects had a history of one or more prior sexual offenses).


Saturday, August 29, 2015

Historical Studies of Adult Sexual Offenders: Sexual History Interviews

SMART Office Paper: Chapter 3

As noted above, very few studies focused on juveniles who commit sexual offenses were undertaken prior to the 1980s, and very little attention arguably was paid to this population by juvenile justice policymakers and practitioners. That all began to change, however, when a series of retrospective studies based on sexual history interviews with adult sex offenders was conducted in the late 1970s and early 1980s.

In these studies, adult sex offenders self-reported a significant, previously unidentified history of sexual offending, which included sexual offending as a juvenile. For example, 24 to 75 percent of the adult sex offenders reported committing sexual offenses that were unidentified by authorities and 24 to 36 percent reported sexual offending that began when the respondent was a juvenile. In one of the studies (Longo & Groth, 1983), adult sexual offenders reported a juvenile history of indecent exposure and voyeurism, suggesting that juveniles who commit less severe sex crimes can progress to committing more serious adult sex offenses.

Despite their limitations, these studies played a significant role in shifting policy and practice. Juveniles who commit sexual offenses began to be viewed as budding adult sex offenders, and efforts to intervene with this population began to be based on the assumption that they were fundamentally similar to adults who were engaged in sex offending behavior (see, for example, Groth, 1977; Groth, Longo, & McFadin, 1982; Longo & Groth, 1983; Marshall, Barbaree, & Eccles, 1991). ..Source: SMART Office Study..

(All Longo papers are here) ---- And see NY Times 2007 "How Can You Distinguish a Budding Pedophile From a Kid With Real Boundary Problems?"

Friday, August 28, 2015

Do tough sex offender restrictions really hurt women and children more than keeping them safe?

8-28-15 National:

The question in the title of this post is prompted by this lengthy new Al-Jazeera America article headlined "Collateral damage: Harsh sex offender laws may put whole families at risk: Research says that registries and residency bans leave children of sex offenders vulnerable to bullying, homelessness." Here are excerpts:
In 1996, Congress passed Megan’s Law, which allowed states to publicize the names of those convicted of sex offenses. A wave of federal and state laws followed that created online sex offender registries, broadened who is listed and restricted where registrants can live.

But today there’s a growing body of research and court opinions questioning those laws’ effectiveness and constitutionality. No studies have looked at what proportion of the country’s nearly 850,000 people on state registries are providing for families of their own. Activists say, however, that thousands of female partners and children are being hurt by laws that aim to protect kids....

Vicki Henry, who runs Women Against the Registry, a group trying to roll back registration and residency laws nationwide, [with] volunteers operate a hotline for family members of registrants seeking help in dealing with the consequences of those laws. They field about 100 calls a month, Henry says.

The only quantitative study to date suggests how serious those consequences may be. In the American Journal of Criminal Justice in January 2009, researchers Jill Levenson and Richard Tewksbury reported on their survey of nearly 600 immediate family members of registrants. More than 20 percent said they had to move out of a rental because their landlord found their relative’s name on the registry, and 40 percent said they found it hard to find an affordable place to live.

Respondents said that their kids didn’t fare well either. Two-thirds reported that their children felt left out of activities because of their parent’s status, more than three-quarters said their children were depressed, and almost half reported that their children were harassed....

Two new qualitative studies provide more backing for the 2009 study findings. From 2010 to 2012, a team of researchers from four universities surveyed almost 450 registrants about the consequences for their families of their being on the list. Their report on the study ran in the October 2014 Justice Policy Journal. Another by two University of Delaware researchers involved surveys last year of 36 family members and interviews with 16 of them; it’s still under review for publication. Both studies asked open-ended questions, so the researchers couldn’t crunch any numbers. But key themes run through the responses — children being shunned and harassed, families struggling to find a place to live, wives losing friends and jobs because a husband is on the list....

Those families may be the collateral damage in a war on sex crimes that’s been underway since passage of Megan’s Law. But it’s far from clear that the chief weapons politicians have employed — registries and residency bans — are helping to protect children or the public.

None of the six studies on sex offender registries conducted between 1995 and 2011 found that registries lowered recidivism, according to a meta-analysis of 20 years of research in the November 2012 Journal of Crime and Justice. “Over the last 15 years, sex offender registries have been established in all empirical forums not to reduce sexual offending behavior, violence, or the number of victims,” Kristen Zgoba, coauthor of that study, wrote in an email.

There’s an even broader consensus on residency restrictions. A U.S. Department of Justice brief released last month concluded that “research has demonstrated that residence restrictions do not decrease and are not a deterrent for sexual recidivism.” And a December 2013 study report in the journal Criminal Justice Policy Review noted that Florida’s residency laws likely play a “significant role” in homelessness and transience among sex offenders.
..Source.. by Sentencing Law and Policy