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.)
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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.....
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
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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).