Success in the Media

Effectiveness of Sex Offender Treatment

Dear Readers: The summary is from the Bureau of Justice Assistance of the US Department of Justice and is available through .
Duwe and Goldman evaluated the effectiveness of prison-based treatment for sex offenders.
This study examined the recidivism outcomes for 2,040 treated and untreated
sex offenders released from Minnesota prisons between 1990 and 2003, with an average
follow-up period of 9.3 years. The treatment program consisted of assessment,
therapy, chemical dependency treatment, family/support education, and psychoeducational
programming. The recidivism measures used in this study were rearrest, reconviction,
and reincarceration for a new offense. The authors found that the treatment
group had lower reoffense rates than untreated offenders for each of the recidivism
measures for sexual offenses, violent offenses, and general offenses. Overall, prisonbased
treatment in Minnesota did produce modest, but significant reductions in sex offender
recidivism. The study, Recidivism: Evidence from Minnesota,
Hanson, Bourgon, Helmus, and Hodgson conducted a meta-analysis to assess whether
the principles associated with effective treatment for general offenders Risk Needs Responsivity
(RNR) also applied to sex offender treatment. Their analysis was based on
23 recidivism outcome studies of sex offenders. They found that programs that adhered
to the RNR principles showed the largest reductions in both sexual and general
recidivism. While the authors believe that their findings indicate that RNR principles
should be considered in the design and implementation of treatment programs for sex
offenders, they also noted that more studies with strong research designs are needed.
The study, Offenders: A Meta-Analysis, The Principles of Effective Correctional Treatment.

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