Effectiveness of Sex Offender Treatment
November 2, 2009 by
Dear Readers: The summary is from the Bureau of Justice Assistance of the US Department of Justice and is available through http://www.ojp.usdoj.gov/BJA/evaluation/e-news/oct09.pdf . SEX OFFENDERS 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.