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Dropout From Sex-Offender Treatment and Dimensions of Risk of Sexual Recidivism

NCJ Number
221325
Journal
Criminal Justice and Behavior Volume: 35 Issue: 1 Dated: January 2008 Pages: 24-33
Author(s)
Kevin L. Nunes; Franca Cortoni
Date Published
January 2008
Length
10 pages
Annotation
The study examined the association between general criminality and sexual deviance and the risk of dropout or expulsion from a sex-offender treatment program.
Abstract
Findings suggest that not all sexual recidivism risk factors are related to dropout or expulsion from sex-offender treatment programs; only the general criminality dimension of risk for sexual recidivism may be predictive of dropout/expulsion from sex-offender treatment programs, whereas sexual deviance factors specific to sexual recidivism appear to be less important. Even among child molesters, the same pattern of result was found; sexual arousal to violence may predict dropout for sex offenders with child victims, whereas other types of sexual deviance may not. Important implications for the management of sex offenders highlight the necessity for specificity in conceptualizing risk. Risk for sexual recidivism does not appear to be synonymous with risk for dropout/expulsion from sex-offender programs. Highly deviant offenders low on general criminality, such as persistent male-victim child molesters with no nonsexual offense history, can be cooperative in treatment. Similarly, a sex offender who has many risk factors specific to sexual recidivism might be no more likely to drop out of a program than a sex offender without those same factors, assuming similar levels of criminality. There is substantial overlap between risk of sexual recidivism and risk of program dropout/expulsion. Sex offenders at very high risk of sexual recidivism would usually have both sexual deviance and general criminality factors, and thus would be expected to be at elevated risk for both outcomes. Basing estimates of risk for dropout/expulsion on general criminality rather than sexual deviance may be a more effective and efficient strategy for managing sex offenders. Assignment to pretreatment programs to bolster motivation may be best determined by an offender’s level of general criminality, not the level of sexual deviance. The sample consisted of 52 offenders who dropped out or were expelled from a sex-offender program, and a comparison group of 48 offenders who completed the program. Tables, references