A treatment service for adolescent sex offenders

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Will, D. (1994). A treatment service for adolescent sex offenders. Psychiatric Bulletin, 18, 742-744.

This study conducted a case-note survey of youth sex offenders referred to the unit from 1988 to 1983. Information regarding the personal and family history, mental health, and demographic data such as age, gender, and types of offenses were also gathered. It was found that the referral rate for the unit was 10.5 per year, offenses ranged from lewd behavior to rape and incest. All the referred adolescents were male between the ages of 13 t 19 and had been charged with one or more types of sex offenses. A great number of the referred patients were found to have psychiatric conditions and disorders; it ranged from socialized conduct disorder, mental retardation, personality disorders, and alcohol dependence. The referrals who received treatment had lower risks of re-offending while those who did not received treatment was twenty five percent more likely to commit another sex offense. The researcher concluded that treatment of sex-offenders may lower the likelihood of re-offending; however, there is a need to evaluate treatment programs of sex-offenders to determine the efficacy of the program and its delivery.

It is surprising to note that rehabilitation or treatment programs for sex-offenders have had a short history. In 1988, the Royal Edinburgh Hospital was the first to offer such program specifically designed for youth sex offenders. Considering that, sex-offenders have the most damaging effects into the lives of their victims. For example, the survey found that half of the cases had histories of childhood sexual abuse, and that although the

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author said that sexual abuse is not a prerequisite for later sexual misconduct, it is still highly possible that victims become abusers in their adulthood. The paper also revealed that the treatment of sex-offenders at that period concentrated on treating the psychiatric conditions of the cases and not the sexual misbehavior. The article however showed that the treatment program did lower the risks of re-offending but it was only given to those who admitted their offenses. Thus, cases who denied their offenses maybe the more evil and needs adequate intervention and treatment.

This paper is a simple case-note survey, it derived its information and findings from existing records since most of the cases had long stopped treatment or have lost contact with the hospital. The paper is short and describes all the data that was gathered to depict the kind of cases that the hospital worked with in 1988 to 1993. The title of the article was treatment service, and naturally, it would be expected that the article will discuss the treatment and methods used in the treatment program but it was not given emphasis in the paper, instead the author described the characteristics of the referrals, and treatment outcome.

Grubin, D., & Madsen, L. (2006). Accuracy and utility of post-conviction polygraph testing of sex offenders. The British Journal of Psychiatry, 188, 479-483.

This study is a descriptive research project designed to determine the accuracy and utility of the polygraph tests in the post-conviction treatment of convicted sex-offenders. The study recruited participants from a local community center, male and female participants agreed to take part in the project. Most of the participants had been convicted of sex

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related offenses most of which involved contact sexual offences. The participants were subjected to measures of personality, intelligence, risk of re-offending and experience with polygraph testing. The participants also completed a self-report survey that asked them of their specific experiences, incidence of lying and truthfulness in their polygraph tests and how it influenced their treatment plans. The results indicated that most of the participants had found the regular polygraph tests useful and helpful in preventing the incidence of re-offending, compliance with treatment and avoiding risk-behaviors. It was concluded that the polygraph tests had a high degree of accuracy in terms of predicting lying or deception and truthfulness, also, it was surmised that the polygraph was useful in keeping them in the community treatment programs.

This study reported on a treatment program for sex-offenders in the community, it is alarming to think that people who live in our neighborhoods can possibly be a sex-offender. It also gave me the idea that not all sex-offenders have psychiatric disorders that warranted their being locked up in an institution. The presence of community treatment programs indicates that sexual offenses are committed by sane people who in a fit of insanity commit violating acts. The use of polygraph tests also indicate a means of monitoring and managing the behavior of sex-offenders as they go back to society, in reality however, polygraph tests can only provide a picture of the experiences and crimes of sex-offender and not really his/her thoughts and feelings while he/she was committing the crime.

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The article is a descriptive survey and tried to determine the efficacy of polygraph testing to the treatment of community-based sex-offenders. Although it was found that most have found the polygraph accurate at eighty-five percent based on participant responses and useful in preventing re-offending and risk taking behavior, this came only from half of the participants that they initially gathered. Half of the sex-offenders receiving treatment declined participation in the study, which indicates that they had a different view of the treatment process and it might have altered the findings of the present study.

Langevin, R., & Curnoe, S. (2008). Are the mentally retarded and learning disabled overrepresented among sex offenders and paraphilics? International Journal of Offender Therapy and Comparative Criminology, 52(4), 401-415.

This study surveyed a large number of sex-offenders and paraphilics and non-sexual offenders for mental retardation and learning disorders. The participants of the study were convicted sex-offenders and non-sex offenders and paraphilics and took the Wechsler Intelligence tests. It was found that mental retardation was not overrepresented in the group. Most of the participants had average intelligence and were highly functioning individuals. On the other hand, the learning disabled were overrepresented in the group. This meant that low intelligence may not necessarily predispose a person to sex-offenses but those with learning disabilities are more likely to commit sexual offenses. The implication of the finding suggests that learning disability may compound the efficacy of the treatment of the sex-offender and that the state is poorly equipped to provide for the needs of learning disabled sex-offenders.

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After reading this article, I came to realize that sex-offenders are not imbecile individuals; actually, most of them are like you and me, imagine if we come across someone who turns out to be a sex-offender and have no idea of it. It has been a common presumption that individuals, who commit sexual offenses are generally uninhibited, have no regards for his/her personal dignity and have mental health issues or psychiatric distress. At best, these are all false and most sex-offenders frequently have average intelligences, although they may have learning disabilities like dyslexia, ADHD and the like which can easily be addressed considering the attention that LD is receiving nowadays.

The paper is written simply and can easily be understood, the results and conclusions are consistent, and it tried to answer the initial research question. The measure used for LD though was not indicated in the article and it is presumed that it was reported by the Wechsler results. However, learning disabilities need a different set of assessment tools to be able to say for sure that one is suffering form such condition.


Grubin, D., & Madsen, L. (2006). Accuracy and utility of post-conviction polygraph

testing of sex offenders. The British Journal of Psychiatry, 188, 479-483.

Polygraph is used increasingly in the treatment and supervision of sex offenders, but little research has addressed its accuracy in this setting, or linked accuracy with utility.

The aim of the study is to investigate the utility and accuracy of polygraph in post-conviction testing of community-based sex offenders. A self-report measure examined the experiences of offenders with polygraph. Based on self-report, the polygraph’s accuracy was approximately 85%. False negatives and false positives were not associated with demographic characteristics, personality variables, or IQ. The majority of offenders found the polygraph to be helpful in both treatment and supervision. Nine percent of offenders claimed to have made false disclosures; these individuals had higher scores on ratings of neuroticism and lower scores on ratings of conscientiousness. These results support the view that the polygraph is both accurate and useful in the treatment and supervision of sex offenders.


Langevin, R., & Curnoe, S. (2008). Are the mentally retarded and learning disabled

overrepresented among sex offenders and paraphilics? International Journal of Offender Therapy and Comparative Criminology, 52(4), 401-415.

A sample of 2,286 male sex offenders and paraphilics and 241 nonsex offenders was evaluated for the prevalence of mental retardation and learning disorders, using the full Wechsler IQ scales. The sex offenders were generally of average intelligence, and the mentally retarded were not overrepresented among them, but the learning disordered were. There were no differences among sex offenders and controls in overall IQ or in the percentage of mentally retarded or learning-disordered cases, suggesting that the learning difficulties are not peculiar to sex offenders. There was a bias in referral source, with more mentally retarded, borderline-retarded, and/or learning-disordered cases being referred by the Children’s Aid Society, prisons, and the Crown, suggesting that referral source may play a significant role in evaluating intelligence and mental retardation among sex offenders; but the overrepresentation of learning disorders among criminals appears to be a significant phenomenon, regardless of referral source. http://ijo.sagepub.com/cgi/content/abstract/52/4/401

Will, D. (1994). A treatment service for adolescent sex offenders. Psychiatric Bulletin,

18, 742-744.

A case-note survey was carried out on the first 50 referrals to a treatment service for adolescent sex offenders. The average rate of referral was 10.5 per year and all referrals were male. Of those who attended, 66% showed evidence of psychiatric morbidity, while only a minority had a past history of child sexual abuse. The majority had offended against victims known to them. Treatment was labour-intensive with a mean of 19 sessions being provided per patient. Of those taken on for treatment, 2.6% re-offended, while of those not offered treatment, 25% did so.



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