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Are sex offenders rehabilitative and should the government impose the death penalty on them?

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Preet L.
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  1. Introduction.
    1. Academic debates on rehabilitation programs geared towards the treatment of sex offenders.
    2. Highlights brought forth by psychological research and theory on the complexity of sex offending.
  2. Sexual recidivism.
    1. Wide discrepancies in figures.
    2. General sizes of treatment effects on sexual recidivism.
    3. Measure of sexual recidivism through examination of reconviction rates of sex offenders.
  3. Recent overview of treatment program effectiveness.
    1. Methodological differences in program.
    2. Comparative analysis with Australia.
    3. Evaluation conducted on the CUBIT programs.
  4. Indications of international research study in 2002 addressing recidivism rates.
    1. Kia Marama Treatment program for adult sex offenders in New Zealand.
    2. Sex offenders are generally older than most other types of offenders.
  5. The problem of low reporting and Kauffmans's assertion.
  6. Various psychological models based on psychoanalytic, behaviourist, social learning, cognitive perspectives and explanations offered by them.
    1. Micro level theories.
    2. Integrating a single and descriptive theory into a more comprehensive model.
    3. The Precondition Model.
    4. Adam Walsh Child protection and Safety Act.
  7. Conclusion.

Recent, emerging academic debate has polarised opinion as to whether rehabilitation programs geared towards the treatment of sex offenders are in fact successful in reducing ?sexual recidivism? (Marques 1999). Resolving this debate is a difficult task due to the inherent limitations of research methodology. For example, Macgregor highlights the point that ?evaluations of programs are often hindered by the small sample sizes of treated sex offenders? (2008). Macgregor further develops the argument that if the barometer for measuring successive periods of offender recidivism post-treatment complete treatment is not adequate, this effectively undermines the reliability of any evaluations determining program effectiveness (Macgregor, 2008). Moreover, psychological research and theory has highlighted the diverse complexity of factors pertaining to the aetiology of sex offending such as heterogeneity of types, styles, process mechanisms and degrees of offence severity of offenders.

[...] How to answer the question: Does sex offender treatment work? Journal of Interpersonal Violence, 14(4) 437-451. Marshall, W. L., & Barbaree, H.E., (1988). The long term evaluation of behavioural treatment program for child molesters. Behaviour Research and Therapy, 499-511. Marshall, W.L., & Barbaree, H.E., (1990) An integrated theory of the aetiology of sexual offending, in W.L. Marshall, D.R. Laws & H.E. Barbaree (Eds) Handbook of sexual assault: Issues, theories and treatment of the offender. New York: Plenum. Marshall, W.L. & Marshall, L.E. [...]


[...] Marshall and Marshall took this further by analysing the random controlled trial design, concluding that it is not an appropriate method for measuring the effectiveness of sex offender treatment (2007). Interestingly, it has been noted that methodological differences in program evaluations may influence the inconsistencies in sexual recidivism rates (Marques 1999, Lievore 2004; Chung et al. 2006). For example, in the US, one method of sex offender treatment involves cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) based therapy to target the criminal of sex offenders. The majority of the adult programs predominantly focus on sex offenders who are at a low-moderate and moderate-high risk of re-offending (Marshall 2007). [...]


[...] First report of the collaborative outcome data project on the effectiveness of psychological treatment of sex offenders. Sexual Abuse: A Journal of Research and Treatment 169- 194. Hoy, A. & Bright, D.A. (in press) Effectiveness of a Sex Offender Treatment Programme: A Risk Band Analysis. Sydney. Lievore, D. (2004) Recidivism of Sexual Assault offenders: Rates, Risk Factors and Treatment Efficacy. A report prepare for the Office of Statement of Women. Australian Institute of Criminology. Losel, F. & Schmucker, M. (2005). [...]

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