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SEX OFFENDER TREATMENT PROGRAMS. Anthony Beech University of Birmingham Email: [email protected] Meta-analytic studies of sex offender treatment.

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sex offender treatment programs

SEX OFFENDER TREATMENT PROGRAMS

Anthony Beech

University of Birmingham

Email: [email protected]

Treatment of sex offenders

meta analytic studies of sex offender treatment
Meta-analytic studies of sex offender treatment
  • Hanson et al. (2002) (N = 9,534) sexual recidivism rate for the treated groups was lower than that of the comparison groups (12.3% versus 16.8% respectively;)
  • Lösel & Schmucker, 2005 (N = 22,181) treated offenders showed 37% less sexual recidivism that untreated controls
  • Beech, Robertson and Freemantle (in preparation) (N = 14694) A positive effect of treatment in sexual reconviction reduction (9.39% in the treated group versus 15.61% in untreated controls)
  • The Beech et al. study has an odds ratio of 0.54, CI 0.43 - 0.69, p < 0.0001) indicating that the likelihood of individuals being reconvicted after treatment was around half that of those who had not undertaken treatment
aims of talk
Aims of talk
  • Give a description of the current approach to the treatment of sexual offenders in Prison and Probation Services in the U.K. which is based on the “What Works’ approach
  • Outline some evidence as CBT’s effectiveness with sex offenders
  • Describe some innovations in treatment
  • Describe a more critical take on the WW literature
  • Future of sex offender treatment

Treatment of sex offenders

the what works initiative in the u k
The ‘What Works’ initiative in the U.K.
  • In June 1998 Probation Circular 25/1998 entitled ‘Effective Practice Initiative: National Implementation Plan for Supervising Offenders published by the Home Office
  • Starting what is know as the ‘What Works’ Initiative in the Probation Service
  • This approach broadly used in the Prison Service since the early 1991

Treatment of sex offenders

basis of initiative
Basis of Initiative
  • The development and implementation on a national basis of a demonstrably ‘effective a core set of programmes of supervision for offenders (Mair, 2004)
  • Mair notes that such programmes are ‘heavily dependent upon a cognitive-behavioural treatment (CBT) approach’

Treatment of sex offenders

principles associated with the what works approach
Principles associated with the “What Works’ approach
  • Risk treatment service is delivered to higher-risk (as opposed to lower risk cases
  • Need criminogenic needs are targetted for change (i.e., procriminal attitudes rather than self-esteem
  • Responsivity styles and modes of treatment are employed that are capable of influencing criminogenic needs
  • Appropriate treatment delivery the clinician reviews risk, need and responsivity, treatment decisions appropriate according to ethical, humanitarian, cost-efficiency and clinical standards
  • Cognitive-behavioural treatment according to this ‘risk-needs’ model

Treatment of sex offenders

why target high risk individuals
Why target high risk individuals?
  • Andrews et al. (1990) if risk cases reported separately in studies then larger effects found for higher risk cases
  • Might be expected as these are the people who untreated are much more likely to recidivate

Treatment of sex offenders

why target need
Why target Need?
  • Dowden (1998) found that targetting ‘more promising targets’ reduced recidivism more than ‘less promising targets’

Treatment of sex offenders

promising targets for change
Promising targets for change
  • Changing antisocial attitudes
  • Changing antisocial feelings
  • Reducing antisocial peer associations
  • Promoting identification/ association with anti-criminal role models
  • Increasing self-control, self- management, and problems solving skills
  • Reducing chemical dependency
  • Changing other attributes that have been identified with criminal conduct

Treatment of sex offenders

less promising targets
Less promising targets
  • Increasing self-esteem without simultaneous reductions in anti-social thinking, feeling and peer associations
  • Focusing on vague emotional complaints that have not been linked with criminal conduct
  • Increasing the cohesiveness of antisocial peer groups
  • Showing respect for anti-social thinking on the grounds that the values of one (antisocial) culture are equally valid as the values of another culture
  • Attempting to turn the client into a better person when standards of being a better person do not link with recidivism

Treatment of sex offenders

responsivity learning styles
Responsivity - learning styles
  • In the broadest sense, this is taken to mean that forensic rehabilitation programmes should be based on cognitive-behavioural/social learning principles
  • It also means, arguably, that programmes should be designed specifically for offenders who have learning difficulties, offenders from different cultural backgrounds, and for personality disorder offenders (Beech & Mann, 2002)

Treatment of sex offenders

why address responsivity
Why address responsivity
  • Identify offender characteristics such as
    • Interpersonal sensitivity
    • Anxiety
    • Verbal intelligence
    • Cognitive maturity
  • By identifying personality and cognitive styles, treatment can be better matched to the client

Treatment of sex offenders

appropriate treatment delivery
Appropriate treatment delivery
  • Here the clinician needs to review:
    • Risk
    • Need
    • Responsivity
    • And make decisions about treatment according to ethical, humanitarian, cost-efficiency and clinical standards

Treatment of sex offenders

evidence supporting rnr sex offender work hanson bourgon helmus hodgson 2009
Evidence supporting RNR sex offender work (Hanson, Bourgon, Helmus, & Hodgson (2009) )
  • Hanson, Bourgon, Helmus and Hodgson (2009) report the most recent examination of effects of treatment examining 23 studies (n=6746) that met the basic criteria for quality of design
  • All studies were rated on the extent to which they adhered to the risk, need, and responsivity (RNR) principles of the ‘What Works’ approach
  • Hanson et al. found that the sexual recidivism rate in untreated samples was 19%, compared to 11% in treated samples
  • Studies that adhered to all three RNR principles were found to produce recidivism rates that were less than half of the recidivism rates of comparison groups
  • While studies that followed none of the RNR principles had little effect in reducing recidivism levels.
settings
Settings
  • Principles of effective interventions are hypothesised to apply regardless of setting within which treatment was delivered
  • In fact setting seen as being of minimal significance in the control of recidivism

Treatment of sex offenders

cbt the behavioural bit
CBT: The behavioural bit
  • Originally this was confined to the use of conditioning procedures to alter behaviour i.e. rewarding desired behaviours and punishing unwanted behaviours
  • But has since broadened out to include such things as modelling (demonstrating a desired behaviour) and skills training (teaching specific skills through behavioural rehearsal)

Treatment of sex offenders

cbt the cognitive bit
CBT: The cognitive bit
  • Concerns the thoughts or cognitions that individuals experience and which are known to affect their mood state and determine their behaviour
  • Cognitive therapy thus aims to alter an individual’s behaviour by encouraging the individual to think differently about events, thus giving rise to different affect and behaviour
  • The use of self-instruction and self-monitoring, in addition to developing an awareness of how one thinks affects how one feels and behaves are vital components in cognitive therapy

Treatment of sex offenders

meta analytic evidence base for cbt
Meta-analytic evidence base for CBT

Kenworthy et al. (2004) (N = 500+)

  • CBT and behavioural treatment ↓ sexual recidivism
  • psychodynamic n.s

Alexander (1999) recidivism rates (N = ????)

  • Untreated 25.8% (119/461)
  • Group/ behavioural 18.3% (96/254)
  • Unspecified 13.6% (127/931)
  • RP-CBT 8.1% (18/221

Lösel and Schmucker (2005) (N = 22,181 )

  • CBT and behavioural treatment ↓ sexual recidivism
  • Insight oriented, therapeutic community, n.s.

other psychosocial

Robertson, Beech, & Freemantle (in preparation) (N = 14,694 )

  • CBT and behavioural treatment ↓ sexual recidivism
  • psychodynamic n.s
treatment in practice
Treatment in practice

Treatment of sex offenders

innovations in the sex offender field regarding treatment
Innovations in the Sex Offender Field regarding Treatment
  • Mann (2005) notes that the following
    • Accreditation
    • Schema-focused interventions
    • Dynamic assessment
    • Focus on process issues
  • While Beech & Mann (2002) note the importance of
    • Matching offenders to treatment
    • Engaging offenders in assessment and treatment

Treatment of sex offenders

accreditation
Accreditation
  • The Correctional Services Panel was set-up in 1999 to accredit programmes for national use
  • Mair (2004) notes that while the panel does not rule out any effective method no doubt preference for CBT approach

Treatment of sex offenders

accreditation criteria 1
Accreditation Criteria 1
  • Clear model of change backed by research evidence
  • Selection of offenders
  • Targeting dynamic risk factors
  • Range of targets
  • Effective methods
  • Skills oriented
  • Proper sequencing, intensity and duration of programmes

Treatment of sex offenders

accreditation criteria 2
Accreditation Criteria 2
  • Engagement and motivation
  • Promote community integration
  • Programme integrity
  • Properly managed & resourced, administered by trained staff who adhere to programme aims and objectives
  • Continuity of programmes and services
  • Ongoing monitoring
  • Ongoing evaluation

Treatment of sex offenders

accreditation25
Accreditation
  • The value of accreditation is that it has forced programme designers to think about how to incorporate these vital aspects of treatment into an overall design that also respects the need for programme integrity and systematic intervention (Mann, 2005)
  • Whilst it could be argued that such an approach is overly bureaucratic or stifles individuality and creativity in treatment in practice it has been found to increase accountability and insure that programmes are based on effective theoretical models (Mann, 2005)

Treatment of sex offenders

focus on process issues
Focus on Process Issues
  • Over the last twenty years, the vast majority of the sex offender treatment literature has focused on the content of treatment
  • Process issues were viewed with suspicion, partly because of the widely held view that sex offenders would manipulate and take advantage of any approach other than the firmly confrontational
  • Also because the fashion has been to see CBT as psycho-educational rather than psycho-therapeutic

Treatment of sex offenders

previous findings wppprecss ith the ges
PREVIOUS FINDINGS WPPprecss ITH THE GES

Treatment of sex offenders

a more critical take on the ww literature
A More Critical Take on the WW Literature
  • Use of meta-analyses
  • The Accreditation Panel
  • Use of positivist approach to treatment
  • The CBT approach
  • Gender and diversity issues

Treatment of sex offenders

use of meta analysis
Use of Meta-analysis
  • ‘Meta-analysis offers a rigorous alternative to the causal, narrative descriptions of research studies’ (Glass, 1976)but
    • Get out what you put in
    • Still a choice made about which studies to include
    • How to code variables
    • Different researchers come to different conclusions on the basis of the same data set
      • Whitehead & Lab (1989) - Treatment has little effect upon recidivism
      • Lösel (1993) - treatment does work
  • Problems in translating research into practice (Mair, 2004)

Treatment of sex offenders

the use of the accreditation panel
The use of the Accreditation Panel
  • Biased in favour of CBT approaches
  • It is more interested in rhetoric than reality
  • It is too prescriptive
  • Asked to move more quickly than such a venture should have to
  • Instead of encouraging exciting innovative work it (the panel) could all to easily lead to such initiatives being suffocated
  • (Mair, 2004. p25)

Treatment of sex offenders

positivist approach
Positivist Approach
  • A seeking to explain and predict behaviour of individuals - a positivist approach
  • That there is a single unified set of laws that best explain behaviour
  • Psychology, Psychiatry, and Social Work claim expert knowledge over the human mind and are able to manipulate these in a benign way.
  • In fact the ‘psy’ disciplines have made it possible to deal with criminals in a liberal way. Such interventions are backed up by objective science

Treatment of sex offenders

remoralisation in the what works approach
Remoralisation in the ‘What Works’ approach
  • Rose (1999) terms this ‘ethico-politics’
  • Which is becoming increasingly reflected in the criminal justice system
  • Offenders can either be remoralised
  • Those deemed as being irredeemably immoral deserve punishment and containment

Treatment of sex offenders

remoralisation in the what works approach33
Remoralisation in the ‘What Works’ approach
  • CBT works on the assumption that offenders have faulty or deficient thinking which causes them to engage in immoral/ antisocial behaviour
  • Programmes therefore aim to remoralise or ethically reconstruct offenders by teaching them how to think pro-socially (Kendall, 2004)
  • Underpinning these ideas then are that all individuals are equally socially positioned to be rational, responsible , moral and self disciplined
  • The system is essentially about social construction of an offender’s perceived risk and interventions that in theory are meant to minimise or manage risk (Mair, 2004)

Treatment of sex offenders

gender and diversity
Gender and diversity
  • Some would argue that classification practices and programmes inadequately address needs of women and minority ethnic groups
  • The whole ‘What Works’ scheme is is part of an escalating focus on managerialism, efficiency and accountability in correctional services and a move away from working with individual cases

Treatment of sex offenders

critique of the ww approach in sex offender work
Critique of the WW approach in sex offender work
  • Probably the primary critic of just using the criminogenic needs approach is Tony Ward (e.g., Ward, Mann & Gannon, 2007)
  • Who notes that current approaches regarding the identification risk factors and treatment to reduce the level of these risk factors is akin to a pin cushion approach
  • Where ‘each risk factor constitutes a pin and treatment focuses on the removal of each risk factor’
  • What has been rarely considered in this work is the relative strengths that individuals have to prevent themselves re-offending.

Strengths-based approaches

what works and strengths based approaches
‘What Works’ and Strengths based approaches
  • Therefore, according to Ward et al. the treatment of sexual offenders should be the combination of both the ‘What Works’ principles in order to reduce risk
  • As well as applying ‘Good Lives’ principles in order to enhance the strengths of the individual being worked with

Strengths-based approaches

ward s good lives approach
Ward’s ‘Good Lives’ approach
  • Applying positive psychology’s aims in the treatment of mainstream sexual offenders has been described by Ward and colleagues
  • Ward et al. (2006) note that human beings are naturally inclined to seek certain types of experiences or ‘human goods’ and experience high levels of well being if these good are obtained
  • Ward et al. (2007) note that primary goods are defined as ‘states of affairs, states of mind, personal characteristics, activities, or experiences that are sought for their own sake and are likely to achieve psychological well-being if achieved’

Strengths-based approaches

ward s 10 primary goods
Ward’s 10 primary goods
  • (1) life (i.e., healthy living and a high level of personal functioning)
  • (2) knowledge acquisition
  • (3) achievements both in work and play
  • (4) excellence in agency (i.e., being in control and the ability to be able to get things accomplished
  • (5) inner peace (i.e., lack of stress and inner tension/ emotional dysregulation)
  • (6) friendship (including intimate, romantic and family relationships)
  • (7) community (i.e., involvement with others beyond intimate/ family relationships)
  • (8) spirituality (in its broadest sense of finding meaning and purpose in life)
  • (9) happiness
  • (10) creativity.

Treatment of sex offenders

bad lives
‘Bad lives’
  • All kinds of problems (psychological, social and lifestyle) can emerge when these primary goods are pursued in inappropriate ways
  • Therefore, sexual offence behaviours become ways of achieving human goods either through a direct route where an individual does not have the skills or competencies to achieve these in an appropriate manner
  • Or through an indirect route where offending takes place to relieve the negative thoughts and feelings individuals have about their inabilities of achieving human goods

Treatment of sex offenders

bad lives 2
Bad lives 2
  • Ward and Mann (2004) note that the absence of certain goods such as:
    • agency (i.e., a low level of interpersonal functioning
    • [lack of] inner peace (high level of stress and tension)
    • low level of relatedness (low level of intimate/ romantic involvement with others)
  • Have been strongly related to inappropriate, dysfunctional ways
  • Therefore, Ward et al. argue that obtaining a good life and achieving a sense of well-being should be a key determinant in how sex offenders’ treatment is conducted

Treatment of sex offenders

conclusions
Conclusions
  • Treatment of sexual offenders a large undertaking in the U.K.
  • Some overall evidence to suggest that it works
  • However, there are criticisms of the whole approach
  • The strongest being that the whole approach focuses on deficits rather than strengths
  • Idea is to now address risk while also building upon strengths
  • To early to assess the relative merits of the ‘Good Lives’ approach which has been suggested as a new innovation to the treatment of offenders, particularly sex offenders

Treatment of sex offenders

key references
Key references
  • Andrew, D. & Bonta, A. (2004). The psychology of criminal conduct. Cincinatti, OH: Anderson.
  • Hanson, R.K., Gordon, A., Harris, A.J.R., Marques, J.K., Murphy, W., Quinsey, V.L. & Seto, M.C. (2002). First Report of the Collaborative Outcome Data Project on the Effectiveness of Psychological Treatment for Sex Offenders. Sexual Abuse: A Journal of Research and Treatment, 14 (2), 169-197.
  • Lösel, F. & Schmucker, M. (2005). The effectiveness of treatment for sexual offenders: A comprehensive meta-analysis. Journal of Experimental Criminology, 1, 117-146.
  • Mair, G. (2004). What matters in probation. Cullompton: Willan.
  • Mann, R.E. (2005). Innovations in sex offender treatment. Journal of Sexual Aggression (special issue).
  • Ward, T. & Gannon, T.A. (2006). Rehabilitation, etiology, and self-regulation: The comprehensive good lives model of treatment for sexual offenders. Aggression and Violent Behavior, 11, 77-94.

Treatment of sex offenders

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