A Project of the Office of Justice Programs, U.S. Department of Justice

Long Version
Section 1: An Overview of Sex Offender Treatment for a Non–Clinical Audience
The Basics of Sex Offender–Specific Treatment
2 Hours

(35 minutes)

Refer to Handout Refer to Handouts: Refer participants to two papers developed by CSOM—“Community Supervision of the Sex Offender: An Overview of Current and Promising Practices” and “ The Collaborative Approach to Sex Offender Management.” These documents are included among the participant materials.

The management of sex offenders in the community is gaining more and more attention among supervision and community corrections staff. Despite longer sentences and a greater likelihood of incarceration, many sex offenders are supervised in the community—either as a direct sentence of probation or after some period of incarceration. Emerging practice around the nation reflects the importance of a collaborative and multidisciplinary approach to this work.1 The significant trauma experienced by victims, the consequences of potential future victimization, and the inherent difficulties in managing this population have encouraged communities to develop collaborations at both the policy and case management level to better manage such offenders. Emerging practice embraces the importance of having these offenders involved in sex offender–specific treatment as a condition of their supervision. Two aspects of sex offender treatment are of particular interest to supervision staff.

Use SlideUse Slide #1 and Slide #2: Goals of This Training

Slide #1
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Slide #2
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Therefore, the goals of this day–long training on the treatment of sex offenders are to:

The day will be divided into five sections:

Use SlideUse Slide #3: Overview of the Training

Section 1: The Basics of Sex Offender–Specific Treatment. This first section—which we’re covering now—identifies the rationale for a specialized approach to the treatment of sex offenders in the community; articulates the goals of the training curriculum as a whole; outlines the content of the curriculum; identifies the core elements of sex offender–specific treatment; and highlights the ways in which it differs from traditional mental health treatment. (2 hours)

Section 2: Sex Offender–Specific Treatment Outcome Research. This section summarizes the evidence emerging from empirical research on sex offender treatment, outlining what we know about its effectiveness, what we know about what works for what types of sex offenders, and the implications of this research for treatment and for collaboration between treatment providers and supervision agencies. (30 minutes)

Section 3: Elements of Sex Offender–Specific Treatment. This section details the elements of sex offender treatment, covering a number of challenging issues, including handling denial. It goes into a good bit of detail regarding the techniques that treatment providers may use to address the four domains of treatment—sexual interests, distorted attitudes, interpersonal skills, and behavior management. It discusses the ways in which supervision officers also are involved in supporting behavior management. (4 hours, 30 minutes)

Section 4: A National Perspective on the Current State of Practice. This section summarizes the results of a periodic national survey conducted for the Safer Society that gathers information from treatment providers regarding their practices and clients. (We use the term “client” here as not all of those receiving such treatment are involved in the criminal justice system.) It is the most comprehensive picture of actual practice that is currently available. (30 minutes)

Section 5: What to Look for in a Treatment Provider. One of the most difficult issues facing the criminal justice system—the courts, supervision agencies, prosecutors, etc.—is how to know which treatment providers will make effective partners in the management of sex offenders in the community. This brief section outlines the factors that should be considered in selecting appropriate treatment providers. (30 minutes)

Introductions of Faculty and Participants

Note: Providing the trainer and the participants with an overview of their colleagues’ backgrounds and interests will encourage interaction and discussion. If the group is small, introductions can take place in the context of the entire group. Where numbers are too large for that, you could gather smaller groups around tables and have those within each group introduce themselves. A variation on this—if time permits—is to have one person from each of the smaller groups give a brief summary of the makeup of each smaller group to all the participants.

Before we begin, we would like to have participants and faculty introduce themselves. We hope to make this an interactive session and to share the considerable experience that is represented here among the participants and faculty, so we should begin by learning a bit about one another. I would like to ask each of you to please introduce yourself—tell us your name, the nature of your job, the nature of your interest in sex offender–specific treatment, and some of the issues you hope to learn about during the course of the training.