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

Short Version
Section 2: An Overview of Sex Offender Treatment for a Non–Clinical Audience
Sex Offender–Specific Treatment Outcome Research
15 Minutes

Lecture Topic TOPIC: FINANCIAL COSTS AND BENEFITS OF SEX OFFENDER–SPECIFIC TREATMENT
(5 Minutes)

Use SlideUse Slide #36: Financial Costs/Benefits of Treatment

Many people wonder about whether sex offender treatment is “worth it.” Of course any reduction in sex offender recidivism is significant in terms of reduction of harm to victims and intangible costs to society. But what about tangible measures; that is, dollars and cents? In 1990, Prentky and Burgess found that the costs per sex offense for offender–related and victim–related expenses totaled $183,333. If we estimate conservatively that sex offender treatment reduces recidivism by 8%, then the tangible financial savings to society is almost 1.5 million dollars for every 100 sex offenders treated. This savings, if utilized to provide sex offender treatment for those 100 offenders instead, would yield $15,000 per offender for treatment. This is considerably more than the cost of most sex offender treatment. Treating sex offenders is not nearly as expensive as the costs of failing to treat them.