skip navigation


Register for Latest Research

Stay Informed
Register with NCJRS to receive NCJRS's biweekly e-newsletter JUSTINFO and additional periodic emails from NCJRS and the NCJRS federal sponsors that highlight the latest research published or sponsored by the Office of Justice Programs.

NCJRS Abstract

The document referenced below is part of the NCJRS Virtual Library collection. To conduct further searches of the collection, visit the Virtual Library. See the Obtain Documents page for direction on how to access resources online, via mail, through interlibrary loans, or in a local library.


NCJ Number: 192437 Find in a Library
Title: Restructuring Sex Offender Sentencing: A Therapeutic Jurisprudence Approach to the Criminal Justice Process
Journal: International Journal of Offender Therapy and Comparative Criminology  Volume:45  Issue:6  Dated:December 2001  Pages:646-662
Author(s): William Edwards; Christopher Hensley
Date Published: December 2001
Page Count: 17
Type: Legislation/Policy Analysis
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: This article uses the perspective of therapeutic jurisprudence to examine many of the issues and problems associated with adjudicating and treating sex offenders; and it presents a "treatment track" or deferred sentencing model.
Abstract: "Therapeutic jurisprudence" is the study of the role of the law as a therapeutic agent. According to David Wexler and Bruce Winick, who first introduced the term in the early 1990's, therapeutic jurisprudence uses an interdisciplinary approach to examine the social-psychological impact of the law; to enrich the scope of legal policy analysis; to improve the law's functioning; and to find creative methods of crafting legal arrangements that enhance its therapeutic effects without subordinating due process and other justice values. A therapeutic-jurisprudence perspective on sex offenders and the plea-bargaining process suggests a revision in existing practice that would change the laws' current reinforcement of denial and cognitive distortion and promote offender rehabilitation through cognitive restructuring. Wexler and Winick (1996) have suggested a dialog approach to offender sentencing based on a guilty plea in which the defendant is encourage to make a detailed admission of guilt. This would establish a factual basis for the plea, work against any present or future denial or cognitive distortion about the nature of the offense, and anchor the defendant to any previously accepted treatment and compliance decisions associated with the plea agreement. The model proposed by the authors of the current article involves consideration of the therapeutic potential and needs of each defendant at the earliest stages of the prosecutorial process. Persons deemed eligible (e.g., first offenders or repeat offenders who have not received treatment) would be offered a substantial sentence deferment, contingent on their early cooperation with authorities at the court level, a plea of guilty to a charge commensurate with the actual offense committed, and successful participation in sex offender treatment during and after the adjusted period of incarceration. Failure to abide by any portion of the deferred sentence would result in a revocation hearing by the sentencing court to require the offender to serve the original non-deferred sentence minus the time already served. 38 references
Main Term(s): Corrections policies
Index Term(s): Plea negotiations; Sentencing/Sanctions; Sex offender treatment; Sex offenders
To cite this abstract, use the following link:

*A link to the full-text document is provided whenever possible. For documents not available online, a link to the publisher's website is provided. Tell us how you use the NCJRS Library and Abstracts Database - send us your feedback.