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: 221162 Find in a Library
Title: Review of the Factors That Can Influence the Effectiveness of Sexual Offenders Treatment: Risk, Need, Responsivity, and Process Issues
Journal: Aggression and Violent Behavior  Volume:12  Issue:6  Dated:November/December 2007  Pages:615-627
Author(s): Leigh Harkins; Anthony R. Beech
Date Published: November 2007
Page Count: 13
Type: Literature Review
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: This literature review identifies and discusses the various factors that might influence whether or not sex-offender treatment is effective.
Abstract: The authors recommend taking into account risk level, dynamic risk domains, and individual characteristics that may influence whether or not treatment of a sex offender will be successful. It may be that offenders who present different risk for reoffending respond differently to treatment. There is a growing body of research which suggests that treatment is most effective when administered according to the "risk principle." According to this principle the most intensive treatment should be offered to the highest risk offenders, with little to no treatment being provided to low-risk offenders. This principle requires that there be an accurate assessment of the risk for reoffending. Risk can be assessed in a number of ways, including structured actuarial measures and the use of unstructured clinical judgment. The reliability and validity of the most commonly used actuarial risk-assessment instruments have been well established. These instruments measure historical static (unchangeable) variables. Clinical judgments of risk are needed for dynamic factors that are subject to change over time, such as level and type of sexual interests, belief systems, attitudes, self-regulation, and social skills. Individual offender characteristics that are critical in determining progress in treatment are the presence of psychopathy and motivation for treatment. Psychopathy is a condition marked by interpersonal traits, e.g., grandiosity; pathological lying; lack of emotional depth, empathy, guilt, or remorse; and antisocial traits (impulsivity and persistent violation of social norms). Motivation for treatment can be conceptualized in terms of acceptance of accountability for offending, willingness to attend treatment, and a strong desire to adopt behaviors that build constructive, responsible intimate relationships. 124 references
Main Term(s): Criminology
Index Term(s): Recidivism prediction; Sex offender treatment; Sex offenders; Treatment effectiveness
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.