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NCJRS Abstract

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NCJ Number: 92469 Find in a Library
Title: Sexual Aggression and the Law - Implications for the Future (From Sexual Aggression and the Law, P 53-71, 1983, Simon N Verdun-Jones and Alfred A Kelter, eds. - See NCJ-92464)
Author(s): B M Dickens
Date Published: 1983
Page Count: 18
Sponsoring Agency: Simon Fraser University
Burnaby, BC, Canada V5A 1S6
Sale Source: Simon Fraser University
Criminology Research Centre
Burnaby, BC,
Language: English
Country: Canada
Annotation: Clinical and other evidence regarding a defendant's proclivity for sexual aggression tends to be used more during the sentencing stage than in the determination of guilt or innocence, in Canadian trials involving sexual offenders.
Abstract: Permitting the use of evidence regarding the defendant's prior record and aggressive disposition would narrow the scope of the accused person's means of legitimate defense and would limit the nature and extent of attacks upon the complainant and others. Although this would be consistent with modern case law and with recent legislation relating to sexual aggression trials, it could result in costs both to principles of criminal justice and to individual defendants. Although treatment is not usually the main focus of sentencing, courts will hear evidence regarding an offender's potential for rehabilitation in order to adjust the sentence. The disposition may reflect the degree of credibility of clinicians' predictions, the potential safety in prison of an individual who has been identified as a sex offender, and the degree of aggression involved in the sex offenses. Victims' views are also being increasingly acknowledged. To facilitate treatment, a process is needed which would incorporate the principles that sexually aggressive offenders do not have the legal right to remain avoidably dangerous to the public or to remain incarcerated and that therapies of proven effectiveness should be available. Offenders whose rehabilitation has progressed to an appropriate level should be granted community release under adequate monitoring to assess their social behavior and to estimate their suitability for parole. Such an approach will not, of course, guarantee total success, thus indicating the public and political dimensions of treatment release programs for aggressive sex offenders. A total of 99 footnotes are provided.
Index Term(s): Forensic psychiatry; Forensic psychology; Rights of the accused; Sentencing/Sanctions; Sex offenders
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