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Evaluation of a National Prison-Based Treatment Program for Sexual Offenders in England and Wales

NCJ Number
Journal of Interpersonal Violence Volume: 18 Issue: 7 Dated: July 2008 Pages: 744-759
Caroline Friendship; Ruth E. Mann; Anthony R. Beech
Date Published
July 2003
16 pages
This study evaluated the effectiveness of the national Sex Offender Treatment Program (SOTP) in terms of recidivism using reconviction as an outcome measure.
The 2-year sexual reconviction rates for both the treatment and comparison group of offenders were low, but the treatment group sample had slightly lower reconviction rates than the comparison group sample. There were no significant differences between these rates. Although there were no significance differences between the treatment and comparison groups in terms of general reconviction, treated offenders did consistently have lower rates of general reconviction as compared to untreated offenders. Significant differences were found between the treatment and comparison group for sexual and/or violent reconviction. The approach of the traditional reconviction or recidivism study in evaluating treatment efficacy makes the assumption that participation in treatment has the same effect on all offenders. In reality, the success of treatment can be dependent on factors such as the treatment climate, the implementation of the program, and how the individual sex offender responds to treatment. Future research needs to further develop this work to examine the relationship between treatment change and reconviction. This type of approach to evaluation examines the treatment of offenders only and to some extent the issues surrounding comparison group matching. The treatment group consisted of 647 adult male offenders who had been sentenced to prison for at least 4 years for sexual offense and had voluntarily participated in and completed the SOTP between 1992 and 1994. The comparison group consisted of 1,910 offenders. The outcomes under observation in the study were sexual, sexual and/or violent, and general reconviction. Tables, references