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Snohomish County Sex Offender Project: An Assessment of the Project's Impact on Client Behavior

NCJ Number
D R Guthmann
Date Published
15 pages
The Snohomish County Sex Offender Project (Washington State), which provides community-based evaluation and treatment of juvenile sex offenders as an alternative to placement in a State institution, was as effective as institutional supervision in preventing repeat sexual offenses in the community.
The goals of the project are to provide effective treatment and ensure public safety while saving the State the expense of institutionalizing juvenile sex offenders. An analysis of sex offender sentencing in Snohomish County and elsewhere in the State reveal significant differences. Other Washington State counties remained constant in the percentage of sex offenders institutionalized between 1982 and 1985. Snohomish County went from a higher than average percentage (34 percent) in 1982 to a lower than average percentage (19 percent) in 1984 and 1985, reflecting the impact of the project. This study compared recidivism rates amoung 43 Snohomish County Sex Offender Project clients with 36 similar sex offenders institutionalized in other counties. An analysis of sexual reoffending indicates that the Snohomish County youths were no more likely to reoffend during or after supervision than the institutionalized sex offenders. Community supervision can be an alternative to institutionalization for selected lower risk sex offenders, given the lesser costs of supervising offenders in their community without increasing the risk to public safety while providing treatment as effective as that in institutions. 7 tables. (Author summary modified)