Advancing Sexual Offender Risk Assessment ,

Standardized Risk Levels Based on Psychologically Meaningful Offender Characteristics

Authored by: R. Karl Hanson , Guy Bourgon

Handbook on Risk and Need Assessment

Print publication date:  October  2016
Online publication date:  November  2016

Print ISBN: 9781138927766
eBook ISBN: 9781315682327
Adobe ISBN:


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The assessment, treatment, and management of sexual offenders raise unique concerns within the criminal justice system. Whereas the intent of most criminal behavior is easily understood (e.g., acquire goods, punish adversaries), it is not obvious why individuals risk serious penalties by exposing their genitals to strangers or by luring children into sexual acts. Consequently, sexual offenders are often considered to suffer from psychological problems worthy of intervention from mental health professionals. The high level of social deviance of sexual crime has led to specialized policy initiatives that apply only to sexual offenders, including registries, public notification, and civil commitment (Mancini, Barnes, & Mears, 2013; Prentky, Barbaree, & Janus, 2015). All of these policies are predicated on the assumption that sexual offenders are different from the rest of us, including others who are implicated in the criminal justice system for non-sexual offending.

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