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Ann N Y Acad Sci. 2003 Jun;989:185-97; discussion 236-46.

Assessment of sex offenders: lessons learned from the assessment of non-sex offenders.

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Research Branch, Correctional Service of Canada, Kingston, Ontario K7L 5E6, Canada.


Notwithstanding significant progress in the areas of risk appraisal and treatment of sex offenders, the contention is that further advancements could be realized through attention to research on non-sex offenders. Specifically, it is proposed that sex offenders share many characteristics of non-sex offenders and research with these populations should be integrated, not discrete. In particular, work in the area of multi-method offender assessment regarding criminogenic need is highlighted to suggest common treatment targets for sex offenders and non-sex offenders. As well, recent research in terms of treatment readiness is described and contrasted with the constructs of denial and minimization. Measurement strategies for cognitive schemas in use with violent offenders are also presented in order to expand the repertoire of approaches clinicians might consider as part of an assessment protocol. Further, performance-based measures of empathy and relapse prevention are described and compared with self-reports in terms of program participation and social desirability. Finally, a brief discussion of change scores and their application to post-treatment risk appraisal is provided, as is the requirement for a systematic decision model to inform post-treatment supervision.

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