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Child Maltreat. 2008 May;13(2):110-21. doi: 10.1177/1077559508314510.

Our minds are made up--don't confuse us with the facts: commentary on policies concerning children with sexual behavior problems and juvenile sex offenders.

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University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center, Oklahoma City, OK 73190, USA.


This commentary examines four common policy-relevant perceptions of teen and preteen sex offenders-high risk, "specialness," homogeneity, and intransigence. Each perception is contrasted with long-standing as well as more current scientific facts. It is argued that public policies for these youth have been fundamentally driven by misperceptions, resulting in a set of well-intentioned but ultimately flawed policies and practices that are unlikely to deliver either child protection or juvenile justice benefits. These include federal and state policies pertaining to public registration and notification, community management, institutional placement, treatment approaches, and treatment standards. The research evidence about these juveniles is considerably more positive than current policies or clinical practices might suggest, and reflects a sharp disconnect between popular policy-relevant perceptions and the facts as we know them about these diverse cases.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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