Theories, Assessment, and Treatment of Sex Offenders

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Stories of sex offenders have been increasingly a focus of attention by the criminal justice system over the past years. By legal definition, a sex offender “is a person who is convicted of a sexual offense (Sex Offender Law & Legal Definition),” an act which is prohibited by the jurisdiction. What constitutes as a sex offense or normal/abnormal sexual behavior varies over time and place, meaning that it also varies by legal jurisdiction and culture. In the United States of America, for example, a person can be convicted of wide range of sexual behavior that includes prostitution, incest, sex with a minor, rape, and other sex offenses (Sex Offender Law & Legal Definition). As the nature of sex crimes have long held the nation’s fascination, it represents only the tip of the iceberg as sex crimes seem to bring up more controversial questions than it answers. Because of our fear of sex offenders, the general public has been led to concentrate solely on the aspect of punishment as many bureaucrats have searched for different approaches to prevent sex offenders from re-offending again in order to improve public safety. Two main strategies that officials have tried to use to deter sex offenders are providing the option of chemical and/or surgical castration for sex offenders and lessening the caseloads of workers to ensure strict supervision of sex offenders. However, as sex offenders who were sentenced to prison eventually return to the community, the American Psychological Association believes that psychologists can treat the sex offenders as they attempt to fully reintegrate into society as law-abiding citizens (Kersting, 2003). This place an important role on community treatment of sex offenders’ rehabilitation as var...

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