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Criminal Justice Policies and Sex Offender Denial (From Managing Adult Sex Offenders: A Containment Approach, P 4.1- 4.18, 1996, Kim English, Suzanne Pullen, and Linda Jones, eds. - See NCJ-162392)

NCJ Number
Date Published
January 1996
18 pages
Denial among sex offenders is examined with respect to the consequences of certain prosecution and supervision policies that reinforce the denial among sex offenders and undermine the supervision process, as well as some innovative policy approaches to confronting denial.
Denial is a central theme in the management of sex offenders; sex offender therapists generally assume that all sex offenders are in some degree of denial about their crimes or the seriousness of their actions. Field interviews conducted in an NIJ-sponsored research project confirmed the importance of policies and practices that confront rather than support the sex offender's denial of the seriousness of the crime. Plea agreements that reinforce denial include Alford pleas, no contest pleas, pleas to nonsexual offenses, deferred judgments and sentences, and referrals to diversion programs. In addition, sending offenders who deny their crime to prison only postpones the inevitable, because most will eventually return to the community on parole. Responsible programming requires a continuum of treatment services. A combination of internal and external controls is needed and inextricably links the mental health community and the criminal justice system in an offender containment strategy. Methods of confronting or reducing denial include team supervision of sex offenders, the use of polygraphs, clear communication among criminal justice professionals, training and specialization of job duties, time-limited treatment for sex offenders in denial, and psychoeducational classes. Case examples and footnotes

Date Published: January 1, 1996