Because of the lack of evidence regarding the efficacy of pharmacological treat- ments alone Harris et al. To overcome the psycho-legal soft spot, Birgden and Ward proposed that parole board members should thoroughly understand the purpose and limits of risk assessment tools and consider how a sex offender may behave in different hypothetical environments if released. The assumption underlying the therapeutic jurisprudence analysis is that the Act should be therapeutic rather than anti-therapeutic. In addition, because of false positives in erroneously predicting reoffence risk, the potential for arbitrary supervi- sion is a human rights issue McSherry, However, the risk—need model has its critics. For example, in the case of TSL v Secretary to the Department of Justice a sex offender with an intellectual disability had breached a parole condi- tion regarding being in the company of children.
Put another way … therapeutic jurisprudence is not commit- ted to professional notions of what is thera- peutic, is not a servant of the professions of psychiatry and psychology, and is by no means a device to reinforce or rationalise existing power imbalances between clinicians and their patients. In terms of efficiency, Donato and Shanahan conducted an economic analysis of the cost of treating versus not treating sex offenders in Australia including data from a Victorian prison sex offender treatment program. The assessment of risk in the Act is currently based on risk prediction — whether at this point in time the sex offender is likely or unlikely to reoffend if unsuper- vised in the community. A therapeutic jurisprudence analysis determines whether the substantive law, legal procedures and legal roles maximise the therapeutic effects the law and minimise anti-therapeutic conse- quences of the law Wexler, Section 11 1 defines the test as: A court can only make an extended supervision order in respect of an offender if it is satisfied, to a high degree of probability, that the offender is likely to commit a relevant offence if released in the community on completion of the service of any custodial sentence that he or she is serving …. These problems are of concern when such assessments influence the application of an extended supervision order. Although a risk management approach is not articulated in the Act, guided clinical judgments can provide up-to-date risk management information to the court at the 3- yearly reviews of the extended supervision order. In terms of effectiveness, compre- hensive cognitive—behavioural programs that address thoughts, feelings and behaviour and programs that combine medication with psycholog- ical treatment, can reduce reoffending rates in sex offenders e. This Act incorporates many of the recommendations developed by the Hon David Harper AM, a retired justice of the Court of Appeal, who had been commissioned to review the Act to strengthen the protection of the community, improve the management of sex offenders who may also be violent, and improve decision-making and case management between the criminal justice and mental health service systems in relation to these offenders. In other words, therapeutic jurisprudence is concerned with individual autonomy. In the United Kingdom, Hood and Shute , found that the parole board was rarely releasing treated sex offenders, even when they were assessed as low risk of reoffending by treating clinicians. Predictors for reoffending in sex offenders include sexual preferences for children particularly male or unrelated victims , failure to complete treatment, and a history of general criminality Hanson, ; Harris et al. In revoking an extended supervision order in Victoria, the appeal judges in TSL v Secretary to the Department of Justice felt that the sentencing judge had focused too narrowly on the elements of section 8 the definition of an assessment report and section 11 when a court may make an extended supervision order in the Act and placed too much weight on the mandated assess- ment report. Whether actuarial or guided clinical risk assessments are used, such tools are potentially an inaccurate means of contributing to the decision to impose an extended supervision order. Psycho-Legal Soft Spots Garland warns that contemporary rehabil- itation programs are focused on crime control offence-centred rather than individual welfare offender-centred. A risk management approach means that the risk assessment should occur pre-sentence or at least upon imprisonment rather than pre-release so that effective treatment can occur early and changes in dynamic risk factors can be reconsidered after treat- ment. Third, the risk percentages have been found to be lower for older offenders than expected, meaning that advanced age should be considered when assessing risk. The assumption underlying the therapeutic jurisprudence analysis is that the Act should be therapeutic rather than anti-therapeutic. On balance, sex offender treatment is effective and cost efficient. That is, the separate constructs of seriousness of the offence type become confused with the risk of reoffending. Wood and Ogloff note that, during parliamentary debate before the Act was passed, there was absolutely no discussion regarding reliability and validity of risk assessment tools. The analysis will identify psycho-legal soft spots and propose therapeutic enhancements to engage the sex offender. They will ordinarily be very signif- icant … but that does not mean that they are the only matters to consider. Second, the initial validation sample may have been particularly high risk so the base rates may be too high to apply the Static 99 to other samples.
Video about monitoring of serious sex offenders:
How military sex offenders fly under the radar after returning to civilian life
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