Treatment outcome study: Seventeen years after sexual offender treatment

  • S. Margretta Dwyer


Long-term recidivism rates of 180 male sexual offender treatment completers and almost completers (persons who had been in treatment 2 years plus and had only a few goals to complete) were compared in this study. All men in this study were followed after treatment from 6 months to 17 years by interviews, anonymous questionnaires, and/or criminal record checks. The treatment center, located in Minneapolis, checked all criminal records in Minnesota and surrounding states or country: North Dakota, South Dakota, Wisconsin, Iowa, and Canada. Seventeen men had reoffended sexually and five others had reoffendedcriminally (theft, DWI, etc.) but notsexually. Only those finishing treatment or nearly finishing treatment were addressed in this study, recognizing that self-selection and program screening may have contributed to the statistical success of this outpatient program. The anonymous questionnaire addressed issues regarding the offender's original offenses and the success or nonsuccess of treatment techniques as judged by them. Data regarding problematic areas still existing in their lives were collected. Of these 180 treated men, 108 men also appeared, or telephoned in, for personal interviews (using a second structured questionnaire, as opposed to the anonymous one mailed to each patient). They were interviewed six times each during the 17 years. The personal interviews yielded other aspects of data used to cross-validate the questionnaires and the criminal record checks. Total sexual recidivism was 9.0%. Data thus indicate that treatment was successful for 91% of these men. The need for more sophisticated research about what constitutes successful treatment is addressed in the discussion.

Key words

behavior therapy cognitive therapy offender treatment outcome research sexual offending 


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Copyright information

© Plenum Publishing Corporation 1997

Authors and Affiliations

  • S. Margretta Dwyer
    • 1
  1. 1.Program in Human SexualityUniversity of MinnesotaMinneapolis

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