March 2, 2011

Steffan's Alerts #2: Informants, sex offenders and prisoner reentry

Click on a title to read the article abstract; click on a highlighted author's name to request the full article.

In a meta-analysis of data drawn from nine studies, Kelly Babchishin, Karl Hanson, and Chantal Hermann report on demographic and psychological characteristics of online and offline sexual offenders in a new issue of Sexual Abuse: A Journal of Research and Treatment. The authors suggest that online offenders, although exhibiting more sexual deviancy, may also have more self-control and psychological barriers to contact sexual offending than offline offenders.

In the same issue, Michael Seto, Karl Hanson, and Kelly Babchishin detail their findings about online sexual offenders’ past contact sexual offenses and future sexual recidivism from two meta-analyses. Approximately half of online sexual offenders self-reported a prior contact sexual offense, whereas 1 in 8 had an official record of a past contact sexual offense. A small number of online sexual offenders committed some type of sexual recidivism in follow-up periods of up to 6 years.

Ever wonder about the lives of confidential informants? In this issue of Justice Quarterly, Mitchell Miller provides insights from interviews of 84 informants from five southern states. A typology for better understanding the motivations of confidential informants is offered.
Prisoner reentry

Mark Berg and Beth Huebner, in another Justice Quarterly article, examine family ties and employment—two of the many areas related to recidivism—among offenders who are transitioning from prison to the community. They suggest that familial ties may play an important role in assisting offenders to lead a prosocial lifestyle.

Measuring sexual recidivism following prison-based treatment

Based on a sample of low-risk sexual offenders in New Zealand, Sarah Beggs and Randolph Grace demonstrate that reductions in sexual recidivism following prison-based treatment can be measured successfully through self-report psychometric tests and structured clinical rating scales. Average time at risk for recidivism was 12 years for this cohort. In their article, just published online in the Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, the authors conclude, in part, that amelioration of dynamic risk factors for sexual offending leads to reduced sexual recidivism.

Steffan's alerts are brought to you by Jarrod Steffan, Ph.D., a forensic and clinical psychologist based in Wichita, Kansas. For more information about Dr. Steffan, please visit his website.

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