One of the main points discussed during the training and presentation is the variation in sex offenders. The term "sex offender" suggests a homogeneous group of sexual predators, assuming similar re-offending patterns regardless of the nature of the offense, age of victim, motivations, criminal history, etc. These assumptions underlie many of our federal and state laws. However, research shows that all sex offenders can't be placed under the same umbrella. Because of the diverse nature of sex offenders, implementing public policy strategies that address a heterogeneous group of offenders would be more effective in maximizing resources and enhancing public safety. Understanding the etiological or explanatory theories of sex offending, and the facts, myths and trends of sex offenders is imperative to considering the implications of contemporary sex offender management strategies.
The Hawaii Department of Public Safety recently received a $249,426 federal grant to create the Hawaii Academy for Sex Offender Management (HATSOM), the nation's first site for ongoing sex offender management training. According to the Dept. of Public Safety, state professionals who work with sex offenders will receive training in the areas of investigation, prosecution, sentencing, assessment, treatment, reentry, supervision, registration and notification.
Dr. Bumby concluded his presentation with a "what works" summary of sex offender treatment and correction. (You can view the entire PowerPoint presentation here):
1.) Longer sentences, punishment-driven strategies unlikely to reduce recidivism
2.) Strategies pairing surveillance/monitoring with rehabilitative services have better outcomes
3.) Prison-based and community-based cognitive interventions (including sex offender treatment) reduce recidivism
- Costs-benefits analyses generally support investment
4.) Targeting higher risk offenders for more intensive interventions yields better outcomes
5.) Empirically-validated risk assessments provide best estimates of risk