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Back to basics : empirical support for the importance of release planning in reducing sex offender recidivism
journal contributionposted on 2010-01-01, 00:00 authored by Gwenda Willis
This article reports findings from a series of empirical studies investigating whether poor release planning might contribute to sex offender recidivism. A coding protocol was developed to measure the comprehensiveness of release planning which included items relating to accommodation, employment, pro-social support, community based treatment, and the Good Lives Model (T. Ward & C.A. Stewart, 2003) secondary goods. The protocol was retrospectively applied to groups of recidivist and non recidivist child molesters, matched on static risk level and time since release. As predicted, overall release planning was significantly poorer for recidivists compared to non recidivists. The accommodation, employment, and social support items combined to best predict recidivism, with predictive accuracy comparable to that obtained using static risk models. Results highlighted the importance of release planning in efforts to reduce sex offender recidivism. Implications for policy makers and community members are briefly discussed.