There are several identifiable psychological factors that increase the likelihood an individual will demonstrate deviant sexual behavior. One of the most important contributing factors is physical or sexual abuse endured as a child. According to Becerra-García, García-León and Egan (2012), sex offenders are twice as likely to report being sexually, emotionally, or physically abused as a child in comparison to other offenders. There are also other factors besides abuse that must be taken into consideration. A recent study on female sex offenders by Roe-Sepowitz and Krysik (2008) states, “the data reveal that many of the 118 female juvenile sex offenders came from chaotic and disorganized families and had poor parental supervision and serious school and mental health problems”. As Becerra-García, García-León and Egan (2012) discuss further, there are also personality traits that sex offenders are likely to possess, which makes it possible for psychologists to distinguish general characteristics of sex offenders. These personality traits can be identified using the Five Factor Model, which scales an individual’s level of neuroticism, extraversion, openness, agreeableness, and conscientiousness.
The Five Factor Model is an important tool for psychologist and even employers who wish to eliminate applicants that show signs of certain psychological traits. Findings by Becerra-García, García-León and Egan (2012) show that there is an identifiable difference between offenders assaulted as a child and offenders that were not assaulted. Offenders abused at childhood show high levels of neuroticism, openness and low conscientiousness; while offenders that were not abused show high levels of conscientiousness, low neuroticism and low openness. Their findings currently do not suggest that these traits can predict the type of victim; however, openness combined with neuroticism in sexually abused offenders may become a predictor trait of child sexual offenders in future research.
Rehabilitative incarceration is a relatively new concept for the justice system. Current treatment methods for sex offenders are in their beginning stages with limited research. Presently, it is not fully understood how to effectively treat all sex offenders. Both research and clinical experience indicate that sex offenders typically rationalize and justify their behavior, convincing themselves that their sex offending is, if not acceptable, at least not so reprehensible (Witt, Greenfield & Hiscox, 2008). This poses a major problem for both psychologist and the criminal justice system.
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy as a Prison Rehabilitation Program
Cognitive behavioral therapy has become one of the most popular therapy programs for sex offenders in the justice system. However, the therapy is not available to all sex offenders at each prison. The therapy is currently represented as a privilege to the offenders rather than a personal right or sentence requirement while inmates are...