Judges' Knowledge About Sexual Offenders, Difficulties Presiding Over Sexual Offense Cases, and Opinions on Sentencing, Treatment, and Legislation

Judges' Knowledge About Sexual Offenders, Difficulties Presiding Over Sexual Offense Cases, and... Forty-two Midwestern trial judges responded to a survey designed to assess knowledge about sexual offenders; attitudes toward adjudication, sentencing, treatment, and release; and opinions regarding sexual offender-related legislation. Results indicated that the judges held a variety of beliefs regarding the etiology and dynamics involved in sexual offending which differ from those of most professionals in the field of sexual offender management. However, the judges accurately identified important issues related to victims and some myths about offenders. The importance of retribution and rehabilitation for sexual offenders was emphasized, and considerable support was revealed for controversial legislative issues such as community notification, mandatory registration, and civil commitment of sexual predators. Of particular interest is the finding that, compared to other cases, sexual offense cases were rated by judges as more difficult over which to preside from a legal and technical standpoint, a personal and emotional viewpoint, and a public scrutiny and public pressure perspective. These issues, as well as judges' comments on current systemic and decision-making difficulties, are discussed in terms of the importance of judicial education programs and future research. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Sexual Abuse: A Journal of Research and Treatment Springer Journals

Judges' Knowledge About Sexual Offenders, Difficulties Presiding Over Sexual Offense Cases, and Opinions on Sentencing, Treatment, and Legislation

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Publisher
Kluwer Academic Publishers-Plenum Publishers
Copyright
Copyright © 1999 by Plenum Publishing Corporation
Subject
Psychology; Sexual Behavior; Psychiatry; Clinical Psychology; Criminology and Criminal Justice, general
ISSN
1079-0632
eISSN
1573-286X
D.O.I.
10.1023/A:1021367015037
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

Forty-two Midwestern trial judges responded to a survey designed to assess knowledge about sexual offenders; attitudes toward adjudication, sentencing, treatment, and release; and opinions regarding sexual offender-related legislation. Results indicated that the judges held a variety of beliefs regarding the etiology and dynamics involved in sexual offending which differ from those of most professionals in the field of sexual offender management. However, the judges accurately identified important issues related to victims and some myths about offenders. The importance of retribution and rehabilitation for sexual offenders was emphasized, and considerable support was revealed for controversial legislative issues such as community notification, mandatory registration, and civil commitment of sexual predators. Of particular interest is the finding that, compared to other cases, sexual offense cases were rated by judges as more difficult over which to preside from a legal and technical standpoint, a personal and emotional viewpoint, and a public scrutiny and public pressure perspective. These issues, as well as judges' comments on current systemic and decision-making difficulties, are discussed in terms of the importance of judicial education programs and future research.

Journal

Sexual Abuse: A Journal of Research and TreatmentSpringer Journals

Published: Sep 30, 2004

References

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