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.
Sexual Abuse: A Journal of Research and Treatment – Springer Journals
Published: Sep 30, 2004
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