Treatment Retention in a Prison-based Residential Sex
Offender Treatment Program
Published online: 2 October 2007
Springer Science + Business Media, LLC 2007
Abstract This study assessed the role of static factors, a dynamic factor (motivation
to change sexually deviant behavior), and an administrative factor in predicting treat-
ment retention within a prison-based sex offender treatment program. The analyses
also included assessing differences in initial levels of motivation and differences in
beginning-versus end-of-treatment motivation scores for various types of program
discharges. The sample consisted of 251 individuals who were admitted to a residen-
tial prison-based sex offender treatment program where 46% completed the program.
Paired comparison t-tests showed higher motivation scores at the end of treatment
only among treatment completers. Multivariate analyses showed that treatment re-
tention was associated with higher initial motivation scores, higher levels of educa-
tion and admission to treatment within 3 months of initial commitment to prison.
Implications for motivational enhancement programming as well as for changes in
admission criteria are discussed.
Keywords Sex offenders
Many treatment programs for sex offenders are voluntary in nature. The success of
treatment will be contingent on individuals both choosing to volunteer for treat-
ment as well as completing treatment. There are two findings from previous studies
which indicate a need to increase our understanding of the volunteering process.
First of all, outcome studies show completion rates ranging from approximately 50%
or less (Geer et al. 2001; Miner and Dwyer 1995; Moore et al. 1999) to 69% or more
(Schweitzer and Dwyer 2003; Seager et al. 2004; Turner et al. 2000). Second, meta-
Sex Abuse (2007) 19:333–346
The viewpoints expressed in this paper reflect the views of the author and do not necessarily reflect the
views the Federal Bureau of Prisons.
B. Pelissier (*)
Federal Bureau of Prisons, 4516 Mystic Lane, Hillsborough, NC 27278, USA