How can a Sex Offender Evaluation Help My Client?

Sex offender evaluations may help clients in a variety of ways. They can help a client who has been falsely accused of sex abuse in high conflict divorce by identifying possible red flags or the lack thereof. Evaluations may be helpful to clients who wish to be removed from the sex offender registry after treatment and sustained periods of non-offending. During pre-sentencing, disposition, post-conviction or adjudication, sex offender evaluations can help to recommend appropriate level of treatment to minimize recidivism, and include research related to treatment and the referral question, to include possible level of risk of recidivism.

Sex offender evaluations are designed to measure sexual characteristics of sex offenders or alleged sex offenders. Evaluations assess deviant sexual behavior patterns, can assess the level of risk for sexual and non-sexual recidivism, specific dynamic (changeable) risk factors or criminogenic needs needed to be targeted through interventions, amenability to interventions, and strengths and protective factors relative to the individual, as well as those that exist within family, peer, and other community support systems (ATSA, 2005). Evaluations also assess whether you client has a mental health disorder.

Sex offender evaluations do not determine guilt, identify whether an individual is or is not a sex offender, or whether or not your client meets a profile of a sex offender (ATSA, 2005). There is no specific profile for individuals who offend sexually.  

Sex offender evaluations may be conducted during pre-sentence, disposition and post-conviction or adjudication to assist judges and other interested parties with making well-informed decisions about dispositions. As an attorney you do not have to wait for the judge to order an evaluation. 

Evaluations are comprised of a clinical interview, sexual inventory (ies) and personality and emotional inventory (ies). Specific instruments that may be used are the Multiphasic Sex Inventory II (MSI-II), STABLE-2007, Static-99-R, and a psychological assessment such as the Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory (MMPI-2), as well as any additional assessments.  The MSI-II is designed to measure the sexual characteristics of offenders or alleged offenders (Nichols & Molinder Assessments, 2010), and the STABLE-2007 measures factors which are potentially changeable (dynamic) but endure for months or years (Hanson, Harris, Scott & Helmus, 2007). Dynamic factors can change frequently, which are important in assessing risk of sexual offense recidivism. Among these are intimacy deficits, attitudes that are tolerant of sexual assault, negative peer influences, emotional and sexual self-regulation, and general self-regulation. Sex offenders can range from low to moderate to high levels on any of these variables; high levels are associated with higher risk of recidivism. The Static 99-R is the most widely used actuarial assessment that measures an individual’s “relative degree of risk for sexual recidivism based on commonly available demographic and criminal history information that has been found to correlate with sexual recidivism in adult male sex offenders” (Phenix, Fernandez, Harris, Helmus, Hanson & Thornton, 2016, p. 6). The Static-99-R places the client within a specific risk of sexual recidivism (i.e., very low risk, below average risk, average risk, above average risk, well above average risk). Lastly, the MMPI-2 is an objective measure of personality and major categories of psychopathology.

REFERENCES

Association for the treatment of Sexual Abusers (ATSA; 2005). Practice standards and guidelines for members of the association for the treatment of sexual abusers. Retrieved from http://childonchildsexualabusepreventiontaskforce.homestead.com/ATSA_Standards.pdf

Hanson, R. K., Harris, A. J.R., Scott, T., and Helmus, L. (2007). Assessing the risk of sexual offenders on community supervision: The dynamic supervision project. Retrieved from http://www.static99.org/pdfdocs/hansonharrisscottandhelmus2007.pdf

Nichols & Molinder Assessments, Inc. (2010). Multiphasic sex inventory II. Retrieved from 

http://www.nicholsandmolinder.com/sex-offender-assessment-msi-ii.php

Phenix, A., Fernandez, Y., Harris, A.J.R., Helmus, M., Hanson. R. K., and Thornton, D. (2016) 

Static-99R Coding Rules Revised-2016. Retrieved from http://static99.org/pdfdocs/Coding_manual_2016_InPRESS.pdf