The Treatment of Sex Offenders: Evidence, Ethics, and Human Rights
Sexual abuse : a journal of research and treatment 2011 Sep; 23(3): 295-313
Public policy is necessarily a political process with the law and order issue high on the political agenda. Consequently, working with sex offenders is fraught with legal and ethical minefields, including the mandate that community protection automatically outweighs offender rights. In addressing community protection, contemporary sex offender treatment is based on management rather than rehabilitation. We argue that treatment-as-management violates offender rights because it is ineffective and unethical. The suggested alternative is to deliver treatment-as-rehabilitation underpinned by international human rights law and universal professional ethics. An effective and ethical community-offender balance is more likely when sex offenders are treated with respect and dignity that, as human beings, they have a right to claim.
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