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Treating high-risk rapists in a New Zealand intensive prison programme

Nick J. Wilson, Glen Kilgour & Devon L.L. Polaschek
Psychology, Crime & Law; Volume 19, Issue 5-6, 2013, 527-547.

Abstract

The focus of this article is on the pilot development and implementation of a prison-based intensive treatment programme for high-risk adult-victim rape offenders in New Zealand. Advances in actuarial risk assessment enabled the identification of a group of high-risk adult sex offenders for whom no dedicated treatment programme existed. Based on a review of the treatment literature for rapists, a pilot programme was developed called the Adult Sex Offender Treatment Programme (ASOTP). The programme, based on the risk–need–responsivity and cognitive behavioural therapy principles, also used an adaptation of Young's schema therapy to address personality responsivity issues and specific idiosyncratic schema associated with participant offence pathways identified by the Massachusetts Treatment Centre classification (Version 3 for rapists). Measures of responsivity and dynamic risk administered in the ASOTP indicated some success in addressing treatment needs for the pilot participants (n=10). The programme has subsequently been expanded across prison specialist treatment unit sites and delivered to a further 52 participants. Although intermediate measures continue to indicate change in dynamic risk, recidivism outcome evaluations have not yet been possible, due to low numbers of paroled participants.

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