The Tangled Web--Complexities, Fallacies and Misconceptions Regarding the Decision to Release Treated Sexual Offenders From Civil Commitment to Society
Kondo, LeRoy L.
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"When should a treated rapist, child molester or other sexual offender, convicted under a sexually violent predator statute, be released to society?" This question is fraught with multiple levels of complexity in a tangled web of misconceptions, fallacies, myths, and pitfalls reflected in the scientific and legal literature. Several excellent scientific reviews have documented tremendous progress in sexual recidivism research over the past few decades. However, decision-makers (e.g., psychiatrists, psychologists, social workers, judges, juries, district attorneys, public defenders, parole officers, and administrators of both correctional facilities and hospitals) remain confronted with a plethora of conceptual landmines and a morass of difficult, perplexing notions in risk assessment that may defy reduction to comprehensibility. Towards untangling the tangled web of complexities and misconceptions in this field, this article will clarify some of the conceptual frameworks that may underlie common thought regarding decisions to release sexual offenders and provide a brief summary to guide decision-makers who wish to utilize a therapeutic jurisprudential approach in the evaluation of whether treated individuals who have been previously convicted of sexual offenses should be released to society.