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- PublicationA controlled evaluation of a prison based sexual offender intervention programmeThe effectiveness of a prison-based cognitive behavioral program designed to modify psychological risk factors associated with sexual offending was evaluated. The Irish Prison Service Sexual Offender Intervention Programme, is a manualized 10-month Cognitive Behaviour Therapy [CBT] program involving three 2-hour group sessions per week, which are facilitated by a team of clinical psychologists and probation officers. Improvements in 38 consecutive referrals to the program were compared with the status of 38 untreated offenders who were similar in marital status, age when they left school, occupational status prior to imprisonment, offence type, presence of previous convictions, and current sentence length. All research participants completed the same assessment protocol, which evaluated psychological factors associated with sexual offending at times equivalent to pre- and postintervention. Compared with the untreated control group, program participants showed statistically significant improvement on some but not all self-report measures of cognitive distortions, empathy, interpersonal skills, self-regulation, and relapse prevention. Motivation to change among the untreated control group was not associated with change in psychological functioning in the absence of the assistance of the treatment program. Implications for sexual offender intervention delivery are considered.
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