Desistance from Sex Offending: Alternatives to Throwing Away the Keys

Desistance from Sex Offending: Alternatives to Throwing Away the Keys

by D. Richard Laws, Tony Ward
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Desistance from Sex Offending: Alternatives to Throwing Away the Keys by D. Richard Laws, Tony Ward

This book offers a fresh perspective on treating a population that is often demonized by policymakers, the public, and even clinicians. The authors argue that most sex offenders are "people like us," with the potential to lead meaningful, law-abiding lives—if given a chance and appropriate support. They describe an empirically and theoretically grounded rehabilitation approach, the Good Lives Model, which can be integrated with the assessment and intervention approaches that clinicians already use. Drawing on the latest knowledge about factors promoting desistance from crime, the book discusses how encouraging naturally occurring desistance processes, and directly addressing barriers to community reintegration, can make treatment more effective and long lasting.


Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781606239360
Publisher: Guilford Publications, Inc.
Publication date: 03/11/2011
Sold by: Barnes & Noble
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 306
File size: 3 MB

About the Author

D. Richard Laws, PhD, is Codirector of the Pacific Psychological Assessment Corporation (PPAC) and Director of Pacific Design Research, which serves as a development arm of PPAC. Dr. Laws holds appointments at Simon Fraser University (Canada) and the University of Birmingham (United Kingdom). His research interests center primarily on development of assessment procedures for offenders. He is the author of numerous journal articles, book chapters, and scholarly essays, and coeditor/coauthor of a number of books and manuals. Tony Ward, PhD, is Head of School and Professor of Clinical Psychology at Victoria University of Wellington, New Zealand. His research interests include cognition in offenders, rehabilitation and reintegration processes, and ethical issues in forensic psychology. He has published extensively in these areas and has over 280 academic publications.

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Desistance from Sex Offending: Alternatives to Throwing Away the Keys 1 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 1 reviews.
Jeremy_D_Zielinski More than 1 year ago
This book is a mixed bag. It contains a good review and collection of the empirical literature on various approaches to rehabilitative theories, but the "Good Lives Model" is a spectacular failure of logic and basic reasoning. The GLM begins with the unremarkable claims that humans have similar biological needs and that criminal behavior is sometimes an attempt to those needs. That is where its good sense ends. It first rejects the idea of consciousness being meaningful in favor of "a unified conception of the mind and body and a rejection of dualism." There is no attempt to explain morality. Instead, it seems to reject the concept entirely in favor of some vague notion that it is merely a social construct. In place of real, coherent differences between right and wrong, the GLM teaches that all actions and decisions must be evaluated for whether or not they are "personally meaningful and socially acceptable." This is an utterly useless "standard." Every goal-directed action is necessarily "personally meaningful" on at least some level; and whether an action is "socially acceptable" is not a simple question. The GLM "standard" leaves unanswered the critical questions, among others: "Socially acceptable to whom?," "Under what circumstances?," "In what context?," and "By what measure?" It also ignores the fact that societies can accept morally wrong actions which can only be righted by individuals engaging in socially unacceptable actions and thus promotes the arrest and stagnation of human progress. For example, under the GLM's "standard," a successful Silicon Valley entrepreneur who uses her wealth to fund a network of domestic violence shelters is morally equal to a Taliban savage that beats his wife in the name of Allah, because both behaviors are "personally meaningful" to the individual actor and "socially acceptable" in their respective cultures. On an individual scale, the GLM leaves adherents without a real, meaningful standard of morality. On a societal scale, this "standard" would lead to tautological moral anarchy, with every member of society looking to everyone else for a standard of what is right and wrong but nobody actually having anything to provide. Its claims about "basic goods" are equally absurd. It claims that "excellence in play and work," "knowledge," "spirituality" and "creativity" are the core of human nature and the ends of all human action; and that an inability to obtain them in a "pro-social way" is the cause of all crime. It claims that knowledge is not sought in order to be applied, but that it is sought simply to attain it because it is "intrinsically valuable." It also claims that attainment of love, affection, spirituality, social connectedness, etc. are prerequisites to psychological functioning; but these all depend on a complex chain of mental events that cannot take place unless an individual is already psychologically functioning. Operating on its false assumptions, the GLM claims that offenders should be told to build a sense of self-worth from employment, friends, hobbies, and other externalities rather than from within themselves. It does not teach that committing crimes is self-defeating in the first place; it teaches offenders to get their enjoyment from non-criminal activities instead. This leaves self-worth and desistance dependent upon uncontrollable externalities that could vanish at any time, destroying or severely damaging self-worth and potentially increasing the risk of reoffense.