Postrelease Specialization and Versatility in Sexual Offenders Referred for Civil Commitment
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Offense specialization and versatility has been explored previously in the prior criminal records of sexual offenders. The present study expanded these findings by examining offense specialization and versatility in the postrelease offending of a sample of sexual offenders referred for civil commitment and released. Criminal versatility (not limiting one's offending to sexual crime) both before and after commitment was the most commonly observed offending pattern in the sample. Specialist offenders (those for whom sexual offenses constituted more than half of their total number of previous arrests) were more likely than versatile offenders to specialize in sexual offending on release, perhaps indicating that specialization is a stable offending tendency. When compared by referral status, recidivism records indicated that offenders who were committed for treatment were more likely than observed, noncommitted offenders to specialize in sexual offending on release. When compared by offender classification, child molesters and offenders with mixed aged victims were much more likely than rapists and incest offenders to specialize in sexual offending on release.
Sexual Abuse: A Journal of Research and Treatment