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Public Policy and Administration


Karel Kurst-Swanger


The treatment of sex offenders is a controversial public policy issue, yet the research on what treatment providers perceive to be effective treatment modalities is limited. Using von Bertalanffy’s systems theory as the theoretical foundation, the purpose of this quantitative study was to examine and evaluate the treatment providers’ perceptions of effective treatment modalities. Data were collected from 101 treatment providers located within 6 states in the Midwest through a researcher developed survey. Data were analyzed using descriptive statistical analysis. A total of 55 treatment modalities were examined, which were condensed into 5 categories. Findings indicated that the psychoeducational modality was perceived to be the most effective while medication was perceived to be the least effective. The positive social change implications stemming from this study include recommendations for sex offender treatment to implement treatment plans using psychoeducational treatment modalities as their primary treatment option to see if this study’s results can be replicated. Implementation of these plans may reduce sex offender recidivism and provide additional guidance to treatment providers.