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A Journal on Forensic Medicine




Minerva Medicolegale 2009 September;129(3):165-75

language: English

Psychological offender treatment

Ross T., Fontao M. I., Hoffmann K., Kluttig T., Pfäfflin F.

Centre of Phychiatry, Reichenau University Hospital, Ulm, Germany


This paper presents an overview of the most common psychological approaches to offender treatment to date. Since manualized programmes for group therapy have produced compelling evidence for their effectiveness in reducing recidivism, they predominate the recent treatment literature. The authors describe two of the most influential ones in some detail, namely the reasoning and rehabilitation program, and the sex offender treatment program. However, they are by no means the only approaches to offender treatment in practice today. In recent years, treatment regimes first developed for the psychotherapeutic treatment of general psychiatric in- and outpatient populations have been extended to fit the needs of offender populations and their therapists, e.g. transference focused therapy, dialectical behavioral therapy, or mentalization based treatment. With reference to some general principles of effective offender treatment, the authors discuss the chances of enhancing treatment effects for offender populations; and of maintaining them after release from prison or forensic psychiatry.

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