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DIAGNOSIS AND TREATMENT OF THE SEXUAL OFFENDER: A NINE-YEAR STUDY
ASHER R. PACHT; SEYMOUR L. HALLECK; JOHN C. EHRMANN
Am J Psychiatry 1962;118:802-808.
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Wisconsin State Dept. of Public Welfare.

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Abstract

After 9 years of experience with this law, we are convinced that a program which embodies the principles of indeterminate sentencing and psychiatric treatment is both workable and useful. We feel that it is the best approach currently available through which society can deal with the agonizing problem of the sex offender. We would be negligent, however, if we did not emphasize some of the problems and shortcomings of our own program. Obviously even an enlightened prison setting is not an ideal environment in which to conduct a flexible treatment program(8, 16). Until we can build our own"prison-hospital" for this group of offenders, we are forced to make many compromises which may not be therapeutic. Finding adequately trained therapists to work in a correctional environment remains a constant problem(19). We do not feel that we are anywhere close to giving optimum psychotherapy to each offender who can benefit thereby. A constantly haunting problem is our inability, because of the statutory requirements, to set up adequate control studies which would afford scientific validity to our work.Perhaps the most important issue raised by our experience involves the frightening responsibilities which the therapists must assume. A psychiatrist or psychologist in our sex deviate program often must step out of his traditional clinical role; he makes crucial decisions which effect the liberties of his fellowman. There is no room for an arrogant and dogmatic attitude. If we are to become involved in the problems of social justice, we must be prepared to assume the overwhelming responsibilities with sincere humility as well as scientific fervor.

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