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Graduate Assignment

Special Population Literature Review

Scott Harrell

Mandated: Lying Believable Sex Offenders, by Pennie Farrell, LCSW/DCSW/PsyD/PhD

This was an excellent book from the therapists point of view. The author is a LCSW
(Licensed Clinical Social Worker) as well as a DCSW (Diplomate in Clinical Social Work) which
represents the highest level of expertise and excellence for clinical social workers.1 Although
this book was a work of fiction, the author brings to life the difficulties in working with this
population. It is not written to persuade the readers to be accepting of sex offenders, but it
gives an appreciation for the few that are truly dedicated in working with this group of outcasts
or as Dick Witherow calls the modern day lepers. The main character, Dr. Claire Starley
describes her first introduction to the group shell be working with, she had expected them
to look more menacing, but all of them looked much like any other men she knew; short or tall,
fit or lumpy, and abundantly unassuming.2
There are no two sex offenders alike. As in the first literature review, sex offenders do
not all look alike, talk alike, or share the same interests. They come from all walks of life
including famous musicians, actors, professional athletic coaches, teachers, politicians, just to
name a few. They do however share one common denominator sexual offending in
opposition to the acceptable moral behavior of a society. There are sexual offending behaviors
which do not fall into the category of criminal activity. Some have crossed the line and offended
against a child, or another person, others have been charged with possession or distribution of
child pornography. No one should get away without some form of punishment for crimes such
as these. However, the statistics are more than accurate showing that men and women who go
through a treatment program in prison have a relatively low rate or reoffending, less than 12%.3

Graduate Assignment
Special Population Literature Review
Scott Harrell

Overall the evidence based on the most recent research has shown that non-violent sex
offenders have a lower rate of recidivism when compared to other crimes committed.
There are basically three categories or classifications of sex offense crimes. Violent sex
crimes which include forcible rape, statutory rape sexual assault, sexual abuse Nonviolent
sex offenses include indecent exposure adultery, incest between adults, and bigamy.
Commercialized sexual offenses make up the third category which includes prostitution,
pimping, and pornography.4
We hear in the media almost daily about yet another sex offense which has been
committed. The public outcry is to place all sex offenders into the same category. One 2009
survey in Florida found that 68 percent of people believe sex criminals reoffend at much higher
rates than other convicts. And 65 to 80 percent of the public believes sex offenders go on to
commit more sex crimes5 There is a misconception among the public that when a case such
as Jerry Sandusky comes out, they immediately relate this to all sex offender groups. As a result
sex offenders regardless of the crime they committed are child molesters. This can be further
from the truth. How can we reverse this misconception so that all sex offenders are not viewed
this way? One very obvious way is to see the sex offender as a person. First of all, when they
return from serving time in prison within 24 hours they must report and register at the sheriffs
office. In most states they cannot move without approval from the permission of the
community corrections officer. There are specific geographic boundaries which they must
remain, not only where they live, but where they come and go. Failure to register or provide
notification of change of address, telephone number, vehicle information, or notification of

Graduate Assignment
Special Population Literature Review
Scott Harrell

permanent or temporary changes in employment, or attendance, enrollment, employment,

volunteer status, intern status, or vocation status at any public or private school is a crime.6
Most states require sex offenders to register twice a year or quarterly for life. One town in Iowa
has a sign posted which says pedophile free zone. Some states even go further by having the
drivers license or license plate identify them as a sex offender. These are just a few of the
restrictions that are placed upon registered sex offenders which make it very difficult for them
to move forward and live productive lives.
Sex offenders first of all, need to be recognized not as the label that is placed upon
them, but as people. In Celebrate Recovery a person introduces themselves by stating their first
name and secondly and most important of all; who they are in Christ. After they have stated
these two identifiers they proceed to share what it is they are struggling with, for example, I
struggle with lust and pornography. This is a powerful statement for the Christian because it
places our individuality and our struggle between the cross of Christ. For the unbeliever this
may be hard to accept, so it would be difficult to make Celebrate Recovery mandatory.
However, sex offenders need to be involved in an ongoing recovery group even after
completing probation. I believe this should be a requirement for fulfilling and completing
registration with the sheriffs office. How different would a sex offender be received into the
community if this was included on the registry? Along the same lines, registration is a deterrent
as well. I am not defending or in favor of life time registration, but it is a preventive measure.
A second and seldom recognized line of defense against potential predators is
education. Schools require students to take sex education classes, however these classes have

Graduate Assignment
Special Population Literature Review
Scott Harrell

failed to teach or encourage abstinence. They have also failed to teach students the truth about
potential predators. The process of constantly warning children of possible danger in the form
of strangers has also been criticized as exaggerating the potential threat and unnecessarily
spreading mistrust, especially when considering that (for example) in the US, about 800,000
children are reported at least temporarily missing every year, yet only 115 become victims of
what is viewed as classic stranger abductions. In situations where the child is in danger for
other reasons, avoiding strangers (who might help) could in fact be dangerous itself, such as in
the case of an 11-year-old Boy Scout who avoided rescue searchers because he feared they
might want to 'steal him'. According to the University of New Hampshire's Crimes Against
Children Research Center, stranger danger evokes more fear than abusers known to the child.
This is because we have to operate on the basis of trust and reciprocity with acquaintances and
it's hard to view acquaintances as threatening or fear them. The father who rapes his daughter
down the street generates outrage, but not the kind of fear as the stranger who rapes a girl in
the neighborhood park. Stranger danger has contributed to parents keeping children indoors,
resulting in an alleged nature deficit disorder.7 Naturally this is the negative view of sex
education in schools and how it has been misused and has generated more fear within society
than it has actually protected. A proper approach is to know what signs to look for in a person
that may potentially commit a sexual offense. Several things to be on the lookout:

Is this person spending too much time alone with the blinds down all day?

Does he interact well with his peer group?

Does he/she spend too much time involved in activities with children? (i.e. youth
ministry, youth sports, camps, hanging around and befriending children at church or in
the neighborhood, etc.)

Graduate Assignment
Special Population Literature Review
Scott Harrell

There are many challenges for the sex offender. Finding a place to live can be extremely
difficult unless the probation or parole officer and sheriffs department is willing to assist.
Typically, private landlords and transitional housing programs can alleviate the pressure on sex
offenders in finding more stable housing. Also, working with parole agents who supervise these
sex offenders can help establish an acceptable or felony-friendly housing list, which should be
maintained by the parole agent, the landlords, or the non-profit organizations who provide the
housing services.8
All this is from God, who reconciled us to Himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of
reconciliation: that God was reconciling the world to Himself in Christ, not counting mens sins
against them. And He has committed to us the message of reconciliation. We are therefore
Christs ambassadors, as though God were making His appeal through us. We implore you on
Christs behalf: Be reconciled to God. (2 Cor.5.18-20)

Graduate Assignment
Special Population Literature Review
Scott Harrell

R. 1. National Association of Social Workers, http://www.socialworkers.org/credentials/credentials/dcsw.asp

N: 2. Pennie Farrell, Ph.D Mandated: Lying Believable Sex Offenders (Book Baby, October 18, 2011: Amazon
Digital Services, Inc)
R: 3. Sex Offenders: Recidivism and Collateral Consequences,
https://www.ncjrs.gov/pdffiles1/nij/grants/238060.pdf (accessed August 2, 2013): 14.
R: 4. Patrick A. Langan, Ph.D, Erica L. Schmitt, and Matthew R. Durose, Recidivism of Sex Offenders Released
from Prison in 1994, (Novmeber 2003): 3.
N: 5. Portland Press Herald. Sex Offender Survey Shows Low Recidivism, July 31, 2011.
http://www.pressherald.com/news/sex-offender-survey-shows-low-recidivism_2011-0731.html?pagenum=full (accessed August 3, 2013)
N: 6. Department of Corrections: Washington State. Rules for Sex Offenders in the Community DOC
Community Supervision. http://www.doc.wa.gov/community/sexoffenders/rulesincommunity.asp
(accessed August 3, 2013)
N: 7. Wikipedia: Stranger Danger. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stranger_danger (accessed August 3, 2013)
N: 8. CorrectionsOne.com: Overcoming Housing Barriers for Sex Offenders.
http://www.correctionsone.com/probation-and-parole/articles/6181835-Overcoming-housing-barriersfor-sex-offenders/ (accessed August 3, 2013)