Exciting new sex offender treatment model

http://forensicpsychologist.blogspot.com/2010/10/exciting-new-sex-offender-treatment.html

Today, dear readers, is an exciting day. It marks the official release of a groundbreaking new book on sex offender treatment, one that may signal a pivotal turning point away from punitive practices toward a recognition of offenders’ essential human dignity and the universality of crime desistance.

Scholars D. Richard Laws and Tony Ward have taken on a huge task in Desistance from Sex Offending: Alternatives to Throwing Away the Keys. They hope to bring mainstream criminological theories about crime desistance to an insular, risk-obsessed fringe of forensic psychology that has remained remarkably uninterested in the fact that offenders desist from crime, or the process through which that occurs.

Desistance provides a superb, highly readable overview of the criminological literature on desistance, the age-crime curve, and offender reintegration research, focusing heavily on the seminal works of Sampson and Laub and Shadd Maruna. The authors propose the Good Lives Model as a theory that can bridge the looming chasm between desistance theory and forensic psychology practice with sex offenders.

The voices of dissent against the dominant, pathologizing discourse of deviance are growing louder. The publication of this trailblazing book is yet another in a series of signals that the reign of penal harm may be losing steam, creating opportunities for implementing progressive reforms.

Desistance is essential reading for clinicians, researchers, academicians, attorneys, and anyone interested in the application of contemporary social science theory on desistance to sex offender rehabilitation .

The timing is propitious, coinciding as it does with next week’s annual conference of the Association for the Treatment of Sexual Abusers (ATSA) in Phoenix, Arizona. At least one conference seminar, by Pamela Yates, Ph.D., will focus on applying the Good Lives Model to sex offender treatment. If you are attending the conference, buy this book early before it sells out.

We can only hope that the spirit of reform embodied in Desistance truly catches on, rather than being coopted by the entrenched forces of risk management.

NOTE: I am writing more detailed and formal reviews of Desistance for publication, and will link to those as soon as they are available. Also see my online review at Amazon (and please, as always, remember to click on “yes” if you like the review).

The Principles of Bills of Attainder

Bills of Attainder, and their lesser version Bills of Pains and Penalties, are the one power by which governments have ruled through the ages.

To understand a Bill of Attainder, one needs to piece together definitions from a few cases from the Supreme Court of The United States.

Congress can only make laws in general applicability. Congress cannot chose whom the law shall apply to. Congress cannot give or remove any rights that are not equally shared by all. Congress cannot use a past action as a trigger for a law.

Bills of Attainder and Bills of Pains and Penalties are forbidden to Congress via the US Constitution.

“No bill of attainder or ex post facto Law shall be passed.” Article 1, Section 9 (excerpt)

“No state shall enter into any treaty, alliance, or confederation; grant letters of marque and reprisal; coin money; emit bills of credit; make anything but gold and silver coin a tender in payment of debts; pass any bill of attainder, ex post facto law, or law impairing the obligation of contracts, or grant any title of nobility.” Article 1, Section 10 (excerpt)

And each individual state has it as a part of their constitution as well.

Bills of Attainder (Bills of Pains and Penalties included) are such that they are targeted law against/for an easily definable group of individuals, or an individual.

They are not required to name the party they apply to.

The “punishment” may be inflicted absolutely, or conditionally.

It can come in a civil form, or a criminal form.

Their creation usually comes not from one overt act, but a series of subversive acts that accumulate over time. Statutory Schemes are used to implement such laws.

The simplest definition that I’ve been able to come up with is:

“Any targeted law that provides for unequal benefits, or attempts to remove a right otherwise enjoyed by everyone else.”

Bills of Attainder have been used throughout history to control the populace by the government.

Here is a list of groups that have been effected by Bills of Attainder.

Sex Offenders Jews in Germany African Americans in America and Europe Native Americans by Spaniards Muslims by Spaniards Native Americans by America Jews in Egypt

I think you get the idea.

Bills of Attainder are the one means by which governments have been able to set up hierarchy. Without this tool, we would not have had the “classes” all throughout Europe and into America.

One man would not be the master of another.

As mentioned before, Bills of Attainder can also give rights that are not shared by everyone else.

Easiest way to understand that comes from this statement:

“If Congress gives a group a right, everyone else is being punished for not being part of that group.”

Only when people understand how Congress does this will they be able to stop it.

Citations:

FindLaw.com
Cornell University
Cummings v Missouri (1866)
Ex Parte Garland (1866)
US v Brown (1965)
Yick Wo v Hopkins (1886)
US v Lovett (1946)