Evaluating treatment of young sex offenders

Project period

2001 – 2006

Project staff

Dr. Daniela Hosser

Dr. Christiane Bosold


Own funds

Project description

The project was carried out at the suggestion of the juvenile detention centre in Hameln, which requested a scientific study into the efficiency and effectiveness of a new programme for the treatment of sex offenders. The treatment programme conducted in a unit with a capacity of 25 prison beds targets prisoners sentenced under paragraphs 174 to 180 or 182 of the German Criminal Code and with a minimum sentence of 12 months. The treatment programme is based on the use of detention in residential groups with specially trained staff in a specially equipped unit. In the main, it comprises offence-specific intervention involving a motivation and orientation group, and a treatment group. It also involves a weekly residential group meeting and a weekly sports programme.

The evaluation of the treatment programme was designed to assess the effectiveness of the programme as a whole measured against the achievement of individual programme goals and their potential short-term and long-term effects. It also looked at the effectiveness of the treatment programme in relation to possible influencing factors such as length of treatment, motivational conditions, the atmosphere within the therapy group, length of detention and the type of sexual offence committed. In an extension of a classic pre/post design, five survey intervals were planned, with data collected using standardised questionnaires. The long-term effects of the treatment were evaluated using a Federal Central Criminal Register (BZR) information request and a written follow-up survey of participants. Using a quasi-experimental design, prisoner files from the Hameln juvenile detention centre were used to recruit a comparison group of untreated sex offenders. A comparison was also planned between the group of sex offenders and a group of violent offenders treated under the LoGo training programme who were also under detention in the same centre.

Project related publications
  • Hosser, D. & Bosold, C. A comparative analysis of sexual and violent offenders in youth prison (KFN-Forschungsbericht; Nr.: 91). Hannover: KFN.