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Mentally Disordered Offenders Dissertations

Mentally disordered sex offenders: A comparison with other sex offenders on clinical and legal factors

Mario Joseph Scalora, University of Nebraska - Lincoln

Abstract

Mentally disordered sex offender (MDSO) or sexual psychopath statutes are dispositional options for courts to divert mentally disordered persons convicted of sexually motivated acts into the mental health system. The purpose of this study is to investigate the current implementation of the Nebraska MDSO statute by replicating, with modification, prior MDSO studies in order to assess: (1) the impact of procedural reform upon the implementation of the Nebraska MDSO statute, (2) the result of extending such an analysis to include clinical, developmental, and legal factors not systematically studied in prior research, and (3) the factors influencing decisions made by significant actors in the process in order to assess the validity of the assumptions underlying MDSO statutes that those offenders likely to re-commit sexually dangerous acts can be systematically identified and treated.^ Archival analysis was performed on the mental health, correctional, and court records of 76 offenders adjudicated MDSO and 127 convicted felony sex offenders not adjudicated to be MDSO. For the purpose of multivariate analysis, the groups were matched on the basis of sentencing judge and year of disposition. Discriminant analysis of judicial disposition indicates that judges were most strongly influenced by mental health professionals' opinions in determining MDSO status. Multivariate analysis of mental health professional opinions indicate that, compared to the nonMDSO sample, MDSOs are more likely to have: victimized children, more extensive prior sex crime history, participated in deviant sexual activity in the past, been sexually abused as children, and utilized less aggressive methods in perpetrating the crime.^ The results obtained are consistent with prior research in suggesting that MDSO statutes are focused toward child molesters and habitual sex offenders. These findings suggest that mental health evaluations are utilized more to "medicalize" the commitment of habitual criminals rather than address amenability to treatment. ^

Subject Area

Psychology, Clinical

Recommended Citation

Scalora, Mario Joseph, "Mentally disordered sex offenders: A comparison with other sex offenders on clinical and legal factors" (1989). ETD collection for University of Nebraska - Lincoln. AAI8925259.
https://digitalcommons.unl.edu/dissertations/AAI8925259

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