envelope Contact 

Abstract: Addressing the predictors of sexual recidivism – Reflections on knowledge and practice

This presentation will consider the challenging question of how far typical sex offender treatment programmes are evidence-based. The presenter will reflect on 20+ years of working in the sex offender field from the perspective of her current position overseeing the ~evidence~ contribution to evidence-based policy making across correctional rehabilitation more broadly. The presentation will first summarise what is known from the risk prediction literature about what the key targets for change should be when working therapeutically with sex offenders. It will then compare and contrast the findings from this literature with what tends to happen in actual therapeutic practice. Are we targeting the right things in our sex offender treatment programmes? Are we using the most evidence based methods or have we become stagnant and neglected to notice other possible evidence-based approaches? Finally, the presentation will consider how we assess and measure change.  How informative and accurate are our methods for understanding change during the sex offender’s journey to desistance?


Ruth E Mann, PhD, is a chartered and registered forensic psychologist employed by the National Offender Management Service (NOMS) where she is the Head of Evidence for NOMS Commissioning Strategies Group. In this role she monitors and translates the research literature to inform evidence-based commissioning, and conducts and manages research projects designed to develop the evidence base. Previously Ruth managed the NOMS national strategy for the assessment and treatment of sexual offending, including the development, implementation, support and evaluation of sex offending treatment programmes in prison and probation. Ruth began her career as a prison psychologist working in a high security prison. She then worked as a Sex Offending Treatment Programme Treatment Manager and Head of Psychology in a large London prison, before moving to HM Prison Service Headquarters (now NOMS). Ruth has a BA in psychology, an MSc in Applied Criminology from the University of London and a PhD from the University of Leicester. She has published and lectured extensively on the rehabilitation of people convicted of crime, particularly the assessment and treatment of sexual offenders. In 2010, Ruth received the BPS Division of Forensic Psychology senior award for her contribution to forensic psychology in the UK.