Sexual offenders with serious mental illness: Prevention, risk, and clinical concerns

Jill D. Stinson, Judith V. Becker

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

35 Scopus citations


Individuals with serious and persistent mental illness who have also engaged in illegal sexual behavior present a unique challenge for our legal and clinical systems. Frequently, these individuals may engage in problematic sexual behaviors which result in hospitalization rather than incarceration, and an overburdened and resource-deficient public community mental health system is ill-equipped to address the seriousness of these sexual behaviors. We have a rather limited understanding of how prevention programs, intervention strategies, and risk assessment would work with this population. Here we evaluate data from a sample of 245 inpatient psychiatric sexual offenders in a forensic mental health setting and compare these with what information has already been presented in some of the literature. Through an examination of seriously mentally ill sexual offenders and their clinical presentation, legal history, and risk management concerns, we illustrate a variety of tertiary prevention needs. Future directions in the area of prevention and risk management for seriously mentally ill sexual offenders are also discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)239-245
Number of pages7
JournalInternational Journal of Law and Psychiatry
Issue number3
StatePublished - May 2011
Externally publishedYes


  • Psychiatric sex offender needs
  • Sex offender mental health
  • Sex offender prevention
  • Sex offenders and serious mental illness

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pathology and Forensic Medicine
  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Law


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