Sex Offender Risk Assessments: Gender Bias & What’s ConsideredPublished: Aug 02, 2020 in Sex Crimes, Sex Crimes Involving Children
Those accused of Texas sex crimes or convicted sex offenders should become very familiar with sex offender risk assessments. These are the tools used to determine whether or not someone who has committed a sexual offense is likely to reoffend.
If you’ve been accused of sexual assault or a related crime in Houston, these assessments can influence sentencing, probation eligibility, and sex offender registration. You need to be proactive and review all your options with an experienced Houston defense lawyer.
As a former federal prosecutor and highly-successful Houston sex crime defense attorney, Ned Barnett knows how important sex offender assessments are, what it takes to defend against sex crime charges, and how to effectively resolve accusations before real damage is done.
What Risk Assessments Look At
The goal of a sex offender risk assessment is to determine how likely someone is to commit the same crime or a similar crime in the future. The information gleaned from this evaluation can also be used to set goals for treatment and management, community notification, and placement on a sex offender registry.
A full assessment looks at a wide range of information to make informed recommendations on treatment, penalties, and more.
Sex offender assessments include:
- A comprehensive psychiatric evaluation
- Details of the alleged incident
- Police reports
- Testimony and input from the alleged offender
- Input from those who know the offender
- Results from different scales, such as the Derogatis Sexual Functioning Inventory or Multiphasic Sex Inventory
- Test results measuring sexual arousal when faced with different stimuli
Are They Constitutional?
One of the biggest issues with sex offender risk assessments is the different scales they use to analyze male and female offenders. Differences between male and female offenders are considered a foregone conclusion; therefore, these biases are built into assessments without room for reasonable criticism.
Different theories look at female offenders as a completely separate category from male offenders. Societal perceptions look at female offenders as mentally ill, not as dangerous as male offenders, not a widespread an issue, or under the influence of a male.
These discrepancies are extremely dangerous for men accused of sex crimes. Theories that paint women as less dangerous implicitly indicate that men are more dangerous. This tips the scales against any accused man, regardless of the severity of his alleged crime or the evidence/lack of evidence against him.
Because of these issues and others, there has been a push to take a more gender-neutral approach to risk assessments. This would even the field for all accused individuals, rather than predisposing a man to more severe punishments based on gender.
Fighting Your Charges With an Attorney
Risk assessments are just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to mounting an effective defense to charges filed against you. Many find themselves fighting these classifications after the fact, when they should have been considered from the very beginning.
When it comes to sexual offense allegations, it is better to fight them before they lead to formal charges or a conviction, rather than trying to undo the damage of an unfair classification.
Yes, there are problems and inherent biases in how sex offenses are evaluated. But, your goal should be to protect yourself, your rights, and pursue the best possible outcome in your case. That’s why you need an experienced and dedicated criminal defense lawyer at the very first sign of possible criminal charges.
You might feel that doing so makes you look guilty or that you are capable of explaining a misunderstanding yourself. In reality, this is rarely the case. You can end up doing more harm than good and your words can be taken out context to be used against you. In fact, the sooner your lawyer can get ahead of accusations and charges, the better your chances.
Houston Attorney Ned Barnett Can Help
Houston sex crime charges are serious, and a sex offender assessment is just one of the complicated and flawed hurdles you’ll need to deal with. Do not wait to discuss your options with a lawyer committed to resolving your situation favorable.
Schedule a free consult with the Law Offices of Ned Barnett online, or call (713) 222-6767.