The Impact of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy on Sex Offender Recidivism Rates in South Dakota

Brandi Hansman


Sex offenders regularly deal with changing laws and treatment programs imposed by lawmakers who are attempting to reduce recidivism. In this thesis I discuss one of the more common forms of treatment, known as cognitive-behavioral treatment (CBT), and different outcomes that researchers have found pertaining to this form of treatment. I followed up on a group of 100 previously chosen sex offenders in order to determine their recidivism rates at ten years post-incarceration, and found a recidivism rate of 29 percent. After determining the recidivism rates of these offenders, I attempted to find a correlation between the level of CBT they completed and recidivism. Of additional importance in this thesis is the length of time that the offenders were followed; there has been much discussion in academia as to how long sex offenders should be followed in order to have accurate recidivism results, and this researcher was given the opportunity to re-evaluate the offenders after ten years. The results in this study indicate that a follow-up period of ten years may be necessary to detect all forms of recidivism.