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Letter   |    
A Mischaracterization
Howard V. Zonana, M.D.
Psychiatric Services 1999; doi:

To the Editor: In their review article on treatment of sex offenders in the March 1999 issue, Grossman and her coauthors (1) badly mischaracterized my article in Science (2) when they stated that "Zonana has suggested, however, that the consequences of recidivism in sex offenders are so detrimental to society that a recidivism rate of zero is the only acceptable risk level."

The entire thrust of my article was to oppose the sexual predator statutes following the Kansas v. Hendricks decision in which the U.S. Supreme Court found them to be constitutional. I argued that the popularity of the statutes was due to the fact that the public expected a recidivism rate of zero and seemed to tolerate nothing less. The public could not care less where such offenders are housed—in prisons or in mental hospitals. To me, it makes an enormous difference. This mischaracterization of my views places me in the untenable position of appearing to make a recommendation that I find quite objectionable.

Dr. Zonana is director of the law and psychiatry division of the Connecticut Mental Health Center in New Haven.

Grossman LS, Martis B, Fichtner CG: Are sex offenders treatable? A research overview. Psychiatric Services 50:349-361,  1999
 
Zonana H: The civil commitment of sex offenders. Science 278:1248-1249,  1997
 
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References

Grossman LS, Martis B, Fichtner CG: Are sex offenders treatable? A research overview. Psychiatric Services 50:349-361,  1999
 
Zonana H: The civil commitment of sex offenders. Science 278:1248-1249,  1997
 
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