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Program Profile: New Jersey Adult Diagnostic Treatment Center (ADTC)

Evidence Rating: Promising - One study Promising - One study

Date: This profile was posted on March 06, 2017

Program Summary

The program provides both cognitive–behavioral treatment and relapse prevention to repetitive, compulsive sex offenders. Cognitive–behavioral treatments focus on reconstructing offender’s cognitive distortions; relapse prevention focuses on pattern recognition and breaking the cycle of recommitting sex crimes. The program is rated Promising. The intervention participants were 2.4 times less likely to recidivate, compared with the general prison-population comparison group.

Program Description

Program Goals/Target Population
The New Jersey Adult Diagnostic Treatment Center (ADTC) is a facility that provides cognitive–behavioral treatment services aimed at reducing recidivism rates of adult sex offenders. The program targets repetitive, compulsive sex offenders in the New Jersey correctional system who are receptive to receiving treatment. The ADTC is the only facility in the state (and one of the few in the country) that provides specific treatment and incarceration for sex offenders.
Program Activities
The program contains two components: 1) cognitive–behavioral treatment, which concentrates on reconstructing cognitive distortions; and 2) relapse prevention, which focuses on the recognition of patterns that lead to sex offenses and breaking those patterns to prevent recidivism.

The treatment has five sequential levels, with each building on the previous level and ending with the offender maintaining the gains he has made in treatment through the program. Within the five levels, offenders receive a standard set of psychoeducational modules. In the first level, patients are grouped and receive basic information about sex offending, an orientation to treatment, and begin to acquire the skills needed to participate more fully in the advanced psychotherapy. In the second level, patients begin using a sex-offender-specific workbook to apply the knowledge to their own lives, including responsibility and victim empathy.
The third level focuses on mastery of previous information, in less structured groups, and the beginning of relapse-prevention exercises. The fourth level focuses on more detailed relapse-prevention plans and release preparations. The final level maintains the progress made through the other levels and the placement in a therapeutic community within the ADTC, with additional responsibilities.

Evaluation Outcomes

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Study 1
Zgoba and Simon (2005) found that the overall recidivism was 2.4 times higher for the comparison group sex offenders, compared with the Adult Diagnostic Treatment Center treatment group. However, when looking at offense type, this finding only holds for nonsexual recidivism and does not hold for sexual recidivism.
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Evaluation Methodology

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Study 1
Zgoba and Simon (2005) conducted a quasi-experimental design to examine the impact of the Adult Diagnostic Treatment Center (ADTC) on adult male sex offenders in the New Jersey corrections system. The total study sample consisted of 718 sex offenders (495 in the ADTC treatment group and 223 in the general prison-population comparison group). The sex offenders in the treatment group qualified for incarceration at the ADTC. Sex offenders in the comparison group did not qualify for incarceration at the ADTC. There were no significant differences between the ADTC treatment group and general prison-population comparison group, except on age and gender of victim (there were significantly younger victims and more female victims in the comparison group) and offense type (rape offenses were higher among the comparison group). No information was provided on the race/ethnicity of study participants. 
The data were collected using the New Jersey State Police Computerized Criminal History System and the National Crime Information Center’s Interstate Identification Unit. Multiple logistic regression analysis was used to predict recidivism (measured as rearrest, reconviction, and reincarceration rates), controlling for prior criminal history and exposure to treatment in prison. Recidivism included sexual offenses (any offense that is sexual in nature) and nonsexual offenses (any type of offense that cannot be considered sexual in nature). The data were collected on sex offenders who were released from the ADTC or prison from 1994 to 1997. The follow-up timeframe ranged from 7 years for the 1994 released offenders to 4 years for the 1997 released offenders.
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There is no cost information available for this program.
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Other Information (Including Subgroup Findings)

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Zgoba and Simon (2005) found that age at the time of release was also significantly related to the probability of sex-offense recidivism. Males aged 20–40 have considerably higher rates of sexually reoffending than males over 50. Males aged 31–40 are 4.5 times more likely to commit a new sexual offense post-release from prison. Additionally, sex offenders with previous sexual arrests or more than one nonsexual arrest were more likely to commit another sexual offense.
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Evidence-Base (Studies Reviewed)

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These sources were used in the development of the program profile:

Study 1
Zgoba, Kristen, and Leonore Simon. 2005. “Recidivism Rates of Sexual Offenders up to 7 Years Later: Does Treatment Matter?” Criminal Justice Review 30(2):155–73.

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Additional References

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These sources were used in the development of the program profile:

Zgoba, Kristen, and Jill Levinson. 2008. “Variations in the Recidivism of Treated and Nontreated Sexual Offenders in New Jersey: An Examination of Three Time Frames.” Victims & Offenders 3(1):10–30.

Zgoba, Kristen, Wayne Sager, and Philip Witt. 2003. “Evaluation of New Jersey’s Sex Offender Treatment Program at the Adult Diagnostic and Treatment Center:  Preliminary Results.” Journal of Psychiatry & Law 31:133–64.

Zgoba, Kristen. 2004. Variations in the Recidivism of Treated and Non-treated Sexual Offenders in New Jersey: An Examination of Three Time Frames. PhD diss. Newark, NJ: Rutgers University.

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Related Practices

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Following are practices that are related to this program:

Adult Sex Offender Treatment
A variety of psychological interventions, cognitive–behavioral treatments, and behavioral therapies targeting adult sex offenders with the overall aim of reducing the risk and potential harm associated with releasing this population back into the community. The practice is rated Promising for reducing rates of general recidivism and sexual recidivism, but rated No Effects on violent recidivism rates.

Evidence Ratings for Outcomes:
Promising - More than one Meta-Analysis Crime & Delinquency - Multiple crime/offense types
Promising - One Meta-Analysis Crime & Delinquency - Sex-related offenses
No Effects - One Meta-Analysis Crime & Delinquency - Violent offenses

Adult Reentry Programs
This practice involves correctional programs that focus on the transition of individuals from prison into the community. Reentry programs involve treatment or services that have been initiated while the individual is in custody and a follow-up component after the individual is released. The practice is rated Promising for reducing recidivism.

Evidence Ratings for Outcomes:
Promising - One Meta-Analysis Crime & Delinquency - Multiple crime/offense types
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Program Snapshot

Age: 18+

Gender: Male

Geography: Suburban

Setting (Delivery): Correctional

Program Type: Aftercare/Reentry, Cognitive Behavioral Treatment, Individual Therapy, Violence Prevention

Targeted Population: Sex Offenders, Prisoners

Current Program Status: Active

Listed by Other Directories: National Reentry Resource Center

Kristen Zgoba
Research Scientist; Chairperson, Departmental Research Review Board
New Jersey Department of Corrections
Whittlesey Road, P.O. Box 863; Administration Bldg–Room 115A
Trenton NJ 08625
Phone: 609.292.4036 ext: 5285
Fax: 609.292.9083