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[Links] Phony recidivism stats, trauma myth redux

Posted by Baldur on 2017-September-15 21:56:30, Friday

(Cross-posted from GirlChat)

News items:

From the New York Times, When Junk Science About Sex Offenders Infects the Supreme Court.

"A few years ago, Ira Ellman, a professor of law at the University of California, Berkeley, and Tara Ellman set out to find the source of that 80 percent figure, and what he found shocked him. As it turns out, the court found that number in a brief signed by Solicitor General Ted Olson. The brief cited a Department of Justice manual, which in turn offered only one source for the 80 percent assertion: a Psychology Today article published in 1986."

"But in the 30 years since that Psychology Today article was published, there have been hundreds of evidence-based, scientific studies on the question of the recidivism rate for sex offenders. The results of those studies are astonishingly consistent: Convicted sex offenders have among the lowest rates of same-crime recidivism of any category of offender."

"while the public almost universally embraces the strict residency restrictions the Supreme Court and lower courts have ratified, study after study has shown that rather than reduce sexual violence, these residency restrictions actually increase recidivism."

Source of phony statistics on sex offender recidivism is appalled at how his comments have been misused.

"The authors of the Constitutional Commentary article, Ira Ellman and Tara Ellman, found that the original source of the 80-percent figure [...] was a 1986 Psychology Today article by Robert Longo, a counselor who ran a treatment program at an Oregon prison, and Ronald Wall, a therapist who worked for him. "Most untreated sex offenders released from prison go on to commit more offenses," they wrote, explaining the value of the work from which they earned their livelihoods. "Indeed, as many as 80% do." As Ellman and Ellman pointed out, it was "a bare assertion" with "no supporting reference."

"Longo himself repudiated the estimate [...] saying it does not accurately reflect recent research and should not be used as a basis for public policy."

""You don't cite popular psychology magazines" as a basis for upholding laws, Longo says. "It's not a scientific journal. I'm appalled that this could happen.""

"Feige also tracked down Barbara Schwartz, the psychologist who wrote the 1988 DOJ manual that cited Longo's article and was in turn cited by Olson. [...] She says ignoring the work that has been done since the 1980s amounts to "deliberate indifference.""

Of course it was more than "deliberate indifference". It was deliberate, but it was not indifferent - there are a lot of people in government and media who made a lot of money by peddling what they knew to be lies.

More in the article about two upcoming Supreme Court cases that could potentially reverse a long string of abuses.

The exposure of the trauma myth never got much exposure while it only threatened pedophiles, but now it is threatening ordinary college students.

"The idea is for schools and police to respond more appropriately to the victims of student sex crimes. But peer beyond the jargon and you'll find little evidence to support these suddenly popular neurobiological theories. The results may wreak harm on the very populations those initiatives purport to protect."

"But science offers little evidence to support these claims. In fact, they fly in the face of almost all recent research on memory and trauma. [...] Rather, the "neurobiology of trauma" movement seems to have become popular because it plays so nicely into progressive ideology."

"As she interviewed more and more survivors of childhood sex abuse, Clancy realized that misinformation about trauma was further victimizing them and causing even more psychological harm."

Lots more good stuff in the article, and in one of its sources, The Atlantic:

The Bad Science Behind Campus Response to Sexual Assault

"Janet Halley, a professor at Harvard Law School, wrote of the intended effect of the training on recipients: “It is 100% aimed to convince them to believe complainants, precisely when they seem unreliable and incoherent.”"

"McNally writes, “Neuroscience research does not support [the] claim that high levels of stress hormones impair memory for traumatic experience.” In fact, it’s almost the opposite: “Extreme stress enhances memory for the central aspects of an overwhelming emotional experience.” There is likely an evolutionary reason for that, McNally said: “It makes sense for natural selection to favor the memory of trauma. If you remember life threatening situations, you’re more likely to avoid them.” Notably, survivors of recent horrific events—the Aurora movie-theater massacre, the San Bernardino terror attack, the Orlando-nightclub mass murder—have at trial or in interviews given narrative accounts of their ordeals that are chronological, coherent, detailed, and lucid."





(visiting from GirlChat)

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