Vol. 34, Issue 3
Summer 2022
Text Only Version
In This Issue
Farewell Letter to Maia
Editor's Column
ATSA Presidentís Column
Alcohol, Consent Education, and Sexual Violence on College Campuses: Opportunities for Prevention?
Bestiality and its Relevance in Psychosexual Evaluations
Treating Anxious Teens in an Anxious World
Examining the Dark Sides of Psychedelic Therapy
How to Treat Youths who have Committed Sexual Offenses
Child and Adolescent Committee
Membership Committee
Membership Coordinator for ATSA
Cybersex Unplugged: Finding Sexual Health in an Electronic World
Weston Edwards, David Delmonico,and Elizabeth Griffin
2011 CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform 212 pages
ISBN-13:978-1453626450 $22.95 via Amazon (paperback)
The Correctional Helicopter: How and Why Correctional Agencies Fail to Rehabilitate Offenders
Richard J. Parker, Ph.D.
2022 Tellwell Talent 266 pages
ISBN-13 978-0228873235 Hardcover: $21.38 (Amazon)
Gregg Belle, Ph.D. of Quincy, Massachusetts, USA
Welcome ATSA's newest members
2022 ATSA CONFERENCE: October 26 - 29
ATSA Fellow Applications Open
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Forum Editor
ATSA Forum Editor:
Sharon Kelley, Psy.D.

Managing Editor:
Tegan Waring, B.A.

Editoral Board Members:
Katherine Gotch, M.A., LPC
Deirdre M. D'Orazio, Ph.D.
Rosaura Cruz, Ph.D.

Associate Editor of Research Corner:
Ian McPhail, Ph.D.

Review Editor:
Becky Palmer, M.S.

Book Reviewers:
Shoshanna Must, Ph.D.
Robert Parham, M.A.
Jim Reynolds, Ph.D.
Tracy Tholin, LCPC, LSOTP

Contact the editor or submit articles to:

Sharon Kelley, Psy.D.
Sand Ridge Secure Treatment Center
Madison, WI, United States
E: sharonmkelley@gmail.com
P: 608-301-1478
The Correctional Helicopter: How and Why Correctional Agencies Fail to Rehabilitate Offenders
Richard J. Parker, Ph.D.
2022 Tellwell Talent 266 pages
ISBN-13 978-0228873235 Hardcover: $21.38 (Amazon)
Review submitted by David Prescott, LCSW, LICSW

Years ago, a debate raged on ATSA’s listserv about the treatment of individuals who categorically deny their sex crimes of record. Many felt it was inappropriate, even impossible, to provide treatment for a problem that the client said didn’t exist (in fact, much has been written in this area by authors such as Liam and Bill Marshall). Others asked what message treating denial would send to those who had been victimized; would we be indicating that their experiences don’t matter? How would we justify our actions to them? It was author Richard Parker who asked, rhetorically, what we would say to those who would be victimized in the future because we chose not to treat someone in denial. It was a good question, and one that reflects Dr. Parker’s deep thinking.

Richard Parker starts this book with another interesting observation. He describes a Vietnam War era pilot who stated that:

(f)lying a helicopter was much more difficult than flying a fixed wing aircraft, as the natural inclination of a plane was to fly level and straight, whereas a helicopter’s natural inclination was to flip upside down and plummet towards the ground at high speed. A helicopter pilot … could not afford to remove their hand from the control stick, as constant adjustments were required to avoid disaster.

The more I observe correctional systems, the more I become convinced they resemble helicopters, not planes.  Despite the preponderance of research about how to reduce reoffending, correctional institutions seem to be driven to ignore some, or all, of this research, like moths fly suicidally towards a flame.

Those who have spent time around such institutions are liable to agree. In this writer’s experience, there even seems to be a sort of life cycle that programs go through, of better times and worse, depending on leadership and contextual factors. From the start, Parker emphasizes the importance of implementation efforts.

The Correctional Helicopter is accessible, well written, and will interest both newcomers (particularly in its introduction of key concepts) and more seasoned professionals (especially through the appendix, which richly describes outcome evaluation). It opens with a foreword and endorsement from Paul Gendreau, one of the true giants of the correctional literature. From there, it provides an up-to-date review of the literature on “what works” in correctional treatment. Parker conducts a concise, thorough review of the principles of effective correctional practice, including the principles of risk, need, and responsivity. A particularly helpful aspect of this review is Parker’s focus on the often-misunderstood responsivity principle.

From there, Parker explores the processes by which face-to-face workers often fail to follow the principles of effective correctional practice. This includes by ignoring and undervaluing risk assessments, ignoring, the need principle, and confusion around who the client actually is. He further explores professionals’ responses to clients. As throughout this book, this chapter is carefully laid out as well as expertly conceived.

Further sections focus on management, legislation, policy, and adaptation of the principles of correctional practice. Each is helpful and covers new ground. Parker has pulled in virtually all the extent research. This writer’s only wish would be that there were more sections on precise steps practitioners and administrators can take to improve services. The book concludes with an excellent appendix on treatment outcome evaluation methodology, which includes a helpful summary of research as well as insights into topics such as treatment dropout.

This book is current, thoughtful, and concise. It reflects very considerable knowledge developed over years of practice and hard work. It is highly recommended for those entering the field as well as those seeking to deepen their knowledge and fixing their sites on how they can improve their services. As its title suggest, the work involved – with public safety and client wellbeing in the balance – is harder than it looks.

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