Reconceptualising ‘risk’:Towards a humanistic paradigm of sexual offending

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

83 Downloads (Pure)


Within Western criminal justice traditions, the ‘risk’ paradigm has become the defining logic of contemporary laws and policies on sex offender management. This article critically examines the limitations of current technocratic and algorithmic approaches to risk in relation to sexual offending and how they might be addressed. Drawing on nearly two decades of theoretical and empirical research conducted by the author, it applies the learning on sex offender reintegration and desistance to advance a ‘humanistic’ paradigm of sexual offending. The paper attempts to counter some of the dangers of algorithmic justice and shift risk-based discourse away from its predominantly ‘scientific’ origins. It argues that such a move towards a more expansive and progressive version of risk within criminal justice discourses would better capture the realities of sexual offending behaviour and its real-world governance.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)389-408
Number of pages20
JournalSocial and Legal Studies
Issue number3
Early online date02 Aug 2021
Publication statusPublished - 22 Mar 2022


  • Risk
  • Sexual Offending
  • Algorithmic justice
  • Actuarial justice
  • New penology
  • Reintegration
  • Desistance


Dive into the research topics of 'Reconceptualising ‘risk’:Towards a humanistic paradigm of sexual offending'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this