Helms School of Government
Doctor of Philosophy in Criminal Justice (PhD)
pedophilia, criminal justice system, mental health, origins, sexuality
Rehabilitation and Therapy
McElhaney, James K., "Pedophilia: Understanding the Origins and Problems within the Criminal Justice System" (2023). Doctoral Dissertations and Projects. 4806.
Societal stigma, criminal sanctions, and the mental illness or disorder of pedophilia are explored in this paper because of the considerable research gaps that have accumulated over the past decade. Most of the data acquired regarding individuals with pedophilia have been predominantly from male offenders, with most of the information coming from reports to local law enforcement and the FBI. The outcome of multiple studies shows that neuroimaging, associated brainwaves, and related sexual attraction are significantly different for individuals with pedophiliac tendencies than for others. Studies also reveal that research has been limited to prevention techniques and therapy for nonoffenders seeking help as well as the criminal justice system's definition of pedophilia. Most minor-attracted people are subjected to self-reporting, and the definition of pedophiliac tendencies within mental illness is vague and can be misused. Additionally, many reporting systems and avenues exist for professionals working with individuals with pedophilia. Still, mandatory reporting has long been part managing mental illness and the potential for offending or reoffending. Using qualitative research methods, this approach is assessed in light of newer studies and interviews with mental health professionals; examination results show that pedophilia is both a mental disorder and a criminal consideration for which society currently has no established proactive measures to prevent offenses. The need and potential for handling pedophiliac acts before they can occur, the accurate risk assessment of pedophilia in the criminal justice system, and society's view of the topic are all judged based on previous treatment options that have not worked.