Date of Award

Summer 2009

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Public Administration and Urban Policy

Committee Director

John C. Morris

Committee Member

William M. Leavitt

Committee Member

Stacey B. Plichta


The purpose of this study is to provide an examination and analysis of the collaboration among sex offender professionals working with convicted sex offenders on supervision in the community. This study will examine collaboration as it is functions as the foundation of the containment model approach (English, Pullen & Jones, 1996) to supervising sex offenders in the community. The containment model guides the supervision of sex offenders in the community who are on probation with the Virginia Department of Corrections, Community Corrections. The collaboration between the Probation Officer, Treatment Provider, and the Polygraph Examiner provides a net around sex offenders on probation. Each of these professionals has a different role in their contact with sex offenders. The goal of this collaboration is to reduce sex offender recidivism.

The theoretical framework and model for collaboration in this study is based on Thomson and Perry's (2006) multidimensional model of collaboration (p. 20). This model is based on Wood and Gray's (1991) earlier theoretical framework of collaboration having antecedents, process, and outcomes. Thomson and Perry's model identifies five dimensions of the collaborative process. The multidimensional model of collaboration guides the current research and the multidimensional collaboration scale is used to measure collaboration.

This research offers a cross-sectional, mixed method, concurrent research and data collection approach. Data were collected between September, 2008 and January, 2009. Quantitative data were collected with survey materials that included the multidimensional collaboration scale and the qualitative data involved two open-ended questions asking participating about the factors that promote and hinder collaboration in this setting. Participants in this research are the sex offender professionals—Probation Officers, Treatment Providers, and Polygraph Examiners—that comprise the teams in each of the Probation and Parole districts in Virginia. Probation Officers are state employees and the Treatment Providers and Polygraph Examiners are contract state vendors. The unit of analysis in this research is the team.

Using the five dimensions of collaboration, twelve independent variables were identified in this research. Additional variables that were collected in the survey information were also examined in the analyses separate from the model variables. Two dependent variables—excellent and poor collaboration—are identified and used for analysis purposes. There are a total of 94 teams comprising the team dataset. Bivariate and logistic regression analyses are conducted on the team dataset.

This research offers the first empirical examination of the containment model approach to supervising sex offenders and specifically, the collaboration between the sex offender professionals that serves as the foundation of this model. The majority of research on collaboration has been case study analyses. This research attempts to examine and measure collaboration empirically across the state probation and parole districts.

This study's conclusions reflect the complex nature of researching collaboration. Recommendations are offered to help address short-comings in the current collaborations as identified by this research. This research demonstrates support that although quantitative data can identify important findings in collaboration, qualitative data are needed to help understand and interpret quantitative findings.


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