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Opinion: Sex offenders can’t be cured, but can be managed

YOUR ARTICLE “Case shows difficulty of tracking sex offenders” (Metro, June 7) illustrates the folly of our current approach to this highly charged subject. High-risk sex offenders have a compulsive illness that can’t be cured, but it can be managed. As your story indicates, at least one sex offender, desperate not to give in to his compulsion, would call the police for help when he feared he might reoffend. We’d be much safer if we provided supervised residences, practical support, and treatment geared to management of this disorder. Full Letter to the Editor

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  1. Eric Knight

    First off, the link is bad. Here is the corrected link:

    http://www.bostonglobe.com/opinion/editorials/2014/06/11/sex-offenders-can-cured-but-can-managed/0645gDu7UQeJTYi4kpKQyM/story.html

    Next, I’m not really happy at the way the newspaper essentially cherry-picked a statement, then edited it to make is seem as if the letter identified a reluctant solution, with the implication that a better solution would be jail or incarceration for life for all offenders, and that SOSA was more a “Kumbayah” approach that depended on absolute trust of the offender rather than the actual, community-based reintegration method that has proven to work well.

    Call me a cynic, but I calls ’em as I sees ’em.

  2. Q

    Here we go again; WTF (I don’t do stupid well) makes a social worker an expert on registrants?!?! Cured?!?! Like we have leprosy or something! If anyone is finding it a “challenge” to keep track of registrants it’s because, and only because they have the misplaced belief they can manage and control people; they can’t and that should be obvious to every one by now, and are too stupid to recognize the obvious. As for their registry goes; the article documents one more case of a registry failing to deliver as promised. I get so annoyed at stories like this. It paints all registrants as some sort of deviant with an uncontrollable and incurable mental disorder when the reality is that registries and most of the laws that go along with them are junk laws that do nothing to protect anyone and are completely ineffective in purpose and intent. The registry and accompanying laws were never based of fact and weren’t given much thought; they were ill-conceived. I wonder if they will ever stop blaming registrants for their failings.

  3. Tim

    I’m not sure where the author gains the information that all former offenders with sex crime convictions are incurably compulsive. The under 5% reoffence rate says something different. Maybe Canada actually has only the repeat offenders on its list.

    • Q

      The author has never bothered to look at the readily available facts; read the newspaper, yes; listened to what people are told to believe by people with a stake in keeping the lie alive, yes; took the time to look to see if the information they are getting is correct; NO.

  4. Robert Curtis

    We have been made into a social group that by having so many punitive measures against us it makes it so we can’t have a stable life thereby become homeless. Define for me how is that making it easy to manage? Seems like the more restrictions society puts on us the more unmanageable we become…kind of like herding chickens.

    • Q

      Robert Curtis

      The create a problem that by it’s very nature gets progressively worse, and then they make it sound like it’s our fault!?! And now I’m wondering; they can’t manage their own self created problem, yet they think they can manage us? This is the height of stupidity.

  5. j

    The title reads SO’s …, the article says High Risk SO’s. This is the crux of the problem from a fundamental point. No one ever mentions that in all likelihood, the majority of folks on the list are years beyond the “punishment” phase. This generalization propagates the punishment and takes it to the public, where they are allowed to extoll more social punishment and ostracizing.

    High Risk, Reformed, Low-Risk – all the same treatment by the media for headline grabbers. The problem is as complex as any and this constant painting by broad brush in headlines and by virtually all media outlets – in any way to get ratings or audience -contributes to the confusion and unecessary intrusion into lives of people and families who have moved on decades ago.

    They know it, public officials and policy makers know it (to some extent) but yet the generalization and associated hysteria continues unabated and this is how the sleazy and unconstitutional mess thrives.

  6. ab

    The first word says everything I need to know about this article. It’s an opinion and opinions are like butt holes, everyone has one. Pick any quality held by a group of people and say because of quality X those people can’t be cured, but can be managed. We humans don’t know everything so it’s rather presumptuous for someone to make a that something can’t be cured, fixed, or is impossible….within our limited understanding that might be true though there are an untold number of possibilities. I will sum it up this way; there are things we know we know or at least think we know, there are things we know we don’t know, and there are things we don’t know that we don’t know i.e. unknown unknowns.

  7. j

    They ought to include some other broad brushed statements such as:

    “Politicians cannot be cured from lying but they can be managed…”

  8. mch

    Interesting article. I know that the Germans under Hitler “managed” the Jewish problem by using gas chambers, Stalin “managed” the Poles and Czechs by mass executions, the US Army “managed” shell shocked WWII vets by frontal lobotomy, Chinese “manage” dissidents by extended prison terms and torture and yes, RSO’s seem to be “managed” by public shaming, loss of jobs, police harassment, registration restrictions, loss of freedoms AFTER sentences are completed, subjected to threats and violence against them…so yes, RSO’s seem to be “managed” quite well by the USSA.

  9. Joe

    Maybe I am not getting it but I thought this was a thoughtful article. Disregarding the headline which clearly is designed to generate clicks, the author is talking about treatment for “high risk offenders”. I understand those to be the ones with a lengthy pattern of repeat offenses as well as those with a mental condition (lets face it – both of those exist, the question is how to identify the latter). And why this does not include any kind of (non sex) offender I also do not understand.

    This article is NOT about 9x% of registrants – those people who have been convicted of a single offense, have not and never will re-offend, and that are punished eternally.

    With that qualifier, even for those two subsets of convicts identified above, treatment is still more effective (both in terms of safety and cost) than the current approach, and as such, the article is well thought out and valid.

    • Tim

      I agree with you to some extent. The problem here is the sloppy use of language. “Sex Offender” includes everyone from one time public urinators to serial rapists. If the author means only repeat offenders at high risk of committing sexual assault, she should say so. The term is too general to describe anyone included within the label to any accuracy. It should be abandoned as a term used in any discussion claiming to be scientific or thoughtful. Social “scientists” would communicate better if they stop using labels incubated in the political arena where the express purpose is manipulating public opinion.

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