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Living with 290

Living with 290: Counseling or treatment

Most if not all individuals who are convicted of registerable sex offenses must participate in a counseling or treatment program as a condition of post conviction/supervised release terms. These programs are overall geared towards individuals who were convicted of hands on offenses. With an increase in prosecutions for non contact offenses including pornography cases it is curious that even in the past ten years few if any non contact programs have started.

Additionally most conditions state that the offender will pay for part or all costs associated with the treatment program. The program I am has monthly fee which starts at fifty dollars. Anyone fortunate enough to be employed with enough money left over pays more. Making me be part of a program geared towards hands on offenses when I was convicted of a non contact possession of pornography offense is weird. Then without any say in the curriculum of the program I must pay a monthly fee.

The best part is that many of the discussions about dating, relationships, and sex brought up by the group are like listening to a language I don’t speak. What separates me from most others with the same offense or many adults convicted of sex offenses, is I have no dating, relationship, or sexual experience. Due to no experience there are entire categories of acts, situations, and circumstances I am clueless about. I have not even been in the same room as a naked woman and haven’t seen a nude woman in person. Imagine me sitting in a room where everyone else has way more experience. For example some months back one person talked about fooling around with a girlfriend years ago and used a specific term to describe their exact activity. I sat there having heard the term before, but still unaware of its meaning. Not wanting to appear uninformed I did not ask about the meaning.

I have found the saying “If life gives you lemons, make lemonade” to be useful from time to time, but what if someone doesn’t know what lemons are? How can progress be expected when the basics are far from understood?

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  1. mike r

    Since I have a noncontact offense I was only required to attend a couple of those group therapy sessions during parole as my psych concluded that they had no relevence to my situation. I still had one on one meetings monthly with him during parole and even those decreased to once every three months by the end of my second year on parole. The most detrimental aspect of parole was the residency restrictions which made it almost impossible to comply with all the other conditions such as charging the gps

  2. quint

    I was convicted of a 647.6, no-touching offense. My crime was done through social media. I was placed on 3 years of summary probation and ordered to attend 52 weeks of sex compulsive anonymous, but no other treatments/counseling was ordered.

  3. hannah grace

    Oftentimes, the sentences for a sex crime make no sense. My loved one also had a non-contact crime. He was required to go to group counseling every week as a condition of his probation. We, too, had to absorb the entire cost into our very limited income. He would come home disgusted with the counseling because so much of it was inconceivable scenarios that he could in no way wrap his mind around much less think to commit. I have concluded that the mandatory sex rehabilitation classes are just another way to punish the offender and have the unjustified employment of many justified. The main purpose of these counselors is to shame and publically humiliate anyone who is required to attend. They are there to collect their paycheck and nothing else. My loved one successfully completed his “class” and on receiving his certificate, his counselor asked, “How often do you plan on coming for your maintenance plan?” Basically, she was admitting that the course she moderates is ineffective towards the rehabilitation of a sex offender because they are not capable of being rehabilitated. She was constantly reminding the participants of their “label” and the fact that they will always reoffend at some time. My loved one’s response was: I don’t plan on coming again. My court requirement was to complete the class and receive the certificate. He walked out and never looked back. His probation officer also agreed with him that the requirement for counseling did not include a mandatory maintenance program. It’s all about the money. I hope things get better for you. It will take time. I didn’t see a glimmer of the light at the end of the tunnel for a long, long time. I can now see a glimmer of hope . . .

  4. D

    I was convicted of a noncontact misdemeanor in OC, and probation made me attend one of many programs offered on their approved list. I was lucky that the one I chose was VERY good and was based mostly on your own experiences and working through your issue. It was run by Dr Paul Lingren. I heard many a horror story of other classes where all that went on was the leader would yell at people and tell them the were terrible people.

  5. ab

    The story above seems to be about a federal program. Being convicted of possessing child pornography I have experience with a program similar to the one described above. Here are some facts regarding treatment during federal supervised release.

    1. Except in rare cases (none I personally know about) someone is required to attend counseling or treatment for the duration of their supervised release. Group sessions go for 90 minutes once a week. If a person has five years of supervised release they can expect to be required to attend counseling for the entire five years. I have met people with 10 and 15 years of supervised release and have heard about a few who got lifetime supervision even for possession or distribution of child pornography.

    2. Progress is measured through group participation and completing major assignments in a workbook. Then presenting these assignments to the group. The following are examples of what assignments are.

    An autobiography – so the group and clinician can get to know someone better. The template for writing this included many sections covering important parts of life up to the time of writing the autobiography.

    A walk through of the offense or offenses that got someone in trouble – Skewed towards hands on offenses, but I have seen templates for pornography offenses.

    Some letters – one to someone victimized, one from a victim to the offender, one to someone else impacted by the offense, and eventually one to self. Again all geared towards contact offenses, but somehow adapted for use by those without contact offenses. Probably the most difficult aspect of writing a letter to a victim or from a victim is being forced to do so when no victim impact statements were part of the case. Basically everyone acknowledges “yeah we know there is no confirmation that someone felt victimized or any other way, but let’s just assume someone definitely was victimized”. Which is completely ridiculous and possibly offensive/insulting to the person(s) being arbitrarily labeled as victims. If that weren’t bad enough as a guide a victim impact statement from another case could be used. For example a girl who was touched inappropriately by her father in photos or a video wrote a statement. Years later someone comes along who possessed other images and/or videos, except none show molestation of any sort. The second person reads the letter from the first case for perspective. Unfortunately because the content is so different little if anything can be gained.

    A detailed plan for keeping oneself from relapsing (committing another offense).

    3. Once the above assignments and maybe a few others have been completed someone might be eligible for going to a once a month group. Getting into this group also requires continued passing of polygraph tests (one occurs about every six months) and approval from the persons probation officer.

    Interestingly the system is not referred to as rehabilitation or reintegration into society. It is part of a containment model that includes; United States Probation Department, the treatment provider, and from time to time a polygrapher. Overall the only way anyone will get anything out of counseling is if they want to. Of course wanting something and getting it is rarely the same thing when other people are deciding what options are available.

  6. Eric

    The offender treatment regime is a culling approach. Everyone involved knows that group sessions without confidentiality are not treatment and won’t heal anyone. It’s not psychotherapy and doesn’t purport to be. You’re on your own if you want therapy or healing. Twelve step groups are one free, option.

    Having gone through group offender treatment, I believe it’s true purpose is to provide a forum for those who are so poorly socialized or mentally ill that they can’t participate and follow the rules, to identify themselves. Those people may find themselves back in jail for noncompliance, which is a proxy for being too strange or angry or whatever to tolerate the minor accommodation to lies that keeps western civilization from collapse. Can you behave like a civilized person once a week or not?

  7. NMV

    There are group programs in San Diego specific for pornography cases. Look into corrigan and associates. I believe they currently have the federal contract for the federal system and a majority of county and state cases are refered to them.

    On a different note. If you don’t agree with going to therapy, for some weird reason. Or would rather attend therapy of your own free will. I recommend you carefully read CA Title 15 and you will find a way out. You just have to be bold enough to stand up for yourself. It has worked for everyone i know that is on state parole and in some cases county probation.

  8. mch

    Immediately after my arrest, and before sentencing, I began attending counseling before it was mandated. My counselor/group was not the least interested in what I had done, but were concerned that I was able to not do that again. FYI, it was an internet sting. The counselor was fabulous, teaching me to think differently in times of stress and to look at the outcomes of my actions before it happened. I also learned that I had choices to do or not do this again.There were no accusations, not angry counselors, no polygraphs, just a very peaceful, non-threatening environment. The groups consisted of abusers of different kinds, DUI people, sex offenders and people who just felt like they needed a “tune-up” in their lives. I found the environment to be most helpful because nobody knew why I was there. I was taught a valuable new thinking skill and my self worth was partially restored. Probation fully approved my counseling time. I voluntarily attended twice a week and went far beyond what was required. That was partially what saved my life then.

  9. NPS

    It’s surprising the amount of disparity between therapists for those convicted of sex offenses. I guess I’m among the lucky few who actually had a very good treatment program. Upon initial assessment, my assigned therapist determined that I didn’t need group therapy. After only 5 months, she contacted my probation officer and said that she was ending sex offender treatment because clearly I was not a sex offender. Unfortunately, I was bound to have one calendar year of treatment, but my P.O. was not opposed to having a different type of treatment so long as I was with the same state-approved program. So my case was transferred to another therapist for treatment of PTSD and anxiety. In fact, this particular therapist was very objective and often critical of the broad application of the SOR and optimistic that there should be and will be a tiered registry.

    If there are other good therapy programs out there, perhaps list them so that others who are still on parole/probation can choose the right program for them.

  10. steve

    I did court ordered group and did individual therapy on my own. Best thing I ever did and wish I understood what therapy was about BEFORE I got into trouble.

  11. hannah grace

    This is in response to NMV and the comments about Corrigan and Associates. This is the program that my loved one and many other registered citizens that I know have attended. Most of us are in agreement that the counselors employed there are geared to bully, insult and publically humiliate those required to participate in the group therapy program. The counselor continually reminded them they are “sex offenders” and are the “dregs of society”. Every week for the two years it took for my loved one to successfully complete this course he had to endure this type of harassment from the counselor. She used the threat of having to start all over with the program if he wanted to change counselors or was to complain about his treatment to the “powers that be.” I find it very questionable why any individual with the mindset that a “sex offender” cannot be rehabilitated would pursue this career. The counselor constantly threatened to inform the probation officer of the registrant’s noncompliant behavior/attitude if anyone dare disagree with her. I thought the purpose of counseling is to help rehabilitate and integrate the registrant into society in a positive way. Unfortunately, in my opinion, Corrigan and Associates does not fulfill their mission in a positive manner.

    • Timmr

      I researched Corrigan in 2003 and decided to go with Center for Change in Vista. I actually enjoyed going there most of the time.

  12. NMV

    In reference to hannah grace. I attended all the different programs in San Diego. As a registered citizen, i can honestly say the only program that treated me with any respect and actually tried to help everyone there, was corrigan and associates!

    As an fyi, the therapist you referenced is no longer there. The existing therapists are excellent.

    again, as a registered citizen on parole, if you dont want to go, read the Title 15.

    Therapy at corrigan and associates helped change my life!

    • catch 22

      Does anyone know what section of Title 15 that deals with opting out of the therapy ?

  13. NMV

    Below is a link to the casomb, that lists the certified therapists as of 1/2014. As noted, some programs are better then others. All these programs follow a similar course curriculum. If you are on state parole, or county probation, you will more then likely be ordered to attend one of these programs.

    http://www.cce.csus.edu/portal/admin/handouts/List%20of%20Certified%20Programs%20as%20of%201-7-14.pdf

    This lists all the certified providers for california.

    Again, if you feel that you do not need therapy, you can always look into the Title 15 to get relief.

  14. Anonymous

    Narum Clinical Associates was absolutely devastating to me. I cannot say much without identifying myself to them or to anyone else, but i can certainly say they successfully destroyed my ability to have any intimacy in what is supposed to be a healthy relationship. * did things to my mind and my spirit that made me consider suicide. I was absolutely relieved when i finally went to prison. Emotionally, i did get stronger but now i deal with serious issues from that “program”.

  15. Two states east

    The outpatient treatment program I was court-ordered to attend took things one step further. The offenders got together and produced a report of setup behavior examples they used on their victims. The County probations dep’t liked it and put it on their website for the public. Take a look at it. Google: “Marion County, Oregon-Protecting your children”. The statistics in the thing I don’t agree with, but the behaviors and signs are right on.

  16. Cool CA RC

    I was with David Pruvis.
    From what I understand he was able to get some RSO out of the Coalinga State Hospital in California.

    I do not know if he is still in biz.

  17. So in LBC

    Hey what’s the chapter of the code section?? Would be helpful!!

  18. Rob

    As I’ve stated before the treatment programs for sex offenders are not designed to rehabilitate but to punish people and even encourage reoffending. My SO counselor continually made remarks that in a therapeutic sense, were counterproductive. “What color were the little girl’s panties?” “Do you jerk off thinking about her little p—y?” I went to my federal probation officer about those remarks, because I assumed that the focus would not be about objectifying people, but about making healthy relationships. At the hearing, even the judge who sentenced me to probation for possession of CP agreed that those remarks were highly inappropriate. From what I heard that counselor had to resign because he allegedly sexually abused boys in YA in exchange for candy and alcohol. Grooming anyone?

    There was another counselor who was a total bully. She was EXTREMELY angry and hateful to every one of us. I knew that she had serious issues of her own, like all of the other counselors there. I had to walk out of therapy one time after she snapped at me for no reason, because if I didn’t I would have been in an orange jumpsuit after kicking her ass. Fortunately, one of the patients I was friends with taught me how to completely ignore them, because striking out in anger would have been exactly what they wanted. The main way I achieved that is the realization that some two-bit excuses for therapists do not know or control ME.

    The real therapy comes from people who can provide answers for themselves instead of what somebody else tells them to do.

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