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UT: Sex offender treatment – Is it working?

If an individual is convicted of a sex offense, he or she is required to follow a number of rules, including registering as a sex offender, serving time in prison or on probation, and undergoing psychological treatment. Full Article

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  1. It doesn’t work

    Regarding the original article; I have something very relevant and important to add in the public comment section, but i am not allowed.

  2. Dustin

    “At some point, hopefully in most cases, we’ve reduced the risk factors and likeliness to re-offend.”

    Funny how they don’t mention that the re-offense rates for SOs is already lower than everyone else, less murderers. The article would sound pretty trivial.

  3. Eric

    Once I was released from custody, I was lucky to get into a treatment program with a pretty good staff and very knowledgeable and compassionate counselor. The program helped me to understand why I made such a reckless choice in my life, there are reasons for it. I was quite successful and my life was destroyed because of it. The treatment program was beneficial. However, the horrific experience of being ground through the justice system and being incarcerated did nothing but fill me full of fierce resentment and a hatred towards the government and the system, fill me full of shame, and isolate me from society. It has taken a long while to readjust to life on the outside, and if it hadn’t been for supportive family members I don’t see how I ever could have recovered, I’m sure I would have been caught in the prison cycle. Of course, being on the registry I will never be able to fully blend into society. I have difficulty finding work, dating is shameful, finding housing is difficult, even interacting with friends is difficult because there is a part of me I never want to let be seen.

  4. Dustin

    Please note that I am not a psychologist or doctor of any kind. I’m a reasonably well-read former military intelligence analyst grandson of a rocket scientist. I tend to make reasonable (to me) presumptions, admittedly on partial facts (former occupational hazard). Though stubborn to a fault, I have no problem with being proven wrong. The following is just my opinion, for what it’s worth. If any presumptions below are incorrect and changes any corresponding opinion, please provide a link and I will print it out and eat it.

    DWIs and drug users are always court ordered to “treatment” as a matter of routine when they are convicted, yet it is largely the same people running in and out of every court for those offenses. Should beg the question, “what good is treatment?” but never seems to.

    The behavior modification model is used by most counselors whose patients are court ordered. Indulging in their addiction is usually how addicts cope with life’s setbacks. For behavior modification to even have a chance of success, 1) there has to be an actual addiction, and 2) something in the patient’s life must occur to make them actually want to kick their addiction. Until that event occurs, whatever it may be, forced participation in treatment is nothing but lip service, of the addict and the treatment provider. If the patient is a user but not an addict (very, very big difference), forced behavior modification causes other emotional problems.

    Sex offender treatment, also ordered on conviction as a matter of routine, is based on the same behavioral modification model and usually fails for one simple reason: there’s often no addiction to treat in the first place. First time sex offenses – of which the overwhelming majority of sex crime prosecutions are – are often (if not always) committed because of a mix of opportunity, curiosity, and lack of judgment (a polite way of saying stupidity), none of which is a mental illness.

    A few generations ago, it was common for children as young as 13 to get married and start families, at times to spouses twice their age or more. Some were miserable to be sure, but most ended up leading perfectly happy, normal lives. It’s rather ironic that the generations that are currently leading the legislatures and sitting on the court benches have determined that children who have been through puberty but haven’t reached the (arbitrary) age of consent are either too immature or too stupid to consent to sexual activity (ignoring that nature has already made that decision) and made them scarred-for-life victims, even if they instigate the offense.

    This is not to endorse or condone adult/child sex. It’s only questioning the logic and whether the punishments are proportionate. Personally, I would argue that adults convicted for sex with a minor should be imprisoned and released on the minor’s birthday of the age of consent.

    Presuming mental illness requiring behavioral modification based on a single incident is logical fallacy in several regards. One, obviously a single incident does not make one an addict. A person doesn’t become an alcoholic the day he drank his first beer, even if he did into a lake afterward. He becomes an alcoholic when the most important thing to him is getting his next one.

    Second, few if any judges (or more likely, DAs, considering most criminal court judges rubber stamp whatever the DA wants in 90-some percent of cases) are eligible or qualified by any competent authority to diagnose addiction or determine the type or amount of treatment needed, if any. And even if they were, they certainly couldn’t do it without hours and hours of observation, conversation, and personal history review of the defendant, which never happens. In cases where the mental health of the defendant is questionable, but more often than not will side with the DA no matter what determination the appointed physician makes.

    Third, treatment is rarely a preventive measure in medicine in general, not just mental health. Chemotherapy will not prevent cancer. It will only subject the patient to radiation poisoning and the associated sickness and possible hair loss, and the possibility of cancer remains unchanged.

    • Tim Moore

      It must be noted that most child marriages in the past were not consensual, at least not by the people getting married, but required the consent of the parents. That was the real issue with Romeo and Juliette, parental control, not underage sex. The reasons were not of love, but economics, religion and tradition. Marriage was, and is advocated nowadays by some fundamentalists, Christian, Muslim, as soon as it is possible to conceive. This also was to limit the possibility of unauthorized sex and illegitimate children. This is because the girl is the property of the father until such ownership is transferred to the groom. It seems people do always make the best of things, and make thing work out, but you can keep the happy, innocent past.

      • Dustin

        There’s no doubt in my mind that some arranged marriages were not consensual. That’s just basic human nature which is mostly unchanged throughout time. That the underlying reasons were traditional or economical doesn’t change that those marriages were consensual. The concept that marriage is about love and love only is relatively new in world history terms, only going back a couple hundred years at most.

        I’m hesitant to guess how many arranged marriages were consensual or opposed because there is simply no earthly way to know. I don’t think art or literature at the time is a reasonable measure. Artists and writers are often in the social, political, and/or traditional minority, as reflected in their works which typically have far greater impact with later generations than their own. Records of the masses are scant, even if they could reflect such things, which is unlikely. And illiteracy was prevalent, making personal diaries and journals hard to come by.

        To me, any attempt to quantify whether arranged marriages were consensual or not, even with vague terms like “many”, is akin to the “50,000 unreported sexual assaults per year” claim. The number is not supported by any rational basis and was basically pulled out of thin air – large enough to sound frequent and alarming, small enough to explain why it’s not seen locally, and believable enough to believe its prevalent elsewhere – to appeal to emotions rather than reason.

        Need to clarify the remark above that I think adults convicted of sex with underage teenagers be limited to when the victim reaches the age of consent should only apply to cases where the act was consensual or instigated by the victim. Cases involving force, threats, and/or pre-pubescent victims are an entirely different matter, and I join those that believe serious penalties are warranted, up to and including death, but not registration. My stance against the registry remains unchanged.

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