Sex Offender Treatment Works
Not surprisingly, the capture of recently released sex offender and accused Denver rapist Brent J. Brents is sparking protests over the release of sex offenders. But those who are claiming sex offenders can't be treated are wrong. Treatment while in prison dramatically reduces the risk of recidivism.
A 2003 Corrections Department report evaluating the treatment of sex offenders.... found three of every four sex offenders who received no therapy reoffended, compared with one in every six for those who completed the first phase of treatment. The rate improved to one in 10 for those who finished the second phase in a minimum-security facility for sex offenders. The study examined the records of 3,338 sex offenders.
The report also states that "current Parole Board members are extremely reluctant to release sex offenders who refuse to participate in treatment."
So hold the cries for longer sentences and instead demand that sex offenders be given treatment while in prison. For those that refuse treatment, parole boards likely will keep them in jail. Many states allow for civil commitment of sex offenders after their prison terms are up.
Treatment works. States should make it mandatory. With more and more states, including Colorado, setting life in prison as the top end of the sentencing range for sex offenders, parole boards have the option of keeping the most dangerous offenders in prison while allowing those who have become rehabilitated to re-enter society.
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