Sex Offender Rehabilitation: Not An Easy Process But Results Are Positive

Some sex offenders express their sincere desire to change, but the rehab process is not an easy one. Far too often, they keep telling themselves that what they are doing is not really causing any harm to their victims (watch video below). If one wants to perceive sexual offenders are mentally-ill individuals, what can actually be done to help them recover and promptly reintegrate society? Most states will not even look into that question as North Carolina was the only state as of 2007 that had a correctional facility aimed at curing sex offenders so that they can rejoin society. The rehabilitation center is overlooked by a group of psychologists who perform intensive treatments. The core of the treatment stands for SOAR, which means sexual offender accountability responsibility.

The treatment runs for twenty weeks and focuses on the mental health aspect of the offenders. During the course of one week the program will run for five days with six hours dedicated to the treatment during the day. The program touts that all of their patients who enroll in the program really want to be there to change their ways. The program specifically consists of individual therapy along with a lot of reading and writing. The patients receive homework and have to do presentations. The goal of all the coursework is to address what the offender is doing and to look at it from the point of view of their victims. As a result the hope is that the offenders will successfully adopt new behaviors and ways of thinking.

Does it Work?

Over five years, 150 patients finished the twenty week program and only 2 of them committed another offense. That is a little over 1%, while the standard is that 20-30% of sexual predators will commit another sexual offense. The psychologists who run the program say one of the most helpful forms of treatment is the victim role-play activity they perform. Since the success of programs like this one a lot more states run similar programs. The most common practices seek to make sure offenders know how to lower and manage risk. Also, once a program is finished, it is important to continue to monitor offenders so they can get periodic evaluations.

Sex offenders being evaluated by a psychologist
Sex offenders being evaluated by a psychologist

The problem with sex offender rehabilitation is that the process will be different for every individual who needs it. Each individual needs to take psychological tests and be interviewed so that a psychologist or counselor can determine what makes that particular individual commit sexual offenses. Then, the individual can alter their attitude, thinking and behavior to reduce the occurrence of another offense. It is important for the programs to also work in groups so that the offenders can assess the behavior of someone other than themselves.

The Bottom Line

It is never easy to rehabilitate a sexual predator, but it is possible as long as they are able to recognize the issues that contribute to their offenses. They also have to consistently monitor the environment to gauge their risk. All this helps to hone their risk management skills. Although the numbers look good for rehabilitation, it is only because the patients have to volunteer. Not only that, but they must be able to be released from the facility at some point. Thus, the worst offenders will not get the same treatment since they have no chance of being released back into society. Even if an offender is rehabilitated they will still be a registered sex offender. That will not change no matter how well their recovery goes. Despite the success the treatments are seeing, it is still vital that parents stay aware of the sex offenders in their community. Not every offender who enters the program will be successful no matter how much they want to change.

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Sam Hadfield

Sam Hadfield is a retired LAPD officer with over 30 years of experience practicing in the states of Florida and California. Today he runs SexOffenderMap.org to help families assess the safety of their neighborhoods by tracking sex offenders, child molesters and other criminals. Sam recommends that families keep track of sex offenders in their neighborhoods by using tools like Kids Live Safe or local Sex Offender Registries.
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