Thursday, May 8, 2014

Treatment reduces recidivism among sex offenders

TherapistOriginal Article

04/30/2014

By MARY LOCHNER

Treatment for adult and juvenile sex offenders reduces the risk of recidivism, according to experts and research, but a lot of offenders’ success in the programs comes down to a major attitude adjustment.

A local who works with juvenile sex offenders said young offenders who begin treatment typically express attitudes supportive of sexual assault when they come in. He spoke on condition of anonymity because he had not been authorized to interview by his agency.

What it comes down to, for all of them, is a lack of empathy,” he said, “and an overall mental justification on their part for their actions, and not taking responsibility for their actions.”

Those who offended against children, he said, will often say the victims were probably too young to remember what happened to them, or that they seemed fine afterward. Juveniles who offended against other teens will typically say she was asking for it.

Most of them come in and say, ‘If I was put in a high-risk situation where I felt I wouldn’t ever get caught regardless of what I did, yeah, I would reoffend.’

Treatment consist of helping sex offenders identify their own assault cycle – thoughts, behaviors, and high-risk situations that lead up to them committing sexual assault – and teaching them to be aware of it and alter it. They also learn strategies for identifying and challenging thinking errors; developing empathy for others; and taking responsibility for their own actions, he said.

Programs targeted at reducing recidivism among sex offenders are typically more successful with the juvenile than the adult population, he said.

Going to jail for a sex offense might seem like a steep consequence to a young person, he added, but not being held accountable is likely worse for that person in the long-term.

It puts him at much higher risk for reoffending, because there’s no connection between what they did and how it affects the person they offended against. Especially when they’re younger, treatment is essential for drastically decreasing their chances of reoffending.”
- Men are not the only ones who commit sexual crimes!

A UAA Justice Center analysis on the impacts of treatment on adult sex offenders found that length of time in treatment was correlated with less risk of re-offense, and that “Those who completed all stages of treatment through the advanced stage had a zero re-offense rate for sexual re-offenses. This included Sexual Assault offenders (rapists) [sic], who generally tend to re-offend more quickly and at a higher frequency.”


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