I recently attended an outstanding seminar in Monroe on caring for sexual offenders and want to share some facts they presented about these men in our community. All we hear about is really abusive cases. This treatment program has some very solid success stories.
I am delighted to meet with a number of SO's at the Norm Maleng Regional Justice Center here in Kent. Several of these men received Christ for salvation. Others display remarkable transformation. One of the huge issues in ministry to incarcerated men and women is their transition back into stable, supportive, and safe settings in the community which I will write about in another post soon.
The Sex Offenders Treatment Program (SOTP) is the DOC volunteer rehabilitation carried out at Twin Rivers Unit within the Monroe Corrections Complex. The SOTP is one of the largest such programs in the nation.
Present research shows that less than 7% who complete the SOTP return to a DOC prison with a new or repeat sex offense conviction. Over 90% of SOTP offenders are able to complete the program.
All male sex offenders in DOC prisons may volunteer for this program. Due to the lengthy waiting list, most offenders enter within 18 months of release and are expected to continue treatment in the community upon release for up to three years.
Bringing reality into treatment for sex offenders—
Facts you should know
Over 95% of convicted sex offenders return to the community eventually. Treatment improves the chance for successful reintegration.
Most sex offenders assault victims they know. Children are likely to be assaulted by members of their family; adults are likely to be assaulted in “dating” type situations.
Sex offenders are extremely heterogeneous. Treatment and supervision must be tailored to the unique characteristics and needs of the offender.
Treatment requires that the offender take responsibility for past and future actions.
Fewer than 5% of sex offenders suffer from a formal mental illness. Modern sex offender treatment uses cognitive behavioral techniques to teach the offender to control his thoughts and behaviors in order to prevent re-offending.
Sex offenders vary in likelihood that they will commit new sex offenses. Overall without treatment, fewer than 30% of adjudicated offenders will be arrested or convicted of a new sexual offense within five years.
Research shows that well-designed treatment can reduce recidivism by more than 35%.
Despite effectiveness, treatment is only one component of an effective strategy to protect the community from dangerous sex offenders. Monitoring and support by the community correction agents, other professionals, social support, and productive employment all play crucial roles.
Lifestyle circumstances directly affect chances of new offenses. Stable housing and employment, healthy social and leisure activities, a diligent and proactive support system, and ongoing treatment are ingredients to ensure successful and lasting transition into the community.