Can you reform a sex offender?


#1

Can you change a sex offender’s behaviour patterns? Are they genetically programed or do they simply make sexual mistakes?

Shirl Marshal runs a charity that believes the answer is to be nice to them.
Details here

The arguments against locking them up & throwing away the key and or shooting them are that: -

a. it will not stop them, just make them more secretive.
b. it is vengeance based, and therefore does not serve to help us understand the reasons for their behaviour or ultimately help us all deal with the problem.
c. long term incarceration merely exacerbates the problem, allowing offenders to mix with like minded individuals and find new ways to engage in their depravity.

Any comments?


#2

I work in corrections and I’ve worked with a great many sexual offenders.

The prevailing answer to your question, from studies in the literature is no.

That being said however doesn’t mean we don’t try. We have some programs in place, in the IDOC (IN Dept of Corrections) it’s called S.O.M.M… It’s mandatory for all offenders convicted of sexual crimes.

Almost all sexual offenders were themselves victims of sexual abuse so trauma therapy is useful as is behavior modification therapy.

Unfortuanately, like any therapy the client must *want *to change.

Sexual offenders mixing in the correctional environment is not really an issue since they must keep their crimes hidden or face retribution from the other inmates


#3

My brother is a parole officer and many of his “paroley’s”?
are sex offenders, he doesn’t think they can be reformed, do they have rights once they have served their time? Sadly yes, but sadly they usually do commit a crime again even after therapy while in prison and even the ones who have continued therapy outside of prison have offended again, its very sad that they are almost not able to control this part in them that tells most people that is not ok, I won’t do that, well, they don’t get that or they don’t listen to that instinct that tells them that is not ok to do that.
Sadly, we had a sex offender released after he was in prison for over 20 years and within 6 months he is waiting trial for murder of a young woman, why he was ever let out I don’t know as he had comitted sex crimes against three different women in the 70’s and refused to get help while in prison, some people are like ticking time bombs and they just can’t live in society.
My opinion is no they can’t be reformed, but thats my opinion :thumbsup:


#4

It depends on what type of offender you’re talking about. There are fixated and regressed. The fixated can’t be reformed that’s the way they are. They can control it but not eliminate their attraction. The regressed acted out on some stressful situation in their life at the time. Since less then 1 in 10 sexual crimes are reported. The fixated are usually the ones that are caught b/c they do it again and again by the time they are caught they have offended many times.


#5

Any type of “reform” that doesnt provide for a spiritual/religious format in its program is doomed to failure. Reforming (from SIN) comes from the person willing to seek and acknowledge God and ask for forgivness…reform without THAT is nothing more than medicative rehab… a bandaid on an oozing wound…too many “professionals” only pay attention to the mind without recognizing the SOUL.


#6

What a difficult question! I have to agree with most of you that it isn’t very likely. Some of you have first hand experience with the offenders themselves. I work with children that have to deal with the emotional trama the rest of their lives. I guess I would NEVER trust an offender when it comes to being alone with anyone…no matter how “reformed” they are. We have a “sort of” sex offender living in our little town. He was never convicted and isn’t on the registry because he was able to plea down to “emotional damage to a child” or something similar due to evidence, or lack thereof. However, he is NOT suppose to be alone with children. He is at mass every week sometimes with 3 young children, his nephews and neice. I think his intentions are good, but as a mandated reporter, I have to report. It feels awful because he is at mass for goodness sakes! On the other hand, he knows he isn’t suppose to be with children unsupervised, so why wouldn’t he follow the court order?
Anyway, I have a hard time believing they will reform but pray for them nonetheless!
Weezir


#7

The quick answer is, maybe you can, maybe you can’t. However, the Holy Spirit definately can! :thumbsup:


#8

You need to more carefully define “sex offender”. For example a 19-year-old could be convicted of a sexual offence against his or her 16-year-old “boy/girlfriend” in some states by having consensual sex. Does this make he or she a “sex offender”?
Voluntary castration would “cure” them. If I were on a parole board I wouldn’t even consider a parole to a repeated sexual offender without their voluntary castration. The qualifier is “repeated” sexual offender. And it would have to be voluntary.


#9

So far there is no silver bullet for these people.

I do however remember a time when the general attitude was that ‘wife beaters’ couldn’t change. They were just that way and that’s the way they were.

We have since seen that with intense therapy (usually court ordered we admit) that they can take responsiblity for their actions and change.

I think right now every precaution should be taken but we shouldn’t give up looking.

There was a guy on Oprah not long ago who said he was a Pedaphile and hadn’t committed any acts in years but he kept himself in constant therapy and of course avoided contact with children. Experts are are watching him closely. I didn’t see the whole program as I’m not a regular watcher so I didn’t hear his explanation as to why he commited those acts.

dream wanderer


#10

I should hope you can reform them, or they will all be going to hell!!!

Anyone can change, but are we really going to spend the time, the love, the money and the spirituality on it…probably not


#11

OK being that I am a prosecutor who specializes in sexual assault crimes I guess I should weigh in on this with a few comments.

  1. There are all different kinds of sex offenders and their likelihood to repeat their offenses depends on what kind of offender they are and any personality disorders they have.
    In particular, the psych literaterure says that pedophilia is a chronic and lifelong condition. It cannot be cured, only treated and managed. If you have pedophilia combined with another personality disorder, you can almost forget about rehabilitation absent divine intervention.

  2. There is no gene that makes someone a pedophile. I believe that it (like homosexuality - but that is another discussion) is a developmental disorder. Most of the offenders I have put away were molested themselves as children. Something happened in their youth that made their sexual development go haywire.

  3. God can change anyone, but I am not going to bet the innocence of my children or anyone else’s children on the chance that a pedophile is rehabilitated. They should be incarcerated for a long period of time and if they are released they need lifelong counseling and treatment and the community needs to be notified of their presence in the neighborhood so we can keep them from having access to other children.

  4. Sex offenders are a different breed of criminal. They are the worst of the worst. I think they are one of the least likely to be rehabilitated. In jail or not, they cannot have access to children. It is like putting beer in front of an alcoholic.


#12

Pittsburghjeff,

Good points. I wonder about a “date rapist”, which would fall into the category of a sex offender, but not always something habitual. Is that a man who hasn’t been taught that when a woman says no, it’ means no? Is that person a criminal or a person who has made a grave and harmful error in judgement? That’s where I really want to be careful with my own boys, not that premartial sex should even be considered. (Pandora’s Box - if I talk about this, am I opening it?)

There are startling number of women who have been date raped, which makes me think there are perhaps a lot of date rapists out there who have reformed themselves.

I think the point is that our penal system does nothing towards rehabilitation and only that can come from God.


#13

[quote=Scanner] I wonder about a “date rapist”
[/quote]

I wonder why you use the term “date” rapist. The occasion of the rape seems inconsequential. A rapist is a rapist, period. Does it matter that it’s a habit? How about if I murder only one person? It isn’t a habit so I should be treated differently.

[quote=Scanner] I think the point is that our penal system does nothing towards rehabilitation and only that can come from God.
[/quote]

Rehabilitation should not be a goal of our penal system. It doesn’t work; the rate of recidivism is compelling evidence against rehabilitation. Our penal system isn’t punishment in the normal meaning of the word. It should be to protect the innocent from the predators.


#14

Right or wrong, it is a fact of life that juries and the public in general aren’t as troubles by “date” or “acquaintance” rapes than they are by stranger rapes. And it is also a fact that of the hundreds of sexual assaults I have prosecuted, I had only one true stranger abduction/rape and that guy got 33-80 years in jail. The most I have gotten on an aquaintance rape conviction is 5-10 years (when the victim was a child).

An aquaintance rape in many ways can be even more traumatic than a stranger rape because the rapist is usually someone who the victim trusted. I don’t take the date rapes any less serious than stranger rapes. I just have a lot harder time getting juries to convict the date rapists.


#15

[quote=pittsburghjeff]OK being that I am a prosecutor who specializes in sexual assault crimes I guess I should weigh in on this with a few comments.

  1. There are all different kinds of sex offenders and their likelihood to repeat their offenses depends on what kind of offender they are and any personality disorders they have.
    In particular, the psych literaterure says that pedophilia is a chronic and lifelong condition. It cannot be cured, only treated and managed. If you have pedophilia combined with another personality disorder, you can almost forget about rehabilitation absent divine intervention.

  2. There is no gene that makes someone a pedophile. I believe that it (like homosexuality - but that is another discussion) is a developmental disorder. Most of the offenders I have put away were molested themselves as children. Something happened in their youth that made their sexual development go haywire.

  3. God can change anyone, but I am not going to bet the innocence of my children or anyone else’s children on the chance that a pedophile is rehabilitated. They should be incarcerated for a long period of time and if they are released they need lifelong counseling and treatment and the community needs to be notified of their presence in the neighborhood so we can keep them from having access to other children.

  4. Sex offenders are a different breed of criminal. They are the worst of the worst. I think they are one of the least likely to be rehabilitated. In jail or not, they cannot have access to children. It is like putting beer in front of an alcoholic.
    [/quote]

Excellent post with words to the wise.


#16

Believing that even the most depraved sinner has no hope of reformation or redemption is in itself a sin against hope, a sin against the Holy Spirit. Jesus shed His blood and gave His life on the Cross for the sins of all mankind, even child molesters. They are our brothers and our duty is to love them and help them, but we must at the same time do everything we can do to protect our children against the threat of pedophilia. Sex offenders are under the power of an evil spirit, even if that evil spirit was invited into themselves. Hate the sin, but love the sinner. It is obviously naive of Shirl Marshall to believe long term incarceration won’t solve the problem. If the problem is sex offenders on the streets, locking them up takes them off the streets and solves most of the problem. Then they can be studied while in prison in order to help others to see the danger signs, which may have started in the offenders’ youth, so we can profile the progressively worse behavior patterns of sex offenders to properly target preventitive measures. God can save their souls in prison, so that when they die, in prison, they too may have the hope of Heaven. To believe that God cannot save them is to believe there is to attempt to limit God’s power.


#17

[quote=Seven Sorrows]I should hope you can reform them, or they will all be going to hell!!!

Anyone can change, but are we really going to spend the time, the love, the money and the spirituality on it…probably not
[/quote]

Anyone can change, but the question is do they want to? Probably not, as the worst thing that ever happens to them is that they do a couple of years in jail and then are free to go out and do it again. Maybe we should consider one strike enough and keep these people out of society and away from our children.


#18

Hi all, As a survivor os sexual abuse ,who was abused by two people, only one of the two was sexualy abused as a child , and i work with adults who were abused , i have found most people who abuse , have not been abused but say they have to get a lighter sentence, out of over 1,000 people i know who were abused, only two were abused by some one who was abused as a child , if you look at those people who veiw child porn ,you will find most have no sexual abuse in the family or have been sexualy abused yours michaelmac ps our Government spend billions every year on those who abuse children , survivors when they tell have a long wait for help


#19

Greatly depends. People assume all sex offenders are violent predators, when a good deal of them simply violated statuatory rape laws, sometimes with only a single year difference. I’ve seen some idiotic laws that make no distinction between those people and violent rapists.


#20

When it comes to an adult sexually molesting a child, I’m all for the one strike rule. I think it is so evil and twisted that only the sickest of the sick would do something like that and I don’t care if they rot in jail.

Let them repent & let God forgive them. But don’t ever let them out.


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