Rehabilitation for sex offenders

More than most crimes, sex crimes instill feelings of fear and anger in citizens. When a past sex offender is released from custody, fear and anger can consume a community. Media stories about sex crimes often serve to enflame emotions and rarely tell the whole story about the treatment and rehabilitation of sex offenders.

As a first step when a sex offender is incarcerated, criminologists and psychologists who specialize in sex crimes assess the individual to determine the best treatment program. The assessment process also looks at the life experiences of the individual and takes into account his/her psychological make-up. The appropriate treatment program is then assigned.

Assessment of sex offenders continues throughout the sentence period and upon release into the community. Once in the community, correctional services staff supervise offenders and look for signs of a relapse that would put society at risk. Assessment tools allow them to distinguish between offenders who are doing well in the community and those who are on the verge of re-offending.

Research shows that treatment of sex offenders does make a difference. Sex offenders who receive treatment are less likely to re-offend. Offenders who don't receive treatment are likely to re-offend at a rate of 17% compared to 10% for offenders who have received treatment. Indeed, most sexual offenders do not re-offend after a certain age.

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