The prevention and intervention techniques for sexual offense behavior, including the management of sex offenders, have become prominent and essential in the United States. From the Bureau of Justice Statistics, over 160,000 offenders have been convicted of rape and sexual assault (Evans et al., 2019). After these offenders serve their jail term, they are ultimately going to be released from prisons. In a bid to prevent the offenders from committing the same crime, effective management and rehabilitation strategies are requires. According to Evans et al. (2019), sex offender management legislation has become prominent in the United States. The issue was rated as the fifth area of concern in the justice system. The laws address issues such as retribution, incapacitation, deterrence, and rehabilitation. In this handbook, the focus will be identifying techniques of managing issues about the management of sex offenders.
Psychotherapeutic Treatment Options for Sex Offenders
Psychotherapy is an effective treatment for sex offenders. Most of the sex offenders have an underlying mental health condition that lures them to these acts. The characteristics of therapists and the treatment approaches improve the overall treatment outcomes. Establishing a therapeutic relationship with the clients is critical in such settings since it allows sex offenders to express themselves to therapists. According to Evans et al. (2019), a holistic approach based on Adlerian theory is the best technique of psychotherapy treatment for sex offenders. The method emphasizes social interest, responsibility, and superiority and inferiority issues. Importantly, most of the sex offenders often lack social interest. As such, they lack the urgency of confronting their problems. Primarily, most of the sex offenders have past issues that include untreated trauma, which makes them feel inferior. In a bid to regain their superiority, such individuals develop some sexual assault behavior on their victims.
Psychotherapy treatment allows for the discovery of mistaken beliefs that sex offenders posses. A therapist could understand in-depth why and how the sexual behavior developed in an offender. By conducting a lifestyle assessment, a therapist can distort beliefs and deviant sexual practices to live a healthy lifestyle. Engaging in the therapy process is positively associated with treatment progress. It resolves past trauma and allows for the effective rehabilitation of a sexual offender. By the time the therapy process is completed, a sex offender is well rehabilitated, and he or she is fit to go back to the community after serving his or her sentence. From this, it is clear that psychotherapeutic treatment options are an effective rehabilitation technique for sex offenders.
Placing Sex Offenders Victims in Separate Housing
Incarcerated sex offenders often have a strained relationship with other inmates. Most of the sex offenders often feel unsafe in the prison environment. The feelings of lack of safety emanate due to constant threat and victimization. Similarly, after release, most of the sex offenders are placed on housing restrictions. As Schultz (2014) indicated, there are tremendous restrictions on housing opportunities for registered sex offenders. A majority of the states ban sex offenders from living within a thousand feet of areas populated by children. Such restrictions cause significant and stunted mental growth among sex offenders. With time, this causes depression and other psychiatric conditions that could prompt inferiority issues hence leading to a recurrence in sex offenses.
GPS tracking of sex offenders after their release from prison would help prevent stigmatization and isolation of offenders. Tracking the prisoners will ensure that the community members feel protected. As such, there will be no need to place sex offenders victims in separate housing. Schultz (2014) proposed a model that provides a treatment avenue that directs individuals towards a better life and allowing them from sexual aggression. By implementing affirmative policies in societies, the stigma placed on sex offenders could be removed and reversed. The labeling of offenders does not benefit from the community, but instead, causes more harm than good. The states should consider policies that aim at reforming sexual behavior among offenders while also influencing positive behavior change. Such systems will help yield behavior change, and offenders' placement in separate housing would not be necessary.
Management of Safety Concerns from Sex Offenders
One of the techniques of addressing safety concerns arising due to the presence of sex offenders and criminals in communities is by implementing technologies to track sex offenders after their release from prison. The rise of technology has made it easier for the tracking of offenders in the community. However, technologies are changing on a day-to-day basis. With this in mind, it is wise to authorize the use of technologies and let correctional personnel determine the most appropriate tool. Technologies such as GPS and other tracking devices could be of help. Such techniques may be costly but are worth it since they help minimize the stigmatization of sex offenders. They address safety concerns among community persons who are afraid of habitual behavior from sex offenders.
Consequently, policymakers ought to increase awareness on the management issues of sex offenders among state officials. Making smart decisions on the choices for public safety is essential and entails developing a public education policy that aids in preventing abuse. In addition to that, parents should be taught on the best methods and techniques of safeguarding their children from sex offenders. For this to be effective, increased collaboration among states allows for the sharing of information. It also enhances effective sex offender management programs and policies. Schultz (2014) proposed a national dialogue that will enable policymakers and practitioners to discuss options for the effective management of sex offenders. The discussion should also focus on the long-term impacts of policy initiatives. A coordinated effort between all levels of governments and the correctional facilities is paramount in addressing high-risk sex offenders.
Strategies for Dealing with Sex Offenders
Offender resistance is a by-product of a criminal thought pattern. Resistance becomes imminent in situations where an offender diverts the therapist from the present task since they do not want to self-examine themselves. Elliot (2002) asserted that redirection, which is the first strategy, would be essential since it involves the counselor's effort to return focus on the issue. The first technique of redirecting the attention of the offenders is ignoring resistance. When the remark or action is mild, causing limited harm, a counselor can let it go without addressing it.
Another solution is reframing, where correctional counselors can assess straightforward and straightforward interventions. In situations where an offender denies indulgence in antisocial behavior, a clinician should not relentlessly confront the offender since it leads to a futile relationship. Reframing entails changing and twisting a question to allow an offender to respond as required. The other technique involves reversing responsibility. Importantly, some of the crime offenders blame the justice system and society for their actions. However, a counselor can change it to show that the offender might have been on the wrong. Such an approach will help to ensure that offenders recognize their mistake, which is the first step towards positive change.
Reintegrating Sex Offenders into the Community
Effective reintegration of sex offenders to the community would require circles of support and accountability, which are groups of trained persons that support sex offenders after their release. The approach could be useful in preventing instances of re-offending. The circles of support reduce the social isolation that helps in preventing future offenses. The programs are based on the idea that assisting sex offenders will make them feel appreciated after their release from prison facilities. The groups could improve the lives of the offenders by focusing on their relationships and ensuring that they are employed and have the right education. In states such as the United Kingdom, these groups have proved effective in reducing instances of re-offending by allowing an increased sense of community and self-worth among incarcerated persons (Schultz, 2014).
Additionally, chaperone programs are also useful in facilitating the reintegration of criminal offenders to the community. The plans involve the identification and training of the family members and close friends of the offenders. The people who receive the practice ought to have agreed to accompany the offender in public outings. Such training helps them to identify signs of relapse and re-offending among sex offenders. Once any issues are identified, interventions are done immediately to prevent the offender from committing heinous acts that could warrant a second incarceration. Such people also report any forms of breaches to authorities. The programs would help identify behavior change instances and prevent issues of having to separate offenders from the communities.
Sex offenses are prevalent in societies and, due to the nature of these crimes, most perpetrators are subjected to social isolation and stigmatization. Social isolation often leads to mental health issues, which further predispose an individual to re-offending. The management strategies proposed to prevent such actions include redesigning policies, psychotherapy, tracking, and reintegration of sex offenders. From this analysis, the conclusion derived is that sex offenders should not be isolated from the community. Instead, they should receive the necessary support to allow them to adopt positive behavior changes.
Elliot, W. (2002). Managing offender resistance to counseling— The “3R’s.” Managing Offender Resistance, 66(3), 43-49. https://www.uscourts.gov/sites/default/files/66_3_7_0.pdf
Evans, C. T., Ward, C., & Chan, H. C. (Oliver). (2019). Counseling sex offenders and the importance of counselor self-care. Cogent Social Sciences, 5(1). https://doi.org/10.1080/23311886.2019.1595878
Schultz, C. (2014). The stigmatization of individuals convicted of sex offenses: labeling theory and the sex offense registry. Themis: Research Journal of Justice Studies and Forensic Science, 2(4), 64-81. https://scholarworks.sjsu.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1014&context=themis
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