If you’ve watched the news, you know about the little “missing” girl from Vermont. Well, her remains were found yesterday on her uncle’s property. Vermont, it turns out, has a wonderful sex offenders rehabilitation program. Daniel Goleman (of Primal Leadership fame) enthuses in the New York Times fifteen years ago:
The sex offender treatment program in Vermont, among the most sophisticated in the country, showed similar successes, according to a report at the Kent State meeting. In an evaluation of 473 sex offenders who have been released from prison for up to eight years, the average rate of sex crimes in the same period for a comparison group who received no treatment was 38 percent, at least double the rate of those treated for various sex crimes.
For child molesters in the treated group, the rate of sex crimes after release from prison was just 7 percent; for exhibitionists or voyeurs, 3 percent; for rapists, 19 percent. While the figure for rapists is highest, it is still just half that of those who did not receive any treatment.
To be sure, not all sex offenders respond to treatment. Among rapists, for instance, rape is often more an act of violence than of sex. This kind of rapist is less likely to benefit than are those for whom fantasies are more important than violence.
So my take away is that treatment may or may not work and we have no way of telling who it will work on, but we should be thrilled because maybe it will work on someone. And of those treated, one out of five will offend again. That means that one out of five will commit a violent rape again.
Let’s just look at Brooke Bennett’s case. Her uncle Michael Jacques has done this before:
In 1993, he was convicted of kidnapping and rape committed in June 1992. Court records show that the victim was an 18-year-old young woman he supervised at a fast-food business in Rutland. The records show he and a friend got her drunk and then Jacques alone forced her into his car and over the next four hours raped her several times. The police affidavit says she was choked with a rope around her neck, gagged with a cloth in her mouth, and handcuffed with police-style cuffs. Police say Jacques eventually let her go after he told her he needed help and was going to seek psychiatric counseling.
The victim told police that Jacques said he had killed a 12-year-old girl he raped in Arizona in 1985 because she threatened to go to the police, “so he had to kill her.”
And he has been treated in Vermont’s stellar program:
The police were unable to confirm his claimed killing of the 12-year-old in Arizona, but Jacques did plead no contest to the charges of kidnap and rape in Vermont. In return, under a plea agreement, he got six years in prison, but was released after serving only four and half with credit for good time.
That 1992 plea deal also required Jacques to complete the sex offender treatment program before he could be released from probation. According to the records, he did complete the therapy program, and was released from state supervision in December 2006. Corrections officials say Jacques completed his sex offender treatment program in 2000.
Do you see how insane it is to release these criminals from prison with or without treatment? If they don’t get treatment, nearly half repeat offend. If they do get treatment, only one out of five re-offend–that get caught, anyway.
Since no one knows who will or who won’t re-offend, why are any of these people released back into the community? And I don’t put the flashers or oglers in the same category as a violent rapist. A violent rapist should know that if he gets convicted, he’s in prison for life, period. Sure, some of these guys might reform or go impotent or get too old to have the energy to commit their dastardly deeds. The problem is, since no on knows who will and who won’t offend, the risk is too great.
Let them rot in prison. Keep society safe from these freaks. Prison does not reform these jerks. At best, some inhibit their impulses. Let them be free of temptation. Keep them in prison.
Cross-posted at Dr. Melissa Clouthier