Saturday, 30 January 2010


How do you treat a Sex offender? No, I don't mean "Lock him up and throw away the key" or, worse "Hang him". What I mean is, should you try to use Psychology or Psychiatry to treat his "illness" that causes his offending?

Here in England, the Criminal Justice System has courses called "Sex Offender Treatment Programmes." These are psychology programmes that try to reduce the risk of re-offending.

They claim to be accredited - though none have been for over a year now - and they claim to be, as the name suggests, "Treatment"

But what is the illness that a Sex Offender has? And, given that Sexual offenders range from the man who twangs his secretary's bra-strap to people like the Yorkshire Ripper, how can there be a "one Size Fits All" course of treatment.

I've been looking into this at some length. And no-one in authority has been able to answer these questions. These are important - if you are treating someone, surely you need to know what is wrong with them, and they need to give consent to the treatment?

It's not enough to take an otherwise perfectly healthy person who has committed an offence and say "We think you're ill, so you must be treated and if you don't agree we'll put you back in prison, but still not treat you because we can't actually force you to agree. Then we'll let you out without restrictions and there'll be no funding for the treatment you didn't agree to. But we'd still try to make you do it and have the Police harass you if you refuse."

So, as I go into my SOTP course in the community in a few weeks (nominally voluntarily, but actually to stay out of prison), I think I'll blog what's going on, and the answers they give me to my questions and others, just for the record. I won't breach the confidentiality of other group members though, so please don't ask me to.

And, get this. My course starts on a Friday!?!!? Then runs for 10 working days before an initial re-assessment. How peculiar. What are Northants probation playing at?

Ah well, a year of fun and games then. How do they expect you to get a job (a pathway to rehabilitation) if you're doing stuff like this though?

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