My name is Dave. I am a graduate of Boise State, the University of Idaho, and a community member convicted of a sexual offense. Let me begin by saying that a day does not go by that I do not regret what I did to my victim and family. My past choices will have an impact on their lives for many years to come. Ensuring that I do not put myself in a position to re-offend is first and foremost in my life. In addition I take appropriate and approved steps to make amends to my victim, family, and community.
I do not wish to minimize, in any way, crimes of a sexual nature. Sexual crimes are horrendous and a significant betrayal of trust. Do persons convicted of a sexual crime deserve a second chance? This is a very difficult question. Before considering this question one needs to research the facts and not get caught up in the emotional reactions that often accompany crimes of this nature.
I strongly feel that protecting children and reducing any risk or opportunity for a sexual offense to occur is important. However, most legislation is emotionally and politically based. Who wants to appear soft on crime with the next election around the corner? In addition, many of the community efforts look good on the surface when in reality they do not impact the number of offenses. There are more realistic options available.
One is treatment. Studies are very clear that treatment can significantly reduce the chance of re-offending. Another is continued supervision. A supervision program should be required of all offenders regardless of whether or not they completed their sentence and are not on probation or parole. I believe aftercare should continue beyond probation or parole and treatment. Aftercare provides an important check-in for the offender. I believe that an offender is at the highest risk of re-offending when there are no steps taken to monitor their behavior.
Another is legislation that is tiered. Legislation should focus on types of offenders as well as offense’s. For instance, offenders with multiple victims and /or multiple offenses should be treated different than those who have one victim or offense. Legislation should also look at the level of the offense. Currently crimes that involve many different levels of offense are contained in one statute.
The offender registry is in need of restructuring. The registry in its current form does not provide much information to the public. It lists your name, crime, address, and picture. I believe the registry should include levels based on the following:
Date of conviction.
Severity of crime.
Risk to re-offend.
# of victims
Whether or not offender has completed or is in treatment.
Is the offender on probation or parole?
Is the offender under supervision?
Is the offender in aftercare?
The public has a right to be informed about all aspects of the offender. Again, not all offenders are alike. Not all offenders are at the same level of risk to re-offend.
With the rush to enact legislation, the light at the end of the tunnel for sex offenders is disappearing. For some offenders, the legislation becomes so suffocating that their risk to re-offend is elevated. To be sure, there are those for whom a life of incarceration is appropriate. For some, the risk of re-offending is so high that no level of treatment or supervision will allow for them to be released into society.
The fact is that most offenders will be released. The question becomes, how as a society, do we address offenders in a manner that increases their opportunities and chances to become productive members of our communities while maintaining a level of safety for our most vulnerable citizens.
In contrast to public perception; many of us are trying to move forward in our lives. We take very seriously the nature of our crime and the need to make amends. Every moment of our lives is dictated by the desire not to re-offend.
Myths and Facts http://www.csom.org/pubs/mythsfacts.html
SANE Solutions http://www.trhs.org/Sane.php
Association for the Treatment of Sexual Abusers http://atsa.com/
Center for Sex Offender Management http://csom.org/
Anna Salter, PhD http://www.annasalter.com/
Fred S. Berlin MD, PhD, Johns Hopkins http://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/Psychiatry/Faculty/B/Berlin.html
© 2016 Boise Weekly
Website powered by Foundation