Social work expert disagrees with federal law enforcers about sex offender treatment

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  • Jenfit23 , 00
    Dec. 17, 2018 4:06 p.m.

    Clearly this social worker is living in a bubble, or perhaps, simply refuses to acknowledge what has going for decades, and is on the rise! Who loses? The children, families, communities, and society as a whole. Truly sickening! We need to demand a total overhaul of Child Protective Services nationwide (ie., DCFS) and remove the umbrella-like, legal protection(s) they enjoy at everyone expense. They must be held accountable (investigated, prosecuted, locked up) if they “lose” a child, or a child is harmed while in/under their care!

  • Cougarbib2 Moorpark, CA
    Dec. 15, 2018 10:24 p.m.

    This expert quotes 20% figure for offending again for sex offenders. This is disengenious. That figure includes all types of sex offenders.

    A subset of sex offenders called pedophiles are the ones that molest really young children and usually molest young boys and girls both. The ability to rehabilitate these offenders is extremely low and they are very hard to convict when victims are under 5 years old and usually are not allowed to testify.

    Someone who has consensual relations with a 17 year old is also a sex offender. Rehabilitation of these offenders us probably much more successful.

    He then argues that therapy is more effective than incarceration in achieving rehabilitation. Nobody claims incarceration rehabilitates pedophiles - it just keeps them away from children. That keeps kids safe.

    Dec. 15, 2018 12:59 p.m.

    Professor Butters is correct that incarceration doesn't help in the U.S.

    But even rehabilitation, as generally practiced in the U.S., doesn't work well for any criminals. However, there are examples around the world where it does work. In the U.S. recidivism by sex offenders is lower than the general convict, but the U.S.'s overall recidivism rates are 76% and the U.S. leads the world in incarceration rates AND, in the total number of prisoners.

    About time we emulate Scandinavian countries like Norway where recidivism is 20%. And, this would be for all crimes, not just sex offenders. The United States has much to learn from best practices around the world.

  • future Logan, UT
    Dec. 15, 2018 12:49 p.m.

    It is great that Mr. Buttars has the knowledge and experience and shared this. So many sex offenders were perpetrated on. In essence they did what they had learned.

  • NoNamesAccepted St. George, UT
    Dec. 15, 2018 12:26 p.m.

    I appreciate this article presenting some data. If 20% of sex offenders re-offend, then 80% don't.

    What I'd like to see is solid data on re-offense rares for different types of sex offenders. What are the rates for those convicted of sex assault against another adult, vs those guilty of statutory but not forceful conduct involving older teens, vs those using child porn, compared to those physically sexually abusing children and infants?

    We must protect society from high risk criminals. We ought to send a message about conduct we won't tolerate. Where reasonably likely, we ought to hope for rehabilitation.

    To know what policies make sense, we need solid data with more specifics.

    I can easily believe that a 25 year old busted for statutory rape of a 17 1/2 year old never goes near jail bait again, while anyone so twisted as to produce or consume child porn may be more difficult to reform. But I'm no expert and could easily be mistaken. But let's not lump all "sex offenders" together when there are real differences in danger posed and damage done.

  • byufootballrocks Salt Lake City, UT
    Dec. 15, 2018 11:01 a.m.

    Thank you Ron Buttars.

    Contrary to what John Huber and Eric Barnhardt said, the facts indicate a much different story. Just a few years ago there were an additional two major studies done that showed over 95% of sex offenders who encounter the law never repeat a sex offense.

    The other big issue here is mental illness, where the vast majority of offenders have significant mental/social impairment, which definitely can be treated. Yet Federal prison is not only inadequate in providing such help, in actual practice it works against effective turnarounds.

    Also, Federal prosecutors here have effectively neutralized significant resources such as the Federal Mental Health Court in Salt Lake City - where they could send many sex offenders to obtain treatment and avoid prison. They created their own silly no-sex-offender admission rule for that court. And the reason referrals to the mental health court don't happen is because Federal prosecutors here want to control all outcomes.