v'ܩ What should we do with sexual deviants that have served their time?
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What should we do with sexual deviants that have served their time?

January 31st, 2010

Recently, a couple weeks ago or so, my wife pointed me to this article on CNN detailing the way inmates convicted for some especially heinous sex crimes are held indefinitely *after* they have served their entire sentence. These individuals are given no indication of when, or if, they will be released. The legislators enacting the laws, and the supreme court, have called this justice, I�m not convinced.

The confinement these people are being subjected to, for an indefinite amount of time, is, according to the law, for rehabilitation. The Supreme Court has declared this practice acceptable so long as it serves on as a way to rehabilitate the convicts and not to further punish them.

I’ve spoken before about the way ex-convicts are treated and why these felons are repeat offenders and it seems to me that the state has a somewhat lackadaisical view of what constitutes punishment, perhaps even a hypocritical one. Letââ?¬â?¢s take, for example, a murderer who is serving 10 years. If this murder misbehaves during his 10 years, perhaps he becomes embroiled in a prison brawl in the cafeteria and stabs a fellow inmate with a home made knife… like you might see on television, he would likely be ââ?¬Ë?prosecutedââ?¬â?¢ within the confines of the prison and if found guilty would most likely have additional time tacked onto his sentence or be placed in solitary confinement. In this case the prison sentence has determined that further restricting this individuals contact with the outside world is the appropriate way to discipline them. In the case of the sexual deviant, however, the state believes it is not punishment to further confine someone who has served their entire sentence, so long as they are being rehabilitated.

Not only is it clear that the prisoner�s confinement for rehabilitation is a form of additional punishment, It is obvious that the current implementation of this rehabilitation is horribly inefficient and not in the best interest of tax payers. Rehabilitation costs the government somewhere in the neighborhood of 700 million dollars annually, 150,000$ a year per individual. For the state governments implementing these policies this money comes after the massive cost of boarding and caring for these prisoners while they served their actual sentence.

The solution seems obvious to me. We should ship these prisoners directly to rehabilitation when they are taken into custody to serve their sentence. I donâ��t see why they should pay their time twice or I as a tax payer should pay for them twice. At the end�  of their sentence we should release them. If it is decided that they have ben rehabilitated then we can move them into the regular prison population for the remainder of their sentence.

I hear you. You are thinking, ââ?¬Å?Well, hot shot, what are we going to do with people who have finished serving their time and havenââ?¬â?¢t been rehabilitated yet?ââ?¬Â For them I think we already have solutions in place. Use of chemical castration drugs is a well established practice for ex-felons convicted of sex crimes, though not a practice I generally approve of, it also feels like a second punishment to me. I think the only responsible thing for us to do is to release these individuals into society and have them meet periodically with a parole officer and have them visit free rehabilitation sessions until they are deemed to no longer be a danger to society. This solution would allow tax payers to still save money because we would only pay for the counseling / therapy and it would provide the newly released criminal the freedom they deserve for serving the entirety of their sentence.

Any better ideas out there for both punishing these criminals and reintroducing them into society after they have done their time?

Author: T.J. Seabrooks Categories: Uncategorized Tags:
  1. January 31st, 2010 at 22:42 | #1

    I’ve come to hold this opinion about child molesters: they should get the death penalty. What they do to kids is so destructive that the sentences given to them today just isn’t justice, but injustice.

  2. January 31st, 2010 at 23:10 | #2

    This is such a hard subject to deal with. This is a despicable crime and I can’t argue much with Morgan’s thoughts. That being said we have set rules and I have a very hard time going back on a sentence after the fact. Spending more and more money also seems like a bad idea given the state of our government budgets. This is a very hard problem and I don’t have an answer.

  3. Julie Anne Burton
    January 31st, 2010 at 23:24 | #3

    I’d like to see any information you’ve found that chemical castration works. Last I knew, there were no indications that it had any effect on recidivism rates.

    Part of the problem is that not all sex crimes have the same basis in psychology. Men who rape adults, for example, generally do so not out of a sexual desire or for sexual gratification, but out of a need for power.

    I think it’s against these persons’ constitutional rights for them to continue to be deprived of their liberty after they’ve served their sentence. Problem is, from a societal perspective, that most of them will repeat their offenses. As a victim of sex crime myself, I wouldn’t wish that upon anyone. But the likelihood of a sex offender repeating the crime isn’t enough to justify depriving them of their liberty. So the question becomes how do we protect society from repeat offenders while not violating the offenders’ rights.

    And I don’t have an answer for that.

  4. February 1st, 2010 at 00:23 | #4

    @Julie Anne Burton
    Thanks so much for your comment. That is very impressive that you would still be concerned for their liberty and rights. I’m not sure I could do the same.

  5. February 1st, 2010 at 07:21 | #5

    For me, the issue comes down to what is going to protect the law abiding people as well as ensure my tax payer dollars are being used properly. For example…For crimes like murder, rape and things of that nature, they have directly hurt someone and therefore, taken their liberty away. Locke would argue that because those people took someone else’s property away (self), they deserve to be punished.

    My issue comes in when people are thrown in jail for things such as selling drugs, etc, etc. Is that hurting someone else? Well, some would argue that it is because of the drugs. But, then there is the argument that the individual used their own liberty for the purchase of that drug and therefore, they suffered the consequence.

    I almost feel that criminals get off easy. “You’re going to be locked away, get three meals a day, TV, exercise equipment, a bed, blah blah blah.” How does that make crime unattractive?

  6. February 1st, 2010 at 08:25 | #6

    The problem I see with this is the state is, essentially, incarcerating people for crimes they MIGHT commit.

    Pre-crime. yay!

    so once this is an established practice on sexual deviants, which should be an easy sell considering how puritanical this country is, it will be expanded to other crimes slowly. As with all power grabs, the creep is subtle.

    Next it will be violent criminals, murderers, aggravated assault, etc. Then eventually it will be the drug offenders ( who already have mandatory minimums ) since it is fairly obvious that most people incarcerated for smoking pot end up smoking pot again, we must keep them “from their triggers”.

    As for Morgan who thinks we should simply write off the convicted with the death penalty, as soon as we stop finding people who have spent years and even decades in prison (some on death row) who are actually innocent, I might agree with you. but not likely

    In “Lucifer’s Hammer” (Larry Niven and Jerry Pournelle), towards the end there is a great observation about the morals of a society. Essentially, the more advanced the society, the more morality it can afford. If we, as a society, still can’t come up with a better solution than “kill ‘em all”, it doesn’t speak well for our development.

  7. TJ
    February 1st, 2010 at 09:05 | #7

    @Morgan
    I’m maybe fine with this, though as John points out justice isn’t perfect. If this is how we feel as a culture and society then we should change the rules to this. Like Derek my biggest problem with all of this is the obvious financial waste along with suddenly changing the rules at the last minute. It’s actually a bit of psychological torture isn’t it? To let someone anticipate their release for a year and when their day comes due tell them they don’t get to be free. What a kick in the nuts.

    @Julie Anne Burton
    I have no information that chemical castration works. I only know it is something that is practiced and many people consider this to be a safe way to release criminals into the wild. I agree with you though. This is obviously an ineffectual form of rehabilitation and doesn’t deal with psychological issues of the criminal in question.

  8. February 6th, 2010 at 07:06 | #8

    It is NEVER appropriate to hold a prisoner for longer than the sentence they have received. That is tyranny, and despicable. It amounts to allowing the prison warden to trump the legislature. If the prison can do this successfully, no individual’s liberty is safe. If it’s really true that certain crimes demand longer sentences than current issued, the correct solution is to change the law.

    Beyond that, the level of ignorant hatred against “sex offenders” in this nation is truly frightening. Morgan, at the top of the comments here, is a prime example. He knows ABSO. FREAKING. LUTELY. NOTHING about the issue he’s addressing, but thinks the death penalty is appropriate. Morgan is dangerous, and he’s not alone.

    The sex offenders list include guys who were 19 when they had sex with their 17-year-old girlfriend. It includes guys who were troublemakers with a temper who raped a woman once when they were young, but never did such a stupid, disgusting thing again. It includes guys who were falsely accused by an ex-wife who wanted custody. And yes, it includes guys who have sexual desires for teenage girls or younger; and contrary to myth, the recovery rate for such people is comparable to the recovery rate for other addictions.

    The law give the judge latitude in sentencing to take these variations into account. Perhaps the upper limit of the sentence for certain crimes should be raised to allow proper handling of the most virulent and persistent perverts, but … death penalty? Methinks perhaps Morgan is expressing some inner fear of his, ’cause believe it or not, most children who suffer sexual molestation don’t die from it. It’s damaging, yes, but it’s not fatal. The death penalty for this is simply over the top.

  9. February 6th, 2010 at 07:11 | #9

    Castration is not a solution to sexual deviancy, period. Taking away the outward machinery does not take away the desire, and most perverts get pleasure from their victims’ reactions.

    Besides, what are you going to remove in the cases that the perpetrator is a female? And yes, that’s only 10% of the perpetrators for this particular crime, but the raw number of female perverts is a long way from zero.

    People who offer castration as a solution to sexual deviancy apparently don’t realize that a human being’s chief sexual organ is the brain.

  10. February 6th, 2010 at 10:07 | #10

    @philwynk
    I agree. I wouldn’t be against harsher sentences, but I certainly agree that it is something that has to be implemented on the front end. You can’t just keep somebody after they have served their term.

    As far as the castration goes I think it would be pointless. Most rapists are going for the power, not the sexual gratification. As you said, the brain is the organ controlling this act.

    As far as the death penalty goes, I’m not sure I would completely against it for example with someone who had violently raped several women. Even then I don’t know. Obviously it is out of line for the 19 year old having sex with his girlfriend.

    Child molesters are another story. I can’t complain much about anything you want to do to someone that sick, but as philwynk said most children are able to overcome it. The death penalty may be too severe, at least for someone who has only done it once. I could probably reconsider for someone who is a serial molester.

  11. February 11th, 2010 at 17:08 | #11

    Prisoners have rights and deserve to be treated fairly and humanely, just like everyone else. Many of them are not truly bad people (and some of them are), just people that have happened to have made a mistake in their life.

  12. February 11th, 2010 at 20:13 | #12

    @Dan @ Survive Prison
    I agree. Sometimes it’s hard to remember when you are talking about a child molester, but everyone has rights. If you want them to be in jail longer, you need to fight for getting sentences longer from the beginning. You can’t just keep them at the end just because you feel like it.

  13. M.E.R.
    March 12th, 2011 at 17:18 | #13

    I believe that any sexual crime, such as rape and pedophilia should be held on a completely different standard of punishment, as I truly do NOT believe that that sort of sick, dehumanizing and soul shattering type of criminal can EVER be ‘rehabilitated’, and I speak as a victim of such crimes, without going unnecessary detail about my own life.

    Anyone, in my opinion, who really feels that these deviants should be allowed out into mainstream society again, ever, is truly ignorant, unfeeling and obviously haven’t, perhaps, had to endure the depravity and sick abuse at the hands of any of these, who are in my opinion again, Non-humans. If it were up to me, each and every one of these deviants would be slaughtered as soon as they’re caught and their guilt proven.