Where Does Anger Lead?

Each of us must deal with this deep emotional stain of "not belonging, " not being "good enough." And though you try mightily, getting to self acceptance through others' praise of you won't do. Eventually, each must confront weaknesses and shortcomings for our lapses.

Heartbreak and Hope

I heard that story and dozens more at the `10th annual NARSOL (Nat'l Assoc. of Rational Sex Offense Laws) conference last week. Aptly themed "The Road to Independence", the conference was held outside Cleveland, in Independence, Ohio. The title also pertains to the difficult road those on the sex offender registry face. 

The 10th Annual NARSOL Conference is This Week

This group has been effective at engaging dialogue in state legislatures to affect laws that weigh heaviest on those convicted of sexual offenses, people they refer to most often as "registrants." The national registry is one area in which they've gained a lot of ground, because the one-size-fits-all label of SO is unduly harsh on those whose misdeeds do not warrant a lifetime of continued punishment and recrimination.

“There isn’t one standard method for treating sex offenders. But many experts have come to agree that identifying motivations and thought patterns is essential. Recent research published by the American Public Health Association suggests that focusing on punishments rather than positive goals can actually increase the chance of recidivism.”

Social workers provide the lion’s share of sex offender treatment in this country. Many have a bias against sex offenders; some think anyone with that label will never be successful in treatment.

Thankfully, most providers see sex offenders as being able to rehabilitate themselves. Without that window hope, without a deep trust between the treatment provider and the client, the chances of successful treatment are slim.

Ex offender Talks about TED (Treatment, Education and Determination)

“There are basically two types of treatment,” said Sean, a former sex offender. "The first assumes offenders are fundamentally screwed up and that treatment providers are tasked with breaking you down, and confronting your denial," he said.

The second type of treatment approaches the issue from a different angle, Sean continued. “It assumes offenders are human. We have darkness and light in us, but we are basically worthwhile.” From that vantage point, he was asked to examine himself thoroughly, including his formative years. “I had to discover what was lacking so that I chose to meet my needs in unhealthy ways.”

Some Thoughts on Sex Offender Treatment Providers

Treatment providers must have extensive college education and then years of supervised practice before they can be certified by a state to be licensed. Licensing is generally a good thing. But the restrictions on who can be a treatment provider create a scarcity, and thus the supply of licensed providers is low compared to the number of those being required to receive treatment.

Entering the Twilight Zone

Instead of working to integrate those who have served their sentences, the state of Connecticut makes their being members of society close to unbearable. While it's chilling news, it is important to discover just how far society has yet to evolve.

Janice Bellucci, the article's author, is the director of California's Alliance for Constitutional Sex Offense Laws (ACSOL), an organization instrumental in creating more fairness in the adjudication and reintegration of people forced by their crimes to be on a state registry.

 

Remembering

The act of remembering our essence, not our actions, is the centerpiece of becoming present to your behavior. Who we are, fundamentally, does not change because we were convicted of a crime. Who we are fundamentally is human, bones and flesh, brilliance and bloopers.

The Anatomy of Male Privilege

The pathology of this thinking aims the offender in the direction of action: “I must take what I want.” Unfortunately, this thinking derives from a selective reading of Charles Darwin's Origin of the Species (competition is the basis for positive change). Sadly, too, this thinking underpins the practice of Capitalism.

#MeToo Campaign is on the Right Track...except for the Ending!

The multitude of women stepping forward to talk publicly about sexual assaults they have endured over past decades is refreshing. Shining light on male privilege and the power that men exert in the workplace to get their sexual gratification is way overdue.

But what is missing? First, there is no meaningful explanation from the offender, no face to face with the victim. A week later, Harvey Weinstein and Charley Rose and the rest are gone, embarrassed perhaps but their wealth insulates them from further rebuke. There is no courtroom trial, no calling the person to account for their behavior.