In Puritan America, a married woman’s illicit affair with a minister landed her in jail. After her release, Hester Prynne was sentenced to forever wear a big red “A” on her dress. 

Nearly 375 years later, the U.S. continues to be scandalized, tantalized and perplexed by sex, especially about sex offenders. Tough on crime, we’re still struggling to learn: 

  • Why domestic violence and incest are so under-reported by victims? 
  • Why most people think every sexual offender is a serial rapist? 
  • Why, even among therapists, many continue to believe sex-offenders to be untreatable? 
  • Why supervision after offenders’ release tends to-wards punitive rather than restorative? 

It’s time to bring the subject of sex crime out of the dark ages, time to help victims shed the shame and trauma of their experience. It’s also time to allow offenders an opportunity to show they can change, make amends and start to earn back trust and acceptance from society.

Community Reentry

Community Reentry

Most people coming out of prison and jail are eager to avoid imprisonment again. Having “done their time,” most of them learned their lesson. They are eager to prove their worth and earn acceptance once again. But if society is not willing to forgive them, or hasn’t the capacity for reintegration programs, the success rate for reentry diminishes.

In recent years, a proliferation of healthy responses to criminal activity has impacted community safety and health. Reentry programs help locate safe housing for returnees, drug free and supervised for some. Employers are recruited and incentivized to hire those with a criminal past. Medical and mental health treatment providers collaborate with churches and other nonprofits to provide an effective web of support. 

The cost to incarcerate people is far greater than it is to find a community solution. In the public’s effort to protect itself, it is inadvertently increasing the chances that the returning person will fail. If they can’t belong, they will never again be whole. If we can’t accept them, even sex offenders, the community will never heal.

 

Myths & Bias

Myths & Bias