So, when I was 13 years old (after having just gotten out of 8 years of abuse) I was given my first criminal charges, 2 counts of Sexual Abuse I, and 1 count of Sodomy I. At 14 I was put on the Sex Offender Registry and was placed in my first treatment program. While I was at this place a few problems came into view rather quickly.
A lot of programs that offer sex offender reform treatment are heavily religious (I was sent to a place called St. Mary’s Home for Boys after all)
Pathways 4th edition (which from what I was told is the most common, up-to-date, and most effective sex offender treatment workbook) is actually really out of date when it comes to a lot of information. As a book published in 2011 a lot of the information does not accurately reflect our current world. It has maybe two paragraphs about non-heterosexual relationships and call it good and doesn’t mention gender Identity even once. Not to mention how problematic a lot of that book is. For example, even though it has a chapter on healthy sexual fantasies and relationships, it is the shortest chapter in the book. As someone who has completed the workbook I can say that the only effective coping skill it teaches is “well, just stop thinking about it”. Also, the entire book is extremely sex negative, and as someone in the hypnosis community, the section on Covert Sensitization really, really creeps me out. Lastly, it seems to very much feed into the “unhealthy fantasies always lead to sexual harming behaviors 100% of the time” school of thought, which… Wow, just wow.
There are very few sex offender treatment programs for girls, and even less that would accept a transgendered female. Not to mention non-binary individuals.
Ultimately, we need a better workbook for juvenile sex offender reform if we want to keep children safe. The only reason I have been able to stay offense free since starting treatment is because I was already a good person that doesn’t want to hurt people. I was put in a situation where I couldn’t operate by my Modus Operandi, and have never been in a situation where I could since. I will admit, I do struggle with compulsive porn use, but even though that has been the largest struggle over the course of my parole I have not reoffended. It extremely frustrates me that were it not for my porn use, I likely would have been off of parole a long time ago and it frustrates me to no end that because of the number of times it has happened I am considered a high-risk to reoffend, even though I know it is not a possibility. I believe we need to start to change people’s minds about what sex pffender reform looks like, and I believe the way to do this is to do research, make that research known, and make a workbook based on it. At least in my state we have atrocious recidivism rates, and the majority of juvenile offenders I have met either re-offended or never internalized their treatment to begin with. This kind of a problem leads to more children being harmed than I can stomach, and we need to fix this