It is required by law that people convicted of a sex offense shall undergo treatment in order to prevent recidivism of this nature. Each person sentenced by the court to probation, community corrections, or incarceration with the department or corrections must undergo an evaluation in order to determine their level of risk and to evaluate an appropriate treatment plan. Every sex offender placed on parole is also required to undergo treatment appropriate for them. The Colorado Revised Statutes require that sex offender specific evaluation must be included in the pre sentence report for all sex offenders. If a sex offence specific evaluation and the facts of the case do not support the need for treatment a sentencing court is not required to order treatment, but still can at the judge’s discretion. When the sex offender evaluation and recommendation and the facts of the case do require treatment, then the sentencing court is required by the statute to impose treatment.
What does sex offender treatment look like?
There are typically four phases of sex offender treatment.
The first phase is generally assessment. This usually happens in the pre sentencing stage. All individuals who have committed a sexual offense are required to undergo evaluation before treatment. The evaluation will determine their level of treatment that is most appropriate for each individual. All participants must also pass a polygraph examination regarding their sexual history. This allows patients to be honest and open while being assessed so their treatment plan can be catered to their individual needs.
The second phase involves engagement with the individual. All individuals who get to this step must acknowledge their need for treatment and become active participants in their treatment plan. This involves cooperation with group therapies and individual therapist requirements, complying with all other court mandates or probationary requirements and maintaining a treatment journal and taking care of all financial responsibilities. This phase can look very different depending on the individual but engaged cooperation is required for all patients of treatment.
This is the bulk of the treatment. This phase is centered on intervention. This involves learning new skills and tools to manage behavior, mood and appropriate relationships; identifying stressors or factors that contribute to offending; understanding behavior and coping cycles and learning to break free from them; realizing high risk behavior and how to avoid it; victim empathy and the impact on a victim; and relearning about healthy relationships and sexuality. This phase can last for months and regular polygraph screening is required to keep people engaged and truthful about their treatment. This phase can also be the most challenging for people who are participating in treatment.
This last phase involved integration. This phase is created to help ease them back into society. Here individuals must create a relapse prevention plan and present them to their therapist, group members and to the referring agency (usually probation or parole). If all of these players approve of the plan and establish a degree of certainty that it will be used if necessary than the probation officer can determine if it satisfies the courts requirement. There are special populations that might need additional treatment. Such populations include, psychological disorders, female offenders, developmentally disabled offenders, or offenders with significant sexual abuse histories.
All treatment programs will look different for each individual. This is a brief outline of what a treatment plan might look like. Contact specific treatment facilities for more information on a treatment plan that might satisfy your legal and personal needs. Ask your attorney if they recommend a specific place for you to attend.
By Shannon Lynch