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Rapists and child molesters use sex offender programs to gain freedom, expert says

Violent rapists such as Jill Meagher's killer, Adrian Bayley, are faking their way through sex offender programs only to reoffend on release from prison, a sexual violence expert has warned.
Bayley - a serial rapist and violent criminal who has a history of threatening to kill women - was given bail twice for a vicious offence while on parole before raping and murdering Jill Meagher.
He admitted after his series of sex offending in 2000-2001, he had "gone through the motions" of a sex offenders program, effectively conning the parole board.
"While I was doing the sex offenders' program I told them what they wanted to hear so I could get out of jail," Bayley, then 30, told the County Court in 2002.
"It worked but it didn't work," Bayley said after pleading guilty to 16 fresh counts of rape.
Stephen Smallbone, professor of Griffith University's Criminology and Criminal Justice school, said rapists and child molesters used sex offender programs to gain freedom.
He said prison and justice authorities put too much reliance on the programs and not enough on risk assessment of offenders in real life "stressful" situations.
Sex offender programs had been a trend in most Australian states since the 1990s.
Prof Smallbone is the co-author of a study of sex offender programs in the Queensland justice system, which measured effectiveness of months of therapy and counselling on inmates.
The study looked at whether participants had increased levels of empathy with their victims, or with children or adult women in general, whether they believed sex was an "entitlement" and how they rated on the "women are deceitful" scale, which measured beliefs that women manipulate and use men.
While rapists of adult women showed improvement on the latter two factors, they did not score well in relating to their victims.
Child sex offenders showed "statistically significant improvement in victim empathy" but for sexual offenders with adult victims there was little improvement.
Corrective Services NSW said it had 66 sex offenders currently undergoing treatment programs and had undertaken a study of 117 participants which showed that 10 had committed further sexual offences within the survey period, although many more had reoffended with a variety criminal charges.
Corrective Services said its psychologists tested sex offenders and studied their behavioural changes to assess whether they had undergone real change.
Prof Smallbone's study showed that sexual offenders who began, but then dropped out of treatment, "may even be more likely to reoffend than those who do not begin treatment in the first place".
Offenders who faked their "successful" treatment were also likely to reoffend. "These kind of programs are only one element of treatment in preventing reoffending," Prof Smallbone said.
"The motivation is obviously to get out of there, but the question is, like in Bayley's case, whether their behaviour once they get out is going to be like the perception of their behaviour while in the prison environment."
He said inmates on the prison programs tried to make themselves "look pretty good", but supervision programs of offenders released on parole relied too heavily on judgments made in a controlled environment.
"These risk assessments are made in inside prison and really need to be done in the context in which the risk occurs - back in the real world where emotional, financial and social circumstances put a person under pressure," Prof Smallbone said.


news.com.au (12-6-2013)
Candace Sutton
http://www.news.com.au/national-news/rapists-and-child-molesters-use-sex-offender-programs-to-gain-freedom-expert-says/story-fncynjr2-1226663158666


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