06 March 2007

Remarkably Obtuse

Health reporters seem shocked that it isn't possible to rehabilitate perversion: Therapy’s Benefits for Sex Offenders Is Disputed.

“It has never been regarded as a legitimate and recognized topic for research by psychologists,” said Robert A. Prentky, director of research at the Justice Research Institute in Boston. “There is a very strong undercurrent of disrespect for this area of research and perhaps even skepticism, frankly.”

As recently as the 1970s, research on treating sex offenders was practically nonexistent. Barbara Schwartz, a psychologist with New England Forensic Associates in Arlington, Mass., said that when she wrote her first paper on rehabilitating sex offenders in 1971, “I read everything there was to read, and I had a half of one page of references.”

That is partly because sex offenders present major challenges as research subjects. There are far fewer convicted sex offenders than most other kinds of criminals, so sample groups are unreliably small. And sex offenders tend to be so secretive that “it’s really hard to get information from them that you can have confidence in,” said Ted Shaw, a forensic psychologist in Gainesville, Fla., who has treated offenders since 1982.

Manipulating liars are hard to trust? Imagine the odds.

I'll clear it up for them: child molesters are damaged people who can never be let loose in a free society.

Does that help any?

That will be $150, please.