Today I met with a representative for the Innocent Justice Foundation, a group that campaigns to protect children from sexual predators. After the nightmarish picture she painted for me of child rape and torture in America, I was saddened by the Channel 10 story that Thor’s Assistant had sent to me. (http://bit.ly/dunHpd)
I get the premise: It is compassionate to forgive and we as a society should not over react and over punish the misguided.
But having worked in psychiatric medicine for over 20 years, I can tell you from first-hand experience that the premise isn’t grounded in reality. I’ve evaluated criminals just like those that killed Amber Dubois and Chelsea King. I am fully aware of the dangerous mental condition such predators are in and worse; that nearly all experts agree there is no cure for that condition.
Those who rape and molest children have not just made mistakes. Therapy and treatment does not work in reducing recidivism in pedophiles. The desire to have sex with children and even the desire to kill and torture them has its genesis in adolescence. I know because I’ve seen it and have read the studies of the professionals that specialize in it.
Sadly, this is a dangerous and usually permanent component of the adult predator. Because of this, it is an important distinction, that this type of behavior is not a mistake or even an illness; it is a sexual proclivity that is likely to resurface again and again regardless of the sentence. Chemical castration and or registering as a sex offender does not work because the desire to do act on these impulses is part of the thought process and personality of the offender.
When Polio was an epidemic it effected about 4% of the population and we as a society mobilized to eradicate it. Today about 21% of our children are victims of sexual crimes. Why are murders punished as criminals, but sex predators assumed to be ill? If we called armed robbery a psychiatric disorder, would we stop arresting the armed robbers and demand treatment for them? We need to ask ourselves why we as a society will fight to protect a few children from a disease, but will not protect five times as many children from criminals. Even more to the point, why do we wish to protect the criminals when our reaction should be to protect the victims?
When asking the advocate how helpful the California State Legislature was in this fight she laughed and responded “Not only do they not help, they fight us at every turn”. That’s depressing, and should not be tolerated.
For more information on the Bill Wells for Assembly Campaign see www.VoteBillWells.com