Every one of the eight men in the room has been convicted of a sex crime and mandated by a court to see a therapist. After each weekly discussion, Cheryl and Jennifer give homework assignments, such as asking participants to fill in a timeline of high and low moments in their lives, or writing a statement from the perspective of their victims. Judges refer the offenders to psychologists or clinical social workers who are authorized by states. In October, the Supreme Court will consider a complicated case challenging the federal laws that govern some sex offenders. Should he ask her out on a date? One has to head home to meet his parole-mandated curfew. Even while in a relationship, Matt continued to linger in chat rooms. One of the men in his early 30s argues that the receptionist has to be friendly to do her job. They meet in the living room of an old taupe bungalow on a leafy street in a small Southern city.
The group includes Matt, whose online chats led to prison; Rob, who was arrested for statutory rape; and Kevin, who spent decades masturbating next to women in movie theaters. Punitive measures alone, however, have not been found to meaningfully increase community safety. As the bright winter sun sets and the office grows cold, a group therapy session comes to a close 45 minutes after it was supposed to. Cheryl, a clinical social worker, has been treating registered sex offenders for almost 20 years Mike Belleme for TIME The more than , registered sex offenders in the U. In one group session, Cheryl and Jennifer pose a scenario meant to do just that: But they say that by the time most of their patients leave therapy, they are equipped to take responsibility for their actions, to understand what led them to commit their crimes and, finally, to empathize with their victims. The data on treatment is limited, but what there is points toward the value of therapy. Some victim advocates are skeptical. They have worked with both victims and perpetrators for almost 20 years. To many survivors and advocates, the experience of sexual assault is so horrifying that any recidivism risk is too high. They will remain on that list for decades and, in some cases, the rest of their lives. I never actually hurt anyone physically. After the chats became sexual, she asked to see him in real life. The men jockey for a coveted recliner and settle in. Cheryl opts for a more personal approach. They meet in the living room of an old taupe bungalow on a leafy street in a small Southern city. In response, attorneys general from six states wrote a joint amicus brief to overturn the ruling on appeal. He managed to hold down a job as a clerk at a home-improvement store. She began her career working with children who had been abused. For 45 years, he was a compulsive exhibitionist. I just wanted to get my rocks off. Jennifer believes that Matt is somewhere on the autism spectrum. They find it disgusting. The man with the ankle bracelet needs to charge his battery. But there are no guarantees.
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