Sex offenders seek freedom through treatment

Sex offenders seek freedom through treatment »Play Video
MONROE, Wash. -- At the Monroe Correctional Complex where some of the state's most dangerous criminals live, a group of rapists and child molesters are talking about the treatment they hope will one day bring them freedom.

"I hurt a lot of people. I hurt a lot of families," says John, who is in prison for molesting a 12-year-old girl after breaking into her house.

"I guess because I hurt so much myself, I would cover that up and it was OK to hurt others," said Rick, who was convicted of rape and manslaughter.

They are two of five sex offenders receiving treatment that is preparing them for life on the outside.

Another offender, Mark, has three rape convictions.

"It tears at my heart when I think about the things I'm responsible for," he said.

He knows treatment won't cure his criminal behavior. But offenders who complete the program are less likely to have new victims.
Fewer than 7 percent return to prison. That number triples for sex offenders who don't seek help.

"This program needs to be talked about. This program needs to be shown, to show the public out there that there are success cases, guys coming out of here," said Mark.

The program uses a range of strategies to break deviant impulses. Offenders learn job skills and ways to recognize risky situations.

"The only way I could ever make amends for what I did is to change, and that is to change everything," said John.

More than 2,200 inmates have completed the treatment program. There is a five-year waiting list to enroll.

"I can look forward to a more positive life," said Joe, a convicted child rapist. People can be proud to be a neighbor of mine."

The offenders agreed none of them could make it on the outside without this program. Their release is up to a parole board; however, as one inmate said, because of this treatment he found freedom in prison.