Monday, 7 April 2008

Abusers free without treatment

HIGH-RISK sex offenders who need and want treatment are released without it because the state's only rehabilitation centre is ridiculously under-resourced, says a psychologist who worked on the program for a decade.

David Bright, who left the Department of Corrective Services last month, said places were so scarce that some men who waited years were only offered the eight-month program weeks before being released on parole.

This month marks one year since NSW introduced laws allowing the detention of high-risk sex offenders beyond the end of their sentence. The laws have been used against 10 men who raped or assaulted women and children.

But critics argue the Government is more interested in grandstanding on a few serious cases than funding proven treatment for many more sex offenders whose risk to the community could be reduced with therapy.

NSW offers two voluntary treatment programs, both at Long Bay jail. The most intensive program, CUBIT, is for those at the highest risk of reoffending. They are not necessarily those inmates who committed the most heinous crimes.

Failure to finish it was one of the arguments used to keep the 10 serious offenders behind bars.

Last financial year, 40 men finished CUBIT. Eight finished CORE, which is for low- to moderate-risk offenders. There were 143 volunteers on waiting lists. Prisons in NSW house about 900 sex offenders.

Studies show treatment does cut the risk of reoffending; the Government says CUBIT reduces it by 75 per cent.

Mr Bright helped set up CUBIT in the late 1990s and co-ordinated changes that increased capacity in 2005. He left the department last month to work as a research fellow at the University of NSW.

He said resources for CUBIT were "ridiculous". "It's nowhere near enough ... It's simply not possible to provide treatment to every high-risk offender who wants it," he said. "Certainly it's not possible, given the current level of resources. [Men] are released on parole who should have treatment but haven't."

It was only available to men near the end of their sentence, he said. However, some would benefit from earlier treatment. An offender "would have to sign [away] his parole in order to have treatment".

A spokesman for the Attorney-General, John Hatzistergos, said the number of inmates finishing CUBIT had grown from 10 in 2004-05 to an expected 50 to 55 in 2007-08. Better program delivery meant a bigger budget was not needed.

"The waiting list for CUBIT arises from the fact that CUBIT is necessarily run towards the end of an offender's sentence," the spokesman said.


Extra jail for repeat child rapist
This article seems to be sending the wrong message by the ABC - a clear message to the authorities in prison to punish or abuse him more? - and a clear message to the other prisoners in prison to punish him more and perhaps repeat his crime in prison or to use violence against him?

WA sex offenders missing out on rehab
It has been revealed that over the past year more than 60 per cent of sex offenders released from Western Australian jails did not complete rehabilitation programs targetting their crimes.

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