To the Editor:
Regarding the Sunday paper’s article on sex offenders’ light sentences, I understand that people want to see them serve long sentences in prison. However, there are reasons why this isn’t happening.
First one is to protect victims from further trauma. It usually isn’t up to the judge, but rather the district attorney and the defender’s lawyer to work out these arrangements with low-risk individuals. This keeps victims and their families from having to testify and undergo what can be a brutal and embarrassing situation.
Second one is that judges here are following state guidelines on sentencing. We could all write to our legislators, but if the laws change, then fewer offenders would decide to plea. Victims would end up in the situation I mentioned before.
Finally, public safety is better served when these offenders are treated rather than punished. A requirement for parole and probation for them is to participate in Sex Offenders Treatment Program. This is not a 12-step program; it’s a treatment consisting of group and individual sessions lead by professional counselors. It has been proven effective in reducing recidivism across the nation. They are also the only offenders that are required to take polygraph examinations on a regular basis. Failing these or lack of progress are reasons for dismissal, and thus a violation of their supervision.
Nobody wins when a crime is committed. Being angry and crying for blood is not necessarily the solution. We must search for what’s best for the whole community.