June 16, 2014

My Voice: Treatment, not prison, answer for sex offenses

6-16-2014 South Dakota:

On behalf of our 4,000-plus members, the Dakota Reform Sex Offender Laws Family Solutions is asking South Dakota Senate candidates to make this issue a campaign priority.

Our mission — promote medical research, legislation and education to provide an empirically based, rational approach to dealing with sexually related offenses and stop the cycle of abuse to protect all children.

According to the Department of Justice, most child sexual-abuse victims are molested by family members or close acquaintances. About40 percent of crimes take place in the victim’s own home, and 20 percent take place in the home of a friend or relative. Your children are more at risk from your family, your friends and you than from convicted sex offenders.

While I was growing up in the Dakotas, incest was common. The abuser was confronted by family members and the inappropriate behavior stopped, a method that was very successful. I know from personal experience that the behavior can be changed and the abuser can be stopped, with the support of family and loved ones.

History has proved that incarceration and labeling does not protect all children. The Unified Judicial System Annual Report and the Crime in South Dakota report published each year by the Division of Criminal Investigation verify the number of new offenses each year while another child is victimized.

For an “offense” of any sexual nature, America law does not hesitate to destroy the family structure, slowly bankrupts the family and might force the family on public assistance (paid by taxpayers). Often the accused is provided additional legal resources through the court (paid by taxpayers). Citizens are incarcerated (health insurance, room and board paid by taxpayers), and once their sentence is served, they are released back into society, labeled with the registry as to where they can live and have difficulty finding jobs. ..Continued.. by Georgina Schaff of Lemmon is a Dakota RSOL Family Solutions State Affiliate Organizer.

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