May 15, 2015

NC Program Tries To Fix Sex Offenders

5-15-15 North Carolina:

Harnett County, N.C. - "I raped a strange women. It was a woman who I did not know who I saw through an open door in her house. And I went in. It was not her fault. She didn't do anything to deserve it. There was nothing she could of done at that point. I was bigger. Stronger. I had the element of surprise you know," an inmate at the Harnett Correctional Institution told 2 Wants To Know.

He asked us not to name him because he says he's changed since raping a stranger in the 1990s. He credits his growth to the Sexual Offender Accountability and Responsibility program run by North Carolina prisons.

SOAR's a 20-week mix of group and individual therapy. It's for guys who admit to committing sex crimes from incest to molesting a child. The men live and learn together in a separate unit of the Harnett Correctional Institution.

"They feel like it's safe. That they are not going to be judged and jumped on and whatever else. That's their fear. And so it gives them permission to talk about it. And a lot of them say it's a huge weight off their shoulders to be able to talk about it," said Program Director Bob Carbo.

According to the Department of Corrections out of 100 sex offenders released from prison 37 are re-convicted with three years But out of every 100 SOAR graduates only eight are re-convicted. Eight.

"Without it, I probably would have committed another crime. If you don't intervene and fix something, if your car is broke down and you don't fix it, it's going to behave the same way. It's the same thing," the inmate said.

Soar's secret? Therapists get the men to think about how their victim felt. In fact every session centers on two victims' chairs - one for an adult and one for a child. They even do role-play exercises where the men reenact their crime as their victim. Often breaking down crying.

"When you have more empathy you're less likely to take advantage of somebody. Instead of seeing someone vulnerable as someone you can take advantage of, you see them as someone who needs protecting," Carbo said.

Then the program helps the men figure out why they offended.

This inmate says he had a son in the hospital fighting for his life, problems with work, and an unstable relationship. He thought he could prove his worth and power by making a stranger enjoy sex with him.

"That was my intention. That in the beginning she would reject me. And in the end she would not be any worse off. Extremely naive. Extremely selfish and unemphatic. I know," he said.

Carbo says they try to teach the men there's healthier ways to get power - like helping someone in need instead of hurting them.

"It's made me a better human being," the inmate said,

And just possibly made life on the outside safer for us all. ..Source.. by Benjamin Briscoe, WFMY

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