SHREVEPORT - Dr. Paul McIntyre counsels offenders. He says they're not lost causes. "A lot of these sexual offenses is a learned behavior," says Dr. McIntyre. "Anything learned you can unlearn."
One registered sex offender we're naming John, agrees. He says rehabilitation is possible, but says its up to the offender. "They have to want to be or they won't be. It's that simple. If they go there just because it's a requirement, they're wasting their time, their money and the counselors time also," says John.
"They have to go through an intensive training course in prison before they get out, and then when they get out its continued through probation and parole," says Dr. McIntyre.
If they want additional help, they can see someone like Dr. McIntyre. "It's a psychological deal in their mind that this is the way I have a relationship. This is the way I find affection by hurting and raping somebody else," says Dr. McIntyre.
And if they can't find work or housing: "the first thing he'll do is go back to what he knows," says Dr. McIntyre.
John says he was lucky enough to get help and find work when he was released from prison. He's the resident manager for a home that helps to rehabilitate offenders.
"Of the nine, 10 years that I've been doing this, I have an 85 percent success rate of men who are going forward with their lives. I have had one sex offender out of 10 that is now arrested and in prison on a sex related charge," says John.
The public perception of sex offenders is that the majority of them re-offend. But according to research by the U.S. Department of Justice, recidivism rates aren't as high as you might expect averaging between 14% - 20% over five year follow up periods.
- And most other studies put the recidivism rates lower, from 3.5% on up.
And sexual offenders who follow probation and treatment programs have lower re-offense rates than offenders who don't.
Dr. McIntyre says accused murderer _____ is a classic example of someone who didn't stick with the program. _____ is accused of killing 12 year old Justin Bloxom back in March.
"He cut himself off from me from talking and trying to get his head right; he went back to his old ways. I'm not saying he did it, I'm not saying he didn't do it, but if you're a predator and you don't want to give that lifestyle up you're going back to prison; bottom line," says Dr. McIntyre.
So, there's no guarantee that they won't offend again, as it's a life long challenge for some. And every sex offender has different issues mostly based on the offense committed.
For instance, sex offenders who rape children tend to re-offend regardless of treatment.
- I am no expert, but I doubt this statement.