Though this blog is was originally intended as a resource for offenders in Massachusetts, much of what I write about is applicable to sex offenders in every other state and many countries around the world, especially in Western Europe. Even other non-sex offenders trying to navigate prison, probation and parole, or employment and education opportunities can glean relevant information from this blog and apply it to help overcome their own struggles.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

A Little More About Prison Classification and Treatment

As I mentioned, do your research and gather enough information as you can about where you might want to go.  Granted, the classification board may already have other ideas but you should at least make a case for yourself.  Being realistic (i.e. not requesting to go straight to a minimum security facility if you have to serve 5 years) and being serious about treatment, getting your life back together/turned around, etc... all helps.

What I wanted to talk about further was the conundrum facing inmates who do not want to engage in treatment.  For some, they refuse to admit their offenses.  For others, they don't want to put themselves out there as a sex offender or participate in any type of treatment, maybe because he has a long sentence and wants to do most of it not labeled as a sex offender.  However, inmates who plan on appealing their convictions can be advised by their attorneys to not engage in treatment for any sort of admission could jeopardize the appeal.  Since treatment requires you admitting to the actions behind your conviction, there lies the rub.

By not participating in treatment, you could be seen as being in denial and more dangerous.  You could be sanctioned in various ways: not being allowed to work, unable to transfer to a better or lower security facility, being transferred to a "worse" facility, or even involuntarily civilly committed as a sexually dangerous person.  In my case and in part to get inmates to participate in sex offender treatment, state inmates were sent to Texas and told if we didn't engage in and complete Phase 1 of treatment offered at the county jail, we would not be considered eligible to return to Massachusetts.  Prison, much of it about incentives for certain behavior,  just works that way.

What I am trying to say is the prison system will essentially compel and bully you to comply. Appealing your conviction makes no difference to the people in charge and it won't immunize you from sanctions you may receive.  If you believe it's worth it and you have the promise of a great appeal then the hardship you will encounter may be worth it.  Whether you choose to engage in treatment or not, it's a calculated risk where at some point you may have to cut your losses and consider the long term consequences.