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n Acta Criminologica: Southern African Journal of Criminology - Treatment of incarcerated sex offenders in South Africa : an analytical perspective
Sexual offending is a complex and socially pertinent problem. Often sexual offenders are conditionally released before the end of their sentences and the accurate assessment of their dangerousness has become an aspect on the important agenda of corrections (Porter, Fairweather, Drugge, Hervé, Birt & Boer 2000 : 217). The effectiveness of sexual offenders' treatment is debated even amongst the most prolific and knowledgeable researchers in the area. Some contend that the effects of sex-offender programming are indeterminable, while others maintain that treatment should ideally reduce recidivism (Blanchette 1996 : 17).
Society has a moral obligation to offer treatment to as many sexual offenders as possible, given the catastrophic consequences to innocent victims of sexual reoffenders (Blanchette 1996 : 17-18). Sex offenders who reoffend usually do so against more than one victim, therefore, effectively treating just one sexual offender avoids considerable human suffering.
In South Africa, media fascination and interest in sex crimes and sexual perpetrators has intensified. This is evident from the following newspaper and Internet headlines : "Cape Town pedophiles declines to testify, prefers to just keep on being a scumbag pedophile" (bangedupocon-BANGRAG.html); "Father charged with raping daughters" (The Star, 25 June 2002 : 2); "Brutal rapist of little girl gets 25 years in jail : Child was 'oozing blood' three hours after attack" (The Star, 19 June 2002:5); "Police hunt down Internet paedophiles : Obscene images of children, including babies, seized in worldwide raids" (The Star, 3 July 2002 : 4) and "Baby rape horror in Hillbrow" (The Citizen, 4 November 2002 : 3). The purpose of this article is to analyse the treatment of selected, convicted sex offenders in South African prisons. The nature and the extent of rehabilitation services offered to these offenders are examined and international research on this phenomenon is consulted to serve as a guideline for treatment recommendations in the South African context.
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