Sex Offender Treatment
Many of our cases result in our clients participating in a psychosexual evaluation and eventually in a Sex Offender Treatment Program (SOTP). At the Meryhew Law Group we have extensive experience at helping our clients successfully navigate the evaluation process in order to enable us to get them the best possible result in their case. Brad Meryhew has pioneered a method for attorneys to prepare their clients for psychosexual evaluations that has proven to achieve excellent results for clients.Does Sex Offender Treatment Work?
Despite popular opinion, the fact is that specialized sexual offender treatment has proven to be effective in reducing re-offense by participants in treatment, and in improving the quality of life for offenders and their families. A growing body of social science research has demonstrated the effectiveness of sex offender treatment, and efforts continue to refine the methods and test the outcomes of treatment.The First Step - A Favorable Psychosexual Evaluation
In order to be considered for the treatment option a person must first obtain a sexual deviancy evaluation that recommends they participate in the treatment program. This evaluation looks at whether the person is sexually deviant or in need of specialized sex offender treatment, whether they pose a risk to the community if they are allowed to do community based treatment, and whether the person is amenable to treatment or willing to do the hard work to participate in treatment. The evaluation also includes a polygraph examination and extensive psychological testing. At the Meryhew Law Group we have learned that taking the time to explain the process to our clients, and to screen them ourselves prior to the evaluation, significantly increases the chances of a favorable psychosexual evaluation. We have extensive experience working with several evaluators and helping our clients get the best results. The wrong choice of evaluator, and poor preparation for the evaluation, can have lasting negative consequences.Participation in Treatment
Sex Offender Treatment is an intensive program that typically takes years to complete. There are different philosophies and methods of delivering treatment, and we have learned that matching our clients to an appropriate treatment provider can go a long way to insuring their success. Treatment will require the person to follow a very long and restricted list of conditions while participating in at least weekly sessions. Treatment typically consists of weekly groups meetings with a sexual deviancy counselor, as well as individual sessions, and required attendance at Sex Addicts Anonymous meetings.Treatment Instead of a Long Prison Sentence—SSOSA
Washington State recognizes that in certain situations, long-term treatment for sex offenders serves society's interests better than long-term incarceration. The Special Sex Offender Sentencing Alternative (SSOSA) program was created to serve this purpose. SSOSA offenders receive a sentence of zero to twelve months in a County Jail, with a long prison sentence suspended so long as they complete the program successfully. The prison sentence is served only if the offender violates the conditions of Probation or fails to complete treatment.Getting a SSOSA Sentence—Making the Case Persuasively
Convincing a Judge to grant a SSOSA sentence is not always easy, and the number of SSOSAs granted in Washington has steadily declined in recent years to approximately 100 per year statewide. In order to get this option a defendant must be eligible, have a favorable evaluation, and meet other challenging criteria.
In order for a defendant to obtain a SSOSA they must:
- Admit what they did fully. They cannot plead no contest.
- Not have any prior convictions for sex offenses, or any violent offenses within five years.
- Not have caused substantial bodily harm to the victim.
- Had an established relationship with the victim before the offense was committed.
In evaluating whether or not to grant a SSOSA, the law tells the Judge to consider:
- Whether the offender and the community will benefit from this sentencing alternative.
- If the SSOSA is too lenient in light of the offense.
- If the offender poses a risk to the victim, the community or to persons of a similar age.
- The victim’s opinion as to whether the SSOSA should be granted must be given strong consideration.
At the Meryhew Law Group we have many years of experience working with community based treatment and successfully placing our clients in the SSOSA program. If you or someone you care about is facing serious charges such as this and sex offender treatment is an option you would like to explore call us today for a free initial consultation.