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But treatment takes time — an average of eight to 10 years — and intense motivation. Few are motivated at MSOP.
“When treatment is unending,” said Jon Brandt, a clinical social worker who has worked with Minnesota sexual offenders for more than 30 years, “can we expect clients to maintain endless motivation?”
After the program released its first offender last year, Jesson saw a jump in the number of people participating in treatment after his release. “They said, ‘OK, this could happen.’ ”
It’s counterintuitive, but helping offenders helps keep us safer. Brad, 54, a Level III sex offender, spent eight years in Moose Lake prison where, unlike at MSOP, treatment began almost immediately, five or six hours a day, five days a week, for three years. He learned about how to avoid triggers, about healthy sexuality and victim empathy.
The biggest impact came from meeting another prisoner who was abused as a child. “Listening to him, and what happened to him afterward, it was a lot worse than what I was telling myself about what I had done,” Brad said. After six months of evaluation in St. Peter, Brad decided he didn’t want to be that person anymore. He’s back in his community now, rebuilding relationships with his family, working full time and staying out of trouble.