MA Sex Offender Center Under Scrutiny After Rape Case

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Massachusetts’ lone treatment center for sex offenders is in the spotlight again, having recently housed and treated a repeat offender, Kenneth Stone, who was arrested last week on rape charges, reports the Boston Herald. The Massachusetts Treatment Center is a medium-security facility that draws little attention to itself and its programs despite its notoriety for housing many reviled criminals. The center has a population of 597 sex offenders, including prisoners convicted of sex crimes who are seeking treatment and “residents” who were declared “sexually dangerous” and are civilly committed for one day to life.

In the 1990s, the center made headlines for horrific crimes that were committed by former inmates. Among the approximately 300 men who are civilly committed to the treatment center, a “fluid” number of residents participate in sex-offender treatment, said Superintendent Robert F. Murphy Jr. Treatment requires that offenders admit to their sex crime, explain how they chose their victim and acknowledge whether they used threats or coercion. Offenders are taught victim empathy, accepting responsibility and social skills. Murphy estimated that offenders spend more than 10 hours weekly in therapy. Former resident Joel Pentlarge, who was civilly committed to the center for about two years before a jury freed him in 2006, said the facility does nothing to prepare offenders for re-entry.

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