Sex Crimes Aired by Offenders at Therapy Sessions

Article excerpt

A need for power and control led William Mullen to rape and molest his two daughters, he says.

"My life was a mess," said Mullen, 37. "I couldn't control my wife, my bills, my money, but I could control my kids."

Mullen is an inmate at Big Muddy River Correctional Center in Ina. He hopes intensive group-therapy sessions will help in his rehabilitation.

Talking openly about their crimes and understanding their importance is a vital step in the recoveries of sex offenders, said Karen Kirschke, clinical supervisor at the prison. Nationwide, the number of sex-offender treatment programs has increased to more than 2,500 from 650 in 1986, although only a fraction of the sex offenders who need treatment are getting it. In Illinois, for example, only about 120 of the 3,232 incarcerated sex offenders get intensive treatment.

"Sex offenders justify, minimize and rationalize to show that they are really not that bad," Kirschke said.

Breaking through that denial is a big part of the job at Big Muddy River, where offenders are learning for the first time to talk about their feelings and understand the obsessive impulses that drive them to sex crimes. …