A Swedish rehabilitation program for convicted pedophiles that focused more on “care” and “therapy” than punishment has been criticized for actually increasing the prisoners risk of re-offending.
The “Ros” program (“Ros stands for “relationship and coexistence”) proved popular with Swedish liberals who believed that convicted pedophiles could be encouraged not to re-offend if they were treated with care, respect and taught to co-exist peacefully in relationships and society.
The program has been in vogue in liberal Sweden for the last twenty years. However, according to Swedish reports, new data from the program suggests it has had the opposite effect to what was intended.
Convicted pedophiles who have undergone the “Ros” program, which involves “writing therapy” and “empathy exercises”, are actually more likely to abuse children and relapse into criminal behaviour when they are released.
“Looking back, it is unacceptable,” said Martin Lardén, head of the Prison and Probation Service’s treatment program, who recently spoke to Sveriges Radio.
“This type of rehabilitation has proved to be able to produce the opposite effect. That is, it increases the risk of relapse.”
“The main duty of the Prison Service is to execute punishment in a safe manner. Looking back twenty years ago, it was these types of efforts that were recommended,” said Martin Lardén.
Lardén is critical of the fact that for twenty years, the Prison and Probation Service has released pedophiles into mainstream society that have not been rehabilitated but, on the contrary, have been put through a program that actually increased their risk of committing new sexual offenses against children.
Sveriges Radio also interviewed one of the pedophiles that went through the Ros program, including the”writing therapy” and “empathy exercises”, before committing new sex crimes against children. The state radio channel chose to protect the man’s identity and gave him the pseudonym “Tomas”.
“Tomas” has now been released again into Swedish society after serving his second prison attendance for sex offenses against children. He says that as part of the Ros program he had to write letters to his victims of sex crimes.
This was difficult for “Tomas,” because he subjected so many children to abuse that he couldn’t write letters to all of them, and had to confine himself to one of his victims.
“Tomas” also told the broadcaster that his consumption of child pornography has been a way to alleviate his mental illness and he does not believe that the letter writing in the Ros program has done anything to help him.