It wasn’t a graduation, but it was a day to acknowledge progress.
Approximately 50 sex offenders housed at Utah State Prison marked the completion of their treatment program during ceremonies at Promontory and Lone Peak correctional facilities.
“Treatment isn’t a cure, but by allowing yourself to be vulnerable, and transparent, you’ll be surprised by the changes,” one program participant told fellow inmates during the event. “I got results that I can’t fully explain. Stick with it and you’ll see the changes.”
The program is one of a number the Utah Department of Corrections conducts at its facilities to better prepare offenders to reenter the community.
“Sex-offender treatment is very arduous, very intensive, very demanding and time consuming,” said Dr. Victor Kersey (shown at right), director of programming for the Utah Department of Corrections. “(Completing it) means the next step in the right direction for positive reintegration into society knowing that we’ve accomplished risk reduction.”
Kersey noted that the sex offender treatment program – available to inmates at facilities in Draper, Gunnison and some county jails – is in transition. A new vendor will be taking over operations. The change comes on the heels of a legislative audit that highlighted shortcomings in the previous program. Kersey, who took over the position just months before the audit, said the new vendor will provide more programs.
During the ceremony, Dep. Warden Greg Hendrix, who oversees programming at the Draper site, said those who completed the program showed they have what it takes to make real change, despite difficulties.
“We know it’s not easy living here,” Hendrix said. “You have faced a lot of adversity. It will continue when you get out. But if you are prepared, you will reach your full potential.”