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Chicago Criminal Defense Attorney
Former Cook County Felony Prosecutor

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Does Rehabilitation Work for Illinois Child Sexual Predators?

Child predators are regularly featured on the news as some of the worst criminals out there. They are depicted as not only committing the crime of sexual assault but also as predators hunting the most vulnerable population.

Of course, sexual predators are defined as people who have “committed a sexually violent offense and especially likely to commit more sexual offenses.” Essentially, by definition, a sexual predator is likely to continue to harm people again and again.

Still, the biggest question that even offenders often ask? Whether it’s possible to prevent them from continuing to commit these crimes…and the answer just may surprise you.

What Does Research Say About Rehabilitating Child Sexual Predators?

Rehabilitation is the process of converting regular offenders into people who are safe to re-release into society. In general, rehabilitation is preferable over punitive measures, because it is proven to have a more lasting affect when it comes to removing a threat from society.

Most prison sentences are not a permanent solution. Rehabilitation, on the other hand, helps people change their thought processes and behavior.

Studies Suggest Rehabilitation Works

Studies show that rehabilitation of all kinds is better at preventing recidivism than straight jail time and a saddle of debt in fines and fees. The most current research also suggests that rehabilitation can have some significant success in many types of offenders.

Despite the societal view that child predators are unable to change, science appears to show that therapy and other forms of rehabilitation can actually keep convicted child sex offenders from reoffending. For those who wish to change, this breakthrough is huge.

Research Says Prison Doesn’t Help

While seeing someone go to prison may be satisfying for a parent who is seeking vengeance for their child, it does not actually keep other children safer in the long run. Why?

Because often, people who tend to commit sexual assault crimes don’t necessarily think about the consequences of their actions. Since laws focused on retribution aim to reduce the rate of crime by “scaring people straight,” this makes for ineffective measures in preventing further incidents of sexual assault.

Unfortunately, opportunities for rehabilitation is not one of the most common options for those who have been convicted of child sexual assault. Instead, the law focuses on retribution and punishment.

For this reason, it is important for Illinois offenders to understand the consequences of conviction right now.

Illinois Laws and Penalties for Sexual Assault of a Minor

Currently, the laws against criminal sexual assault of a minor are quite strict in Illinois. A person commits this crime when:

  • A person who is at least 17
  • Touches another’s or has their own genitalia touched;
  • By a child under the age of thirteen.

When these three factors are found to be present, then the perpetrator is likely to face serious consequences. Criminal sexual assault of a minor is a Class X felony, the highest level available in the state of Illinois.

Class X Felony Sentencing

Penalties can include anywhere from 6 to 60 years in prison and fines. If the crime involved the threat of harm or the use of any sort of chemical intoxicant, then potential penalties swiftly rise to life in prison. Convicted people are also placed on the sex offender registry for anywhere from a decade to the rest of their lives.

Rehabilitation Sentencing

Chicago Child Sex Crimes Defense

In certain cases, it’s possible to reduce the prison sentence to a rehabilitation sentence. People accused of child sexual assault can work with qualified attorneys to receive a rehabilitative sentence. By having experienced legal defense on your side, you are much more likely to be able to secure an opportunity for treatment instead of spending years of your life in prison for mistakes.

About the Author:

Andrew M. Weisberg is a former felony prosecutor who now serves as a defense attorney in the greater Chicago area. He has extensive experience in handling all types of criminal cases, from sex offenses and domestic violence to retail theft-related crimes, murder, and drug crimes. His work has been recognized by Avvo, Expertise, National Trial Lawyers, and others, and he has been featured on countless news outlets for his experience and knowledge in criminal law.

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