Colorado’s most notorius rapist has pleaded guilty and been sentenced to 1,300-plus years in jail, which he wants serve in an out-of-state prison. By pleading guilty, he spared the victims of his brutal assaults the agony of having to relive the events in public on a witness stand. While Brent J. Brents’ legal case is behind us, it is not over for his victims. It will take the women he raped, including two young girls, years to recover from the horror. Perhaps the most that can be hoped for now is that the residents of our city never again fall prey to a monster like Brent Brents.

That being said, it also is important to not to lump all sex offenders in with violent sexual predators like Brent Brents . This 2003 Justice Department report contains some myths and facts about sex offenders. One fact is that there is a lower recidivism rate for sex offenders who receive treatment in prison than there is for general criminal offenders. Also, as a Colorado study found, sex offender treatment in prison works:

The report found three of every four sex offenders who received no therapy reoffended, compared with one in every six for those who completed the first phase of treatment. The rate improved to one in 10 for those who finished the second phase in a minimum-security facility for sex offenders. The study examined the records of 3,338 sex offenders.

States should make sex offender treatment in prison mandatory. With more and more states, including Colorado, setting life in prison as the top end of the sentencing range for sex offenders, parole boards have the option of keeping the most dangerous offenders in prison while allowing those who have become rehabilitated to re-enter society. Similar findings from studies in other states are compiled here. Brents should never again be freed from prison. He is beyond being rehabilitated. Other lower-level sex offenders may have a chance. I hope our state legislature, parole board, and judges make an effort to recognize the difference.