In 2017, the government’s flagship treatment scheme for people convicted in England and Wales of rape or child sexual abuse was scrapped after it was shown to raise the risk of reoffending. Two sex offenders have told BBC Radio 4’s File on 4 programme what it was like to take part in the rehabilitation programme.
“Everything was discussed in minute detail. They had what was called the ‘hot seat’ and every prisoner that was in a group had to sit in the hot seat and they were bombarded – it was like an interrogation.”
These are Paul’s experiences of group sessions on the discredited Sex Offender Treatment Programme (SOTP), which ran from the early 1990s until 2017.
Paul has been convicted of numerous offences, including rape, and is serving a long jail sentence.
Speaking to me from a prison pay-phone, he says he started the SOTP on three occasions – it was a cognitive behaviour therapy designed to teach offenders to think and act differently.