Sex Offenders: Incentive To Get Out Of Jail Early - News and Weather For The Quad Cities -

Sex Offenders: Incentive To Get Out Of Jail Early

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Sex offenders could get out of jail early just for following the rules. The Iowa Supreme Court has ruled if convicted sex offenders admit to their crimes and go through a treatment program, there's a chance they could serve only half their time behind bars.

That ruling went through Friday. It says sex offenders can get out early if they get treatment. This has always been the law, but it's just coming to light now after one of those convicted sex offenders challenged it.

Convicted Iowa sex offender Robert Harkins refused to participate in a treatment program, saying he's not an offender because he never committed the crime.

"If you are convicted of a sex offense and you wish to receive good time and get out early, you have to make this acknowledgement," said Clinton County Attorney Mike Wolf, "You have to participate in the sex offender treatment program in which you acknowledge your wrong doing."

He said a person sentenced to ten years would usually only serve half for good behavior, but Harkins would not be eligible for his earned time off because he wouldn't admit to the crime.

He filed an appeal. It was denied, because the court ruled anyone convicted of a sex crime must go through a sex offender treatment program before being considered for parole.

"People cannot get earned time credit unless they meet the requirements of a sex offender treatment program, and they found over and over again that sex offenders are more likely to go back out and commit another offense if they do not acknowledge that they did something wrong," said Wolf.

Even if sex offenders accept the treatment and get off early, a lot of them will still have to go on the sex offender registry and possibly wear an ankle bracelet for life.

Back in 2005, Robert Harkins was sentenced to 10 years in prison for third degree sexual abuse. Harkins told police he was at a party and fell asleep. He woke up to find a girl in his bed and had sex with her. Court officers said he told them it was consensual. Harkins has always maintained his innocence. @@

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