“There is no solution inside or outside of prison”: the failure of the rapist’s therapy in Igualada

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The attack on a young woman in Igualada on November 1, 2021 left the country shocked by the violence with which the crime had been perpetrated and for the most sensitive details of the case. The event quickly became a priority for the authorities, who at the end of April of this year found the alleged culprit of the event, a 20-year-old boy who had already had undergone psychiatric treatment for sexual abuse.

A few months before the Igualada violation, Brian CM had finished his probation for abusing his little stepsisterwhen she was seven years old and he was 14. The fact took a few years to be reported and was tried in 2020 by the Superior Court of Justice of Catalonia, which sentenced him to one year of internment for a crime of “attempted sexual assault“.

Months later, the court decided to commute his sentence in exchange for psychiatric treatment and detoxification therapy, but something went wrong in the process. Do therapies serve to rehabilitate rapists like the one in Igualada?

“For all the factors in this case, what this boy presents is a antisocial personalitythat is to say, that of a psychopath with capital letters and that There is no fix either inside or outside of prison“, says Juan José Carrasco, a forensic psychiatrist with a long career linked to the field of legal and forensic medicine.

The doctor refers to the cruelty of the alleged rapist with the victim, whom he tried to kill after the attack and who stole all her clothes as a trophy, in addition to the background of Brian CM, who had a Complaint of ill-treatment by her ex-partner.

personality problem

“What I think is that in this case there is not only a sexual problem, but there is a basic personality problem“, argues the psychiatrist. “He is a sadist, one of those who enjoy generating pain and suffering and who does not care about hitting, mistreating, or raping,” he says.

The data on the type of psychiatric therapy to which the young man was subjected have not transpired, but it is noted that it would be related to pharmacology. “You can give him sedatives, tranquilizers, aggressiveness regulators, but that is treating symptoms, not going to the bottom of the matter“, details Carrasco.

“Sexual delinquency is not a psychopathological problem, in the sense that a drug is the solution that controls the impulse,” explains Santiago Redondo Illescas, professor of psychology and criminology at the University of Barcelona. “I’m not saying I can’t help, but it’s not going to change thingsin the sense of removing that person internally so that they change,” he continues.

Redondo is also one of the promoters in our country of treatment for sexual offenders in prison. From his perspective, in Spain there is a network of programs very valid and pointers in Europewhich follows the Canadian model, which stands out for having one of the highest reintegration rates in the world.

The criminologist explains that these programs are usually based on the application of ttherapy group cognitive-behavioral, for about 400 or 500 hours, and works according to several therapeutic units. “One is empathy, others are cognitive distortions, sexual education, etc.”, Redondo details, while pointing out that “the first important question is not sexual limits, but go to the source of crime“, that is, what drives the person to commit this type of crime. From his experience, when it is possible to go to the root, the recidivism of sexual aggressors is significantly reduced.

20% reoffend

According to data from the Foundation for Applied Research in Crime and Security (Fiadys), in Spain the recurrence of these criminals stands at 20%. The data is lower than a priori can be expected, especially when compared to other crimes, such as those committed against property, which is between 40% and 60%.

Regarding this issue, Redondo clarifies that it is normal for this to be the case, since many sexual assaults occur under very specific circumstances. “These are crimes in which the situation has played a very important role and, probably, the situations that facilitated them are not going to happen anymore“.

To stop that 80%, what comes into play is education and work on values, forging a good prevention system, but what really worries the experts is the 20% who will reoffend. In 2013, a study carried out at the Brians 1 Penitentiary Center (Catalonia) compared recidivism data between a group subjected to a specific intervention program for sexual offenders and another that had not. While among the first only 6% reoffendedamong the latter the data stood at 31.8%.

From his experience as an evaluator of these systems, Redondo confirms their effectiveness. “When treatments are applied, the rates are reduced by more or less half“.

chemical castration

Already at the beginning of the 90s, Manuela Carmena, during her work as prison surveillance judge of Madrid, launched a Pilot experience which consisted of the granting of exit permits to sexual aggressors so that they could go to health centers where their evolution could be studied. “There is no need to take a pitying attitude towards them, but one way to solve the problem of victims is to help them”, he responded at that time in a interview for The country.

What Santiago Redondo does not share is with the programs that advocate for what is popularly known as chemical castration. “What these drugs do is inhibit sexual desire and could be effective if excessive testosterone were the main cause of sexual aggression, but it is that it is not“.

Juan José Carrasco thinks exactly the same. For example, returning to the case of the defendant for the Igualada crime, he states: “The problem is not only aggression, but personality” and that is something that chemical castration would not fix. In all his years as a forensic psychiatrist, where he has had the opportunity to collaborate in cases such as the Pirámides rapist, has never recommended this practice.

With the alleged rapist of Igualada, if he is finally convicted, time will tell if the second time is the charm. Although Carrasco does not believe that there is much of a solution: “I would like to say that there is a solution for cases like this, but I am very skeptical. I am because I have been seeing similar or almost identical cases for 60 years.

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“There is no solution inside or outside of prison”: the failure of the rapist’s therapy in Igualada