Saskatchewan

Critics decry lack of sex offender treatment

Saskatoon police have issued a public alert about a newly released high-risk sex offender, a move has left social justice critics lamenting a lack of treatment programs for such people.
Robert Wallace Street is living in Saskatoon after being released Feb 4. ((Saskatoon Police Service))
Saskatoon police have issued a public alert about a newly released high-risk sex offender, a move has left social justice critics lamenting a lack of treatment programs for such people.

Authorities kept Robert Wallace Street in prison as long as possible, since the 54-year-old was deemed too dangerous for parole or early release.

Police said he was released from prison Feb. 4 and that he must live under a 10 p.m. to 6 a.m. curfew, refrain from alcohol and stay away from parks, playgrounds, swimming pools and avoid contact with anyone under the age of 16. Police said Street "has a history of committing sexual offences against young males under the age of 16 years, with whom he comes in contact. Mr. Street has been known to groom his victims and their families by befriending them and gaining their trust in order to gain access to his victims."

Lorraine Scott, a community worker with the John Howard Society, said there are no programs in the community for offenders such as Street. Although since he has served his full sentence and is not a parolee, nothing would compel him to seek treatment.

"When you're talking about specifically designed programs for sex offenders, there is nothing. Absolutely nothing," said Scott, adding it's not unusual to release offenders into a community with no place to live, no treatment plan and no job prospects.

She said it's a recipe that leads some criminals to re-offend. "Taking everything away from them isn't the answer. We need to have something there, a place where they can go for programming, a place where they can go for living, a place where they can go for support."

Scott said the federal government and the province need to fund homes specifically for such offenders where they can be supervised and receive treatment.