The Pedophile Next Door
Thirteen years after he was convicted of molesting more than a dozen boys at the East Dallas YMCA, David Wayne Jones says he's a changed man. You'd better hope so: He could be moving into your neighborhood any day now.
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IN EARLY MARCH 1991 half a dozen police officers arrived at the East Dallas YMCA and handcuffed a young child-care employee named David Wayne Jones. At the time, the nineteen-year-old’s arrest could not have come as more of a shock to parents and his managers. Jones was known around the Y as a bubbly, tireless worker whom kids referred to as Super Dave and whom moms trusted enough to hire as a babysitter after hours. But when a seven-year-old boy accused Jones of touching him inappropriately in the bathtub, an investigation revealed that he was an unrelenting child predator, one who, almost daily, took advantage of the kids he cared for. Included in the allegations made by more than a dozen victims were claims that Jones used tickle games and play-wrestling as opportunities to fondle them, that he would become aroused when they sat in his lap, and that he would sometimes show up to babysit without wearing underwear. Jones would eventually confess to molesting more than forty children, pleading guilty to nineteen charges, including two first degree felony counts of aggravated sexual assault, making him one of the most prolific pedophiles in the history of Dallas County.
That was thirteen years ago. These days, Jones insists he’s a different person. “A lot of how I’ve changed has nothing to do with sex,” he told me one morning last spring at the Goree Unit, in Huntsville, a few months before he was scheduled for release. “I’ve grown up.” Indeed, sitting across from me in a cramped visitors room, Jones, now 33, looked more like an ambitious young advertising executive, or maybe a congressional aide, than an infamous convicted pedophile. His hair and Vandyke beard were perfectly trimmed. His hazel eyes were clear and sparkled with energy behind small wire-rimmed glasses. Occasionally, he would lean forward in his chair, in the time-honored manner of the salesman, and make his case in a fluid baritone. “I’ve reached the point where I don’t have confidence in my lies anymore,” he said. “And I know I can no longer find comfort in a child fantasy.” Jones talked about the rigorous treatment protocol he’d been through, the years he’d worked in therapy to alter his sexual desires, and the compassion he now feels for his victims. He said he felt sure that, whenever he was free, his days of seeking out children for sexual gratification were finished. And just to be certain, he’d even decided to have himself castrated. “I talked to the one guy here who’s had it done,” he said. “He said it took the edge away. I hear you’re hardly motivated to follow through. That’s what I want: If I get in the world and I have this urge, I want it gone.”
Though it’s comforting to imagine that convicted pedophiles like Jones are all locked away somewhere indefinitely, that is rarely the case anymore in Texas. The Department of Criminal Justice, charged with keeping the inmate population at an affordable level, releases roughly 200 convicted sex offenders every month, some with rap sheets worse than Jones’s. Even more frightening is the condition they’re in when they leave. Of the 29,000 sex offenders currently behind bars, about half of which had child victims, only 30 percent will receive any kind of therapy or education before they walk. For the remaining offenders who get out, we are left to hope for two scenarios: Either the inmate will have found God or some form of willpower while behind bars or, once released, he will violate his parole with some minor infraction and be sent back to prison before he can commit another horrific act.
Would we be better off spending more money on treatment? Consider the case of Jones, whose own recovery has been a realistically bumpy journey since arriving in prison, in 1991. He began as an inmate who felt little remorse for his crimes, believing that he had done his victims a favor. “All along,” Jones said, “I had known it was wrong legally, but part of my fantasy was ‘This is love. This is acceptance. This is nothing bad. I’m helping these children.'” He said it wasn’t until 1996, when he was confronted in therapy by a fellow inmate who’d been repeatedly raped as a child, that he began to finally understand the consequences of his acts and to feel regret. “That was the first time I realized that what I had done does hurt children,” he said. “I had never had that thought before.” Since then he has committed himself to changing.
For a year, as his release date approached, Jones allowed me to observe him as he worked on his treatment. Over the course of a dozen or so visits, he shared, in sometimes excruciating detail, his formative years as a molester, his mind-set in the days leading up to his arrest, and the “thinking errors” that he said led him to commit his crimes. He knows some people will never be able to forgive him, but he repeatedly asserted that he could manage himself in the real world. You might think that trying to rehabilitate a pedophile is a waste of taxpayer money. But what if it could protect your child from a guy like David Jones?
IT IS SOMEWHAT OF A perpetuated myth that most child molesters were sexually abused themselves as children. Certainly some of them were—one of the most reliable studies, conducted by therapist Jan Hindman, placed the statistic at about 30 percent—but childhood abuse is not prerequisite to developing a sexual obsession with children. According to abuse experts, the most common thread among pedophiles is having suffered a personal trauma of some kind, often in the form of extreme neglect or physical abuse. Over time, their deviant sexuality evolves as a means of coping with the emotional abuse or the failure to attach to at least one parent. “One of our strongest drives is to attain attachment to our primary caregiver and to develop trust,” said Judy Johnson, the clinical director of Texas’s Sex Offender Treatment Program, the state’s most intensive prisoner rehabilitation program. “Fixated pedophiles never really developed good skills with intimacy, especially with adults. This explains their fascination with children.”
There are other common characteristics. Typically, as a result of neglect, budding pedophiles become obsessed early on with instant gratification. They tend to be social outcasts, to have trouble with age-appropriate relationships during adolescence, and many perform poorly in school. Most pedophiles are also male, and they tend to have had highly sexualized play as kids. “Depending on how satisfying it was for them,” said Johnson, “they may find they prefer it as adults, particularly if they have early failures at adult relationships.” Individually, none of these traits guarantee that a child will become a pedophile. Stack them together, however, and they form a profile of increased susceptibility, one that the childhood of David Jones matched all too closely.
“I lost my real dad when I was three,” he told me on one of our first visits. “I have a few memories of him. My mother married this other guy when I was five. He took me on a ride on his motorcycle, and I thought, ‘Great. We got a dad.’ Then one night while my mom was pregnant with my sister, they fought and he chased her around the living room. From then on out, I lived in fear of him.” His mother, who delivered mail and supplies for Southwestern Bell to support Jones and his younger brother and sister, divorced and married twice more. Jones was never sexually abused by these men, but he never formed an attachment to them either.
From an early age, Jones was a poor, undisciplined student; he would eventually flunk the eighth grade twice. Despite being raised in a strict Baptist atmosphere, he also displayed a fondness for troublemaking. When he was in the eighth grade, he was arrested for criminal trespassing, and later shoplifting at a Dallas Kmart. His early sexuality was also consistent with Johnson’s model. “My brother had a friend over who was about nine,” said Jones, describing one of his earliest sexual experiences, an incident that took place when he was eleven. “We were watching porno tapes together, and he said he would perform oral sex on me if I would do it in return. I let him do it to me, but I didn’t return, because I was feeling guilty. That was my first awareness of an interest in younger children.”
Once he reached puberty, Jones’ sexuality exploded in all directions. At fourteen, while living in the east Dallas County suburb of Mesquite, he developed a crush on a classmate. “One day at the bus stop, this girl I’d been flirting with kissed me, and I didn’t know how to French kiss,” he remembered. “So when she opened her mouth, I pulled away. Then she started laughing.” It’s not as if this hasn’t happened to a lot of young men, but in Jones’s case, it was a sort of trigger, a humiliating sexual experience that helped drive him to fantasize about alternative partners, like children. This propensity was only reinforced by the fact that Jones already had the memory of a sexual encounter with a young boy. Around age fifteen, Jones began to take an interest in partners of the same sex. He cruised the gay pickup stroll at White Rock Lake, in East Dallas, and he had dalliances with a couple of male classmates at North Mesquite High School. During his sophomore year he also had a heterosexual affair with a young co-worker at the McDonald’s where he worked after school, which resulted in the birth of a daughter. The mother’s family wouldn’t let him have anything to do with the baby, but that didn’t really bother Jones. By that time, he said, his interest in young boys had increasingly begun to assert itself.
“Kids on TV shows like Married . . . With Children—that’s what I really wanted,” he recalled. He began to desire a certain type: athletically built boys, aged seven to nine, who reminded him of himself—insecure and desperately seeking approval. His first actual foray with a child, when he was fourteen, was a failure. “There was this eight-year-old over at a friend’s house, and I tried to seduce him, but he resisted,” he said. “The main thing I was worried about afterward was whether he would tell.” As a precaution, Jones began to satisfy himself with less overt tactics, initiating tickle games or wrestling with his brother’s friends when they came over and then fondling them “accidentally” in the process. For a while, this was enough for him, but in the spring of 1989 a customer at McDonald’s mentioned to him that the East Dallas YMCA was hiring counselors for its summer children’s programs. Like compulsive behaviors, pedophilia tends to escalate, and so Jones, believing that the job might offer him easy access to children, decided to apply.
There were reasons to be suspicious of Jones—he was eighteen and only in the tenth grade; he’d written on his job application that he felt more comfortable with children than with adults—but he got the job. And initially, at least, his popularity with the kids gave his new employers few reasons to believe he was anything other than a good hire. When Jones quit school the following fall, a move that should have made him ineligible for YMCA employment, the organization not only kept him on but promoted him in the spring of 1990 to site supervisor at an after-school program held at Robert E. Lee Elementary School. For a period of about ten months, during which he became an increasingly fixated pedophile who, in his own estimation, was “completely out of control,” the position placed Jones mostly alone and in charge of about eighteen elementary school-age kids. “At the Y,” he said, “in front of parents even, I would have a kid on my lap, and I would get aroused. If the kid said anything, I’d just say, ‘Oh, I’m sorry. I didn’t realize.'” He saved some of his most flagrant actions, however, for his babysitting jobs. “When I started babysitting, I had some shorts that were real easy to unsnap, and I wouldn’t wear underwear,” he said. “I wrestled with this one kid, and then I masturbated him and then I went and masturbated. I kept him quiet by telling him we could get in trouble.” That was as far as he ever went as a babysitter, but he admitted that he had had darker thoughts every now and then: “Sometimes kidnapping would cross my mind, but I never went through with it.”
In early 1991 Jones finally got a little too bold when he struck up a friendship with a woman who had a young son. “I’d bring my Nintendo over as a groomer [a toy or game that pedophiles employ to engage a child],” he said. “One time when he was taking a bath, I went in to look at him, but he covered up. I tried to tickle him and everything, and he pushed my hand away every time it touched his penis.” The boy’s grandmother worked at his school cafeteria, and she was familiar with the signs of sexual abuse. “One day,” said Jones, “he was with her, and she patted him on the rear end as he walked by, and he pulled away. She asked him if someone had been touching him there who shouldn’t have.” A few days later, the police arrived at the East Dallas YMCA and arrested Jones. “What was going through my mind was that I didn’t want the children to see me taken off like that,” he said. “I lied to my mother about it. I told her that it was all a big misunderstanding.”
It didn’t look as though Jones stood much of a chance once he was caught, particularly when an increasing number of kids from the YMCA began to come forward with new allegations. Still, the mounting revelations presented an awkward predicament for the Dallas County DA’s office. For one thing, the YMCA was a formidable civic icon in Dallas; dragging its good name through the headlines for months was a less than ideal scenario. What’s more, though public sentiment about child sexual abuse tends to range from hysteria to extreme hysteria, it’s not always easy to get an abuser convicted. Even when they choose to testify, children are not great witnesses.
Recognizing these factors, Jones’s lawyer, Tom Pappas, seized the opportunity for his client to cut a deal. He persuaded Jones to confess to all the molestations he had committed while at the YMCA, a number that would eventually reach more than forty (the confessions would be confirmed by police polygraphs), as well as to plead guilty to seventeen counts of indecency and two charges of aggravated sexual assault involving victims unrelated to the YMCA. In return, he proposed that Jones plead out to a fifteen-year sentence and ten years of unadjudicated victims unrelated to the YMCA. In return, he proposed that Jones plead out to a fifteen-year sentence and ten years of unadjudicated probation, meaning that if he tripped up at all after he got out, a judge could revoke his probation and sentence him to life on the aggravated charges. Had the case gone to trial, Jones could very likely have spent the rest of his days behind bars. Instead, the deal was made, and he was shipped off to prison with a good chance of being out before the millennium.
THE SEX OFFENDER TREATMENT PROGRAM (SOTP) at the Goree Unit is a collection of drab offices and meeting rooms strung along a single prison wing that houses two hundred inmates—roughly half pedophiles and half rapists with adult victims. The SOTP began in Texas as a pilot program that treated about one hundred volunteer inmates in 1987. It was expanded beyond pilot status in 1996 and has come to include more than five hundred prisoners at three prison units. Inmates who are accepted into the program are split up into small therapeutic communities in which they work on their recovery. This includes developing and sharing their personal “layouts”: exhaustively detailed descriptions of, among other things, their past crimes, their sexual fantasies, and their current sexual activity.
Like most such programs, the SOTP grew out of the cognitive-behavioral treatment revolution of the seventies, which was widely applied to alcoholics and drug addicts. The treatment model relies on the notion that, like alcoholism, deviant sexual acts resemble compulsive behaviors, which are based to some degree on thinking errors. For the alcoholic, it is the belief that he doesn’t drink more than others; for the pedophile, it might be the belief that his assaults are an act of love. The theory is that once you can get a molester to comprehend fully his distorted thinking—through peer group confrontation, thorough confessions in the form of a layout, and exercises that teach victim empathy—he can begin to break down slowly his self-delusion, reprogram his arousal patterns, and change the way he behaves. According to some studies, this method can reduce the rate of repeat sex offenders by 50 percent or more.
Last spring, during one of several visits to the SOTP, I was invited to sit in on a lecture given by therapist Glenna Holloman. When I arrived, there were about twenty inmates in white jumpsuits sitting in rows inside a stuffy meeting room with an impossibly low ceiling. The lecture was about interpersonal relationships—what makes for healthy ones, what makes for pathological ones. Holloman, dressed casually in slacks and a blouse, stood behind a small desk at the front of the room and discussed the role of companionship, self-esteem, and boundaries in relationships. When she finished, she asked for responses from the group. A middle-aged black inmate offered that the problem that he’d always had in relating to others was that he’d been “looking for people to manipulate.” Another explained, “You can commit, but the other person doesn’t.” “I had no idea why I did what I did,” said a balding inmate with thick glasses. “I’d always felt it wasn’t that bad. But when I had to say, ‘I raped an eleven-year-old child’ over and over, like I have to do in here, I learned where I’m at.” Afterward, SOTP clinical director Judy Johnson explained to me how these confessions represented real therapeutic progress. “You are talking about men,” she said, “who never learned to have empathy for others or that forcing yourself on someone sexually is not pleasant for them.”
When Jones arrived in prison, he was a long way from experiencing such empathy. “I was still thinking that if it felt good, that made what I was doing right,” he said. Initially, he was provided with few reasons to question the acts that had put him in prison. He wasn’t required to see a therapist for his first year of incarceration. And though, for reasons of security, he was housed only with other sex offenders, he still lied about why he was there, a habit which only toughened his thick skin of denial. “If anyone asked,” he said, “I’d tell them I was in for forgery or a burglary.” Eventually Jones met with a prison psychiatrist, who recommended him for treatment, and he was accepted into the SOTP in 1992. His recovery did not come easy: He was kicked out of the program for having an affair with a fellow inmate and did not get back in until 1994. During this second stint, when Jones began to share the details of his crimes in group therapy, where he was required to refer to all of his offenses as rapes, he found it much more difficult to operate under his distorted worldview.
“I’d made friends with another guy in group,” Jones said one morning at Goree. “We were real close, and I really had feelings for him. But he wouldn’t talk to me after my layout. And when he told me what had happened to him, that he’d been raped for seven years and that he would put ammonia in his mouth to get the taste out, that really made me see that what I had done was hurtful. That slapped me in my face.” Awakened, Jones began to commit himself to the next, and more difficult, level of sex offender treatment: working to alter the fantasies that lead to sexual abuse in the first place. In therapy sessions, SOTP inmates are taught to recognize when an aberrant sexual fantasy intrudes and then to reframe it as an appropriate fantasy. Therapists believe that if a sex offender is diligent about the exercise, he can theoretically brainwash himself into appropriate desires and curb the fantasies that provoked him into criminal behavior. “It’s a lot easier said than done,” conceded Johnson. “Particularly with a fixated pedophile, this is almost a true sexual orientation, and so it takes a lot of effort and even some luck for a person to actually change his arousal pattern.”
At first, Jones tried only his own crude form of aversion therapy; he would imagine “scary, bad, disgusting thoughts” every time an inappropriate fantasy arose, picturing himself covered with roaches or snakes, for example, or on fire. But this part of his therapy became easier when he had “more than just imaginary bad stuff to work with,” he said. “I had this close friend who’d been hurt by this thing that I had done to lots of boys.” For the next three years, Jones struggled to reform his sexual deviancy, and his rehabilitation proceeded in a positive direction. He worked the long hours that the SOTP demands and felt as if he were changing for the first time in his life. By 1999, after earning enough time for good behavior, he was scheduled for mandatory early release. In October, the parole board approved, and he was transferred to the Way Back halfway house, in Dallas.
HOW DO WE PROTECT OURSELVES from a released pedophile? No one, it seems, has come up with a satisfactory answer. We tend to doubt, as we do with alcoholics and drug addicts, that a child molester’s reformation will last once he’s been removed from his therapeutic community. And with a pedophile, the stakes involved in a relapse are much higher than if some drunk falls off the wagon.
In lieu of a good answer, there is a patchwork of stopgaps and regulations. Parolees are typically placed under house arrest or sometimes monitored by tracking devices. They are required to register with the state and county authorities, which place their names and addresses on a public Web site. They aren’t allowed to be in the presence of a minor. In some places, local judges have proposed more severe standards, such as requiring pedophiles to place a sign in their front lawn identifying them as convicted sex offenders. In fifteen states, including Texas, officials have also explored ways to keep sex offenders off the street entirely. Under what is called a civil commitment, a pedophile who has served his sentence can be transferred to the state’s mental health system for an indeterminate length of time—until officials there decide he’s “better,” in other words. And in Canada, a few jurisdictions have adopted a program known as Circles of Support and Accountability, in which sex offenders are matched up with a neighborhood or church-related support group that monitors their progress outside prison. Texas, however, is a long way from embracing any “Adopt your local pedophile” programs, and the cost of civil commitments is often prohibitive (there have been only 37 such cases here). So the most common way the state tries to protect society from repeat offenders is to create stringent conditions of parole, some of which, however justified, almost seem calculated to force them to fail.
Upon his release, Jones encountered such conditions. As you’d expect, he was forbidden to drink, use drugs, or go anywhere near children. He had to register with the state and the county. He had to visit with his parole officer twice a week. He had to continue to see a therapist, but he could not speak with anyone else about anything remotely regarding sex. Finally, on a regular basis, Jones had to take something called a penile plethysmograph, a test invented by the Czechs during World War II as a way to ferret out draftees who were trying to avoid service by claiming that they were gay. The procedure hasn’t been modified much since. A flexible band filled with mercury is hooked up to a computer and then wrapped around a subject’s penis. As the subject is shown a wide range of explicit sexual material, the computer measures even the slightest increases in the circumference of the band. The procedure is used somewhat like urinalysis for drug offenders; with a pedophile like Jones, frequent tests that involve images of prepubescent boys can indicate to therapists how successfully he has modified his sexual desires.
By the time Jones had to take his first plethysmograph, he was sure that he no longer harbored fantasies about children. Still, he wondered if being subjected to suggestive pictures of young kids might trip him up. Wasn’t this, he thought, like asking him to relapse? But Jones did just fine on his first test. His arousal level for children was determined to be minimal.
Despite this apparent breakthrough, Jones didn’t last long on the outside. Barely a week after he’d been freed, he was caught nude with another inmate in his room at the Way Back halfway house by his parole officer. It was a violation of the house’s rules and, therefore, a violation of his probation. It was a strict standard, and though some might argue that his encounter with an age-appropriate partner was a sign of therapeutic success, others would point out that Jones’s inability to keep his pants zipped for a week was a clear indication of the lack of control he had over his sex drive. Just like that, he was on his way back to the joint, this time to New Boston’s Telford Unit, in northeast Texas, to serve the remaining five years of his sentence.
WHEN JONES RETURNED TO PRISON, getting therapy was no longer a matter of simply requesting it and following the rules. This was not because he didn’t need, at a minimum, a refresher course; it was simply a matter of economics. The inmate population of sex offenders had increased by 30 percent in the past decade, while funding for the SOTP and other programs had remained roughly the same. In 1999, with space for only a few hundred in the treatment program, Johnson and her staff had to make it a hard-and-fast rule that no one got in unless he had just two years left on his sentence, yet even that didn’t leave enough room for all the offenders who wanted treatment.
It was a practical solution, though not really the answer, said Johnson, particularly if you consider the effectiveness of therapy. Most research suggests that treated sex offenders re-offend about half as often as those who are not treated. The most recent tracking of SOTP inmates, done by the Criminal Justice Policy Council, reveals an even more impressive result: Only 2 percent of the inmates who have graduated from the program have gone on to commit sex crimes after their release, and they are 46 percent less likely to commit any type of other crime than inmates who are released without therapy. An exhaustive study of Alaska’s SOTP program found that offenders who participated in the strictest regimen didn’t recidivate at all. “It’s increasingly clear that intensive treatment actually works in reducing the odds that a sex offender will re-offend,” said Johnson. “Certainly what we’ve done is encouraging enough to invest more, not less.” Johnson believes we’d be a lot better off if the most serious sex offenders received treatment for their entire sentences. To accomplish that, the state would need to increase the present SOTP budget of $1.6 million significantly.
So Jones waited his turn. Two and a half years later, he was still not back in therapy. It was around this time that I first contacted him. He told me that he was beginning to lose momentum in his recovery. “I am surrounded by a bunch of idiots on this farm who don’t want to change their criminal behavior,” he wrote to me from the Telford Unit in the late fall of 2002. “I want to be in an environment that encourages change.” He went on to explain that he was technically eligible for the SOTP again but couldn’t get prison authorities to move him to a unit that offered it.
Finally, in early 2003, Jones was transferred back to the SOTP at Goree. Soon thereafter, he began to ponder the ultimate step: castration. Voluntary orchiectomy was approved by the Texas Legislature in 1997 for sex offenders who have committed multiple offenses against children and who have exhibited a genuine and sane desire to have the procedure performed. Still, it is not something that many inmates or therapeutic personnel have embraced (only one sex offender has been castrated in Texas). One reason might be that, while it reduces sex drive, it does not make a man asexual. But if Jones had learned anything from his brief time as a free man, it was that he still needed help in keeping his own sex drive under control, and he was willing to accept any treatment that would increase his chances.
Upon his return to the SOTP, Jones also immersed himself with renewed vigor in his treatment. Each time I visited him over the next year, he seemed to have a little more insight into his behavior. He would constantly refer to “the way I used to be” in negative, condescending terms; he’d written to me, “I just know I’ve changed. I won’t take people for granted or treat them as objects.”
On one visit, Jones had just finished a detailed synopsis of one of his crimes, in which he not only had to describe what he had done in excruciating detail but also had to discuss what had been going through his mind at the time, why he thought he had done it, and what impact he thought it might have had on the victim. It is a horrifying document: Jones described how he had seduced a seven-year-old he was babysitting with a tickle game, then slowly but surely turned it into a forced fondling of the boy. When I read about how he had felt when he was abusing the boy—”I felt excited but discontent that I did not get to do all I wanted to do”—I felt sick to my stomach. But Jones also wrote about the consequences for his victim in a similarly frank and honest tone: “The child I victimized and his family have changed by him not trusting his mom or any adult. He might become rebellious. He is probably confused and feels like an outcast among his friends.” For an offender who almost thirteen years ago thought he was doing his victims a favor by molesting them, it appeared that at least the cognitive part of the process was working.
By late last summer, Jones had reached another mandatory release date; his time served plus time earned for good behavior dictated that the system had to cut him loose. In a letter, he told me he was looking forward to being free, that he felt confident that he could live happily without relapsing by tending some land that his grandmother owns outside Dallas. He concluded by telling me that the next time I heard from him, he would be calling me from his new life there.
A few weeks later, I did receive another letter from Jones. He was back in Dallas, all right, shipped from the Goree Unit to the county jail on a bench warrant—a new indictment for an old allegation that had not been included in his confessions or his plea back in 1991. “They are trying to put a new charge on me so I won’t get out,” he wrote. “But there are no new charges out there. I told them everything in 1991.” When I called the prosecutor, Patricia Hogue, she referred me to the public record in district court, which told me only that it was a charge of aggravated sexual assualt of a child, which could send Jones back to prison for life.
IN NOVEMBER I WENT TO VISIT JONES for the last time. He was still in the Dallas County jail on the indictment. “It’s crazy,” he said. “I feel like I’m moving backward, like everything’s happening all over again.” He was talking about the new charge, but he might as well have been talking about his recovery. He was no longer receiving therapy. His orchiectomy was on hold. And he was spending his days in the company of several hundred untreated sex offenders. Hearing him talk, looking less sure of himself than I had ever seen him, I wondered if his recovery was in jeopardy.
We may never find out how Jones will behave away from prison, and to most people, keeping him behind bars is probably just fine. One has only to recall the infamous Richard Allen Davis, who kidnapped and killed California twelve-year-old Polly Klaas after being paroled for a similar offense, to understand that sometimes these guys never change. But the reality is that we still release more than two thousand sex offenders every year. After seeing what a struggle it has been for David Wayne Jones to change, I can’t help but think: What about all the ones we release without any treatment at all?