For many crimes, treatment and cessation programs have been developed to address the underlying causes and prevent offenders from committing them again. Sex offenders, for example, often undergo extensive therapy during incarceration and afterward to prevent them from hurting another person. Drug treatment programs are also widely available for people convicted of drug-related crimes. But too often it seems some offenses, such as theft and other property crimes, are simply written off as bad behavior and little to no effort is made to help people work toward a life that doesn't compel them to commit the crime again.
An example of someone who might benefit from such treatment is a man who was convicted earlier this month and sentenced to 10 years in prison for robbing three banks in Wilmington, North Carolina. At the time he was on supervised release after serving a sentence for nine other bank robberies.
The first of the three most recent robberies happened in September 2009. Prosecutors said he approached a teller with a canvas bag that had a note taped to it: "You're being robbed. No dye packs." He walked away with just over $2,300. The second two robberies were about as routine and lucrative as the first. But media coverage identified him as a suspect and included his photo, and he was arrested in Myrtle Beach in December 2009.
The man was federally prosecuted in 2003 for his first nine robberies and received a sentence of 84 months in prison. It's unfortunate that in most prisons, even though they're often referred to as correctional facilities, there aren't programs that specifically address the issues that lead to serial robbery and other property crimes. If this man had been given access to such therapy, he might have avoided further trouble when he was released.
Source: WWAY NewsChannel 3, "Serial bank robber gets federal prison sentence," April 11, 2012