Lisa says it costs taxpayers $165,000 per resident per year to keep them on the island. Some of this money goes toward treatment. "There are some who say that taxpayer dollars shouldn't fund treatment," she says. "That people who commit crimes against children or sexual crimes should just remain in prison or remain locked up without services."
Dr. Carey Sturgeon, the clinical director for McNeil Island's special treatment program, disagrees. "I guess I want to live in a world where we believe in grace and [believe] people can change," she says. "Knowing that treatment can work for sex offenders is one way of living that."
For the first time, Dr. Sturgeon allows cameras to film her therapy session with a group of convicted sex offenders. Since therapy is voluntary, Lisa says less than half of the residents participate. The ones who do are required to go to group sessions three times a week.
While sitting in on the session, Lisa meets Brent, a man who has multiple convictions against both boys and girls. "When Brent first started talking, it was very uncomfortable for me," she says. "It felt very, very awkward sitting there listening to the things that he had done."
After therapy, Brent agreed to talk more with Lisa in his room.