Given all the degrees that sexual offenses can take, one type of sentence does not fit all. What has increased is round-the-clock news coverage of a few tragedies, conditioning families to live in fear. The Department of Public Safety updates this information regarding convicted sex offenders regularly, making every effort at accuracy. You are cautioned that the address and some of the information provided is information provided by the registrant, and may not reflect the current residence, status, or other information regarding an offender. Sadly, the new legislation being created is aimed more at increasing punishment and appeasing the public than it is at actually making our communities safer. Just getting caught changes the behavior of most individuals. This cannot be done if we keep them in fear and on the run. Unfortunately, when a partially informed public is allowed and encouraged to become watchdogs, sex offenders face greater risk of confrontations by the public, due mainly to anger and hostility. All this rational talk may mean nothing to a parent.
However, the problem with legislation launched in anger is that it invariably ends up punishing not only those who deserve punishment but also those who do not. The public has been misled into believing that sex offenders are around every corner and that even those who have been caught will go on to offend forever. Furthermore, only a tiny percentage of sex offenders have any history of kidnapping or molesting children unknown to them. Although such a shift may have little current appeal among the public today, treatment is the only sure way that we will see fewer victims of these types of crime. What do people fear so formidably? Registries tend to treat all sex offenders the same way, without reference to the severity of their offenses, their responsiveness to treatment, or current assessment of the risk they pose. Review individual state conditions before use. Given all the degrees that sexual offenses can take, one type of sentence does not fit all. People —even kids— look out for each other in public places. Robert Freeman-Longo, former director of the Safer Society, stated: We relish our erotic attraction to children, says Kincaid witness the child beauty pageants in which Jon Benet Ramsey was entered. Sadly, what has been spawned politically so far, such as sex registries and residency restrictions, are measures that will do nothing to make our communities safer but in fact will do more harm. We should see to it that the public and our legislators inform themselves better about these myths and learn to distinguish the reality from the many distorted ideas that are abroad. Thus they not only clearly violate the Constitution, but they actually encourage more of the very crimes we are trying to reduce. Then, he said, Anglo-American culture conjured childhood innocence, defining it as a desire-less subjectivity, at the same time as it constructed a new ideal of the sexually desirable object. The result would be many fewer victims of all sorts of crimes, including sexual abuse of children. Established by statute in , the online database now contains the names of more than 6, people who have been convicted of a sex offense. Tracking devices that have to be worn conspicuously only make targets of the people we are trying to reintegrate into society. At least 18 states have some restrictions on where parolees live. When stranger predators are everywhere on TV, it suggests that they are everywhere in the real world: This is not what the public believes and certainly not what they have heard. Registrants are required to notify the Department of Public Safety Sex Offender Registry Unit of a change of address within 5 days of such change and verify their residential address every 90 days or they may be subject to arrest for a class "D" felony. The monitoring of sex offenders will always be better handled by knowledgeable treatment professionals carefully coordinating their efforts with police and parole officers than by the varied mercies of an angry, upset, and partially informed populace. Mean spirited vengeful legislation is only an incitement to vigilante injustice masquerading as a responsible public safety measure. I want to know where that kid is. When the public is as misinformed and angry as they are, it is a perilous mistake to give them the addresses and photographs of all sex offenders, particularly without the background of their crimes or updated individual assessments of risk. In recent years social scientists and criminologists have combed through an immense accumulation of data from hundreds of studies which have tracked tens of thousands of individual sex offenders for long periods of time, some even for decades.
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