The Vilification of Sex Offenders: Do Laws Targeting Sex Offenders Increase Recidivism and Sexual Violence?

Journal of Sexual Offender Civil Commitment: Science and the Law, 1, 141-149. (2006).: Hollida Wakefield; March 23, 2006

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Sex offenders are the most vilified group in society. People hate and despise them and think they should be locked up for life. Other criminals consider them too abominable to associate with. They are seen as dangerous sexual predators for whom treatment won’t work and who are at a high risk to reoffend. These beliefs are widespread, unsupported by facts, and have resulted in harsh laws specifically targeting sex offenders (Quinn, Forsyth, & Mullen‐Quinn, 2004). These laws are easily passed since it is politically dangerous to take any stance other than that of being tough on sex offenders. Such laws include central registries that exist in all 50 states,
involuntary civil commitment laws in 16 states, and new laws in several states restricting where released sex offenders can live.

The focus is now on protecting society rather than individual rights. Janus (2004b) notes the paradigm of governmental social control has shifted from solving and punishing crimes to identifying “dangerous” people and depriving them of their liberty before they can do harm. I believe the net result of this may well be to increase rather than decrease recidivism of sex offenders and make society as a whole more dangerous rather than safer in terms of sexual violence.

READ THE WHOLE ARTICLE BY CLICKING ON THE LINK BELOW.

SOURCE: http://www.soccjournal.org/2005-06/Wakefield_2006.pdf

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