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March 23, 2006

Interesting paper on sex offenders

A helpful reader has pointed me to this interesting new paper from the Center for Community Alternatives entitled "Responding to Sexual Offenses: Research, Reason and Public Safety."  The paper discusses research on evidence-based practice dealing with sex offenders and calls for a more nuanced and less categorical approach to initiatives like residence restrictions and registration requirements.  Here are the opening paragraphs:

There is likely no criminal behavior that breeds as much condemnation and fear as sex offending. There are tragic examples of young victims of sex offenders in New York State and across the country that have raised our concerns, and prompted calls for increased surveillance, control and incapacitation. It is responsible public policy to address these concerns in ways that will increase public protection that are based on research and evidence. An evidence-based approach ensures that we will sequester only those who are likely to reoffend by committing serious, violent sexual offenses and affording treatment and effective supervision for those who do not fall into this category.

To date, much of the debate about sex offenders has been driven by the most horrific and heinous crimes that contribute to the myth that nothing works.  This ignores a growing body of research that documents what works, for whom and in what setting and context. This policy alert calls attention to some of the literature, and urges that new legislation on sex offenders, both criminal and civil penalties, be guided by this research and further expert consultation. We briefly address three key areas: assessment of people who commit sex offenses, the efficacy of treatment — what works for whom, and the use and misuse of civil commitment.  Finally, we draw upon lessons learned from the past and New York's experience with legislation that was driven by fear and political rhetoric — the Rockefeller drug laws.

March 23, 2006 at 08:55 AM | Permalink

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Comments

I am neither a lawyer, student, nor prosecutor but the daughter of a man who has never had as much as a speeding ticket in all of his 60 yrs but who now is incarcerated convicted of continuous abuse of a child. It is still shocking to all of us and to him most of all I think. After a serious call accident, several surgeries, and the deaths of 3 of his siblings within a 18 mos. time became depressed and was on 12 to 13 different prescriptions he began fondling a little girl who was close to the family. He had become impotent from the medications and was trying to see if he could still become erect. The little girl never showed any signs in fact asking to spend the night so needless to say everyone was shocked. After this was discovered he willingly admitted to it not wanting to call the girl a liar. He was seen by a forensic psychiatrist who stated that he believed this was a situational happening and gave him the lowest score feeling a very small chance of recitisism. Confused, depressed, and so ashamed he willing was trying to get some kind of help. My father has always been an upstanding, responsible citizen until all of this happened. All the the medical and psych doctors said it would be detrimental for him to go to prison and that he was a very low risk to the society. Still the judge sentenced him to 10 yrs not taking any mitigating circumstances into view. My point is not all labeled sex offenders are preditors. I do not justify my father's behavior, but he does not deserve to be looked at and classified with the sadistic persons out looking for children to prey on. The courts need to look at the criminal and not the crime.

Posted by: Joni | Mar 25, 2006 7:09:11 PM

The lack of nuance is worse than one would imagine. I cannot address most States, but my own Illinois classifies people as sexual offenders based on convictions for offenses which are not usually sexual.

I am an attorney who has represented a number of people who have convictions for child abduction because they detained a child in the course of a martial dispute. If convicted of this offense, they are classified as sex offenders and must comply with the requirements of the sex offender registry. Judges and prosecutors are stuck with the fact that the information that a person is a "sex offender" is ambiguous and unreliable by design.

Posted by: Daniel Shinkle | Mar 27, 2006 10:30:37 AM

I am studying Criminal Justice at Campbell University. I will receive my BA in December 2006. I am enraged at Joni's comment. HELLO, wake up, this man that you call your father, did not just wake up one day and decide at 60 years to fondle a child. Come on now, get over the fact that this is your father, and look at it through someone elses eyes, like maybe the child that he fondled. You say that the child kept asking to stay the night, yeah most children see their molestor as someone who loves them and they are usually scared to act any differently. They are ashamed, they find fault in themselves for what is happening to them. Have you ever read anything on victims of child molestation? Obviously not. I was molested by my grandfather for years, all the while I never showed signs of being abused. Some kids never change their behavior, they adapt. I was terrified of telling on him, I thought that I would get into trouble and everyone would be mad at me. That is what goes through a childs head. The only reason anyone ever found out is because I told a guidance counselor and she had to tell the police, which at the time I did not know she had to do that. If I would not have told her then no one would have ever found out. You say that the girl still kept asking to stay the night, well guess what, I still went around my grandfather during the abuse and for years after the abuse (he was never convicted because I would not testify, again I was only a child). I was 22 years old before I realized that, hey this was not my fault, I did not do anything wrong, he was the criminal, the SICK HUMAN BEING!! I am 27 years old now, and I still have problems in my life because I can not get over what that BASTARD did to me over 20 years ago. So until you come to grasp with the fact that your father is not so innocent, then you will never know the difficulties that the child he VIOLATED will never have a normal life, but hey what do you care right? Your father only has a ten year sentence, which he probably will not even serve the full time, but that child is punished for life. What for, because your dear, sweet daddy wanted to see if he could get it up? Are you really that ignorant? If he wanted to see if he was not impotent, rent a porn. I can guarantee you that this was not your fathers first time molesting a child. There are others, they never had the courage to come foward. You are the lucky one, he never touched you. Do you have children? Better ask them. What about friends who stayed with you as a child? Did any just stop coming around? Sit back and think about it for awhile, I bet that you can think of something that will prove he has done it in the past. I am really sorry that you are so closeminded that you can really feel sorry for your father, and not for the real victim. Because regardless of what you think, your father is no where close to being a victim, even if it were his first time.

Posted by: Melissa | Apr 2, 2006 6:21:08 PM

I'm sorry to hear that your grandfather molested you. I think it's sad that you blame everything that has ever gone wrong in your life on the incident, though. What's worse is that it's people who like me who are getting the punishment.

John

www.JohnTheGuitarist.com/letters.htm

Posted by: JohnTheGuitarist | Apr 3, 2006 10:03:44 PM

O.k. What in the hell are you talking about? People like who, people who molest children? If you molested a child, then what exactly do you expect from people sympathy? Screw you. Do you not think that I should blame my grandfather for what HE did to me and how much HE screwed up my life? Thanks to HIM, I will never trust anyone anymore. I will never look at sex as a beautiful thing that is shared between two CONSENTING ADULTS. My heart is completely hardened toward ever feeling anything that I should feel. Again, who am I supposed to blame for that? No one except my grandfather, because he is the one who did it to me. Do I blame other child molestors, HELL YEAH!! Why, because, I know from experience what they are doing to every little boy and little girl that they touch. The molestor does not just effect that one little moment in time for a child, they F@#K up the rest of that childs life.

Let me conclude by saying, I don't blame that incident for everything that goes wrong in my life. In fact because of that I believe that I am a stronger, more independent woman, who can take care of herself. I have two beautiful children, a very loving husband, and I am completing my BA as we speak. I do believe that if it had not happened to me, then things would have gone a lot differently in my life, but I have learned that you cannot dwell on the past. In saying that, I also believe that I can have as much hatred in my heart for that son of a bitch and anyone like him that I want to and no one can stop me.

Posted by: Melissa | Apr 4, 2006 10:07:46 PM

amen

Posted by: min | Apr 27, 2006 12:01:32 AM

What's needed is a national child endangerment campaign. Make society aware that their closest friend, childs teacher, their own new or old boyfriend, their nice neighbor with the cookies who offers to watch the kids while you go to the store. These are the people most likely to molest kids. Adults need to be instructed that pedophilla is common!! These offenders are not abnormal at all generally, that's why they get by you! They simply were never properly informed and thereby not schooled in self control. Education is needed! Nationally! Let men know they can overcome by seeking help and make help available without prosecution if a man comes to counseling seeking help in self control issues! The ones in jail have learned and will think hard and long and hopefully feel the pain they caused and lead a changed life. It's the one on the street, on the net, watching the childrens gymnastic's show's, beauty contests and living a fantasy about it that they may act on! People need to question adults that have to much interest in children, let these persons know others are aware!Better to embarrass yourself, even lose a friend than risk a child! Education without fear, that is the answer! Crimminals are'nt counting on being caught! The stiffer sentences don't occur to them! Not the ones who act on impulse. I am not a proffesional or student. I am going on 11 years of dealing with a like problem and well familiarised with the many aspects of this ill and it's effects on all family involved. Families are so hurt and confussed; unable to see,thus many divided and are unable to allow anyone to have an oppinion except for ones that match their own. Educate! Befor it happens! Nothing new under the sun.

Posted by: Sue | Oct 22, 2006 5:50:39 PM

I HAVE A QUESTION OUT THERE FOR ANYONE WHO IS READING.
I JUST FOUND OUT THAT THE BROTHER OF AN EX-BOYFRIEND IS IN PRISON FOR 151 MONTHS FOR MOLESTING CHILDREN. HE MOLESTED HIS FIRST CHILD AT THE AGE OF 15 IN 1987. THERE WERE OTHER CASE IN 1991 & 1997. I WAS PREGNANT AND MOVED IN WITH MY THEN BOYFRIEND(HE WAS NOT THE FATHER)IN APRIL 1991 AT 6 MTHS PREG. HIS FAMILY DIDNT TELL ME ABOUT HIS PREVIOUS OFFENSE IN 1987. AFTER I HAD MY DAUGHTER IN JULY 1991, I LIVED WITH THE FAMILY UNTIL NOV 1991, AND THERE WERE A COUPLE OF OCCASIONS WERE THE BROTHER BABYSAT MY DAUGHTER FROM 1991-1993. I HAVE HOSPITAL RECORDS STATING SHE WAS MOLESTED IN 1993, BUT I THOUGHT IT WAS SOMEONE ELSE AT THE TIME WHO HAD WATCHED HER, EVEN THOUGH HIM AND HIS WIFE SWORE UP AND DOWN THAT HE DID'NT TOUCH HER. I HAVE NO PROOF THAT HE DID THIS TO HER, AND HE IS ALREADY IN PRISON. I AM WONDERING IF I CAN SUE THE FAMILY FOR KEEPING THE 1987 INCIDENT FROM ME, BECAUSE IF I HAD KNOWN ABOUT IT, I NEVER WOULD HAVE MOVED IN WITH THEM OR LEFT HER WITH HIM AT ANYTIME. CAN I SUE THEM FOR WITHHOLDING INFORMATION AND ENDANGERING MY CHILD?? THIS HAPPENED 15 YEARS AGO.

Posted by: tina | Nov 30, 2006 5:42:43 PM

I agree 100% with Daniel, he said everything I felt as i grew up and was molested by BOTH grandpas. I fought them off and eventually they both died by the time I was 16... so I was glad they died and never said anything to anyone, because when I tried to do so no-one believed me... but I still defended my self... now I'm going thru another dilemma ... with my own kids, even thou I spoke to them about with love and unpleasant body contact and sexual miss conduct by adults and even friends, or even the fact that could happened with a very close relative, even their DAD, was wrong and inappropriate and they were my best friends and could tell me anything they needed to. The are my best friends and they trust me... even with all that, I just found out they were sexually molested by THEIR OWN DAD!!! withing the last few years before I left him in November 2005, we left the country in December 2007 and now we reside in Puerto Rico. Because we were scared of him and he threaten many times to harm us and we were afraid of him. I thought I protected my girls from his physical abuse, because every time he would get mad at them for no reason I ALWAYS got in the way so he couldn't hurt them, and my girls loved me for it. But I didn't know he was sexually abusing them...I just found out about it because me and the girls were having a discution about sex and that's how ALL 3 OF THEM finally told me... to me it was a big pain in my heart because no matter how much I protected them, he still got to them in the worse possible way. It only take 2 minutes to do harm to anyone. And on their own words they explain how even playing games together he used it as an excuse to do harm to them. My girls are young and their ideas are not very clear yet, but they remember these episodes like it was yesterday, like I do when I was only 4 years old... my girls and I are coming back to the USA and already pressed charges with the local authorities were he resides... Sunday April 13 is when I found out. Same day I contacted the police, now we'll see how long before I have to come back to the US, to anyone who can give me advise please do so. My girls are mentally stable and understand that this is not their fault and are ready t opersue him and punish him not only for what he did but to protect other kids from him... HE GOES TO CHURCH EVERY SUNDAY AND GOES TO THE CHILDREN'S CLASSES, AND EVEN PLAYS WITH THEM... so now that I thougth about that I have to make a phone call and let them know thru the police what's going on. who knows how many other kids were exposed to his sick ass... i wish that part of the penalties they have to endure, castration was also included in so. my email is maritzam75@yahoo.com

Posted by: maritza | Apr 14, 2008 7:29:07 AM

I am just an adult today that was molested my men as a little girl and not one person listened.
I was molested over and over by my Uncle as a child, I told my parents then and they called me a lair ! Some years later my Aunt caught him with a 16 yr old and finally divorced him, I was only 9 yrs old when he started on me. God only knows how many others he messed with ! He has never paid for his sick perverted actions and still lives alone a sick an old man today. All stroked out and unable to move around much. My parents turned their backs on me as a child, I was abused over and over by different family members to my Mom's BF's and none of them ever answered for what they did !
But I live with it, I don't try to ponder on it, it is done and over, can't change what happened. God blessed me with 5 son's...no daughters. I think I understand why.
I just pray that people will wake up and listen to children when they tell them someone is messing with them rather than turning a blind eye.
Thanks......

Posted by: Sheila M McLaughlin | Sep 21, 2008 10:33:50 AM

Sorry, I am in school today studying Criminal Justice. Thanks :-)

Posted by: Sheila M McLaughlin | Sep 21, 2008 10:36:06 AM

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Posted by: | Oct 14, 2008 10:49:41 PM

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