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October 16, 2006

In the SL&P mailbag: a book on sexual predator laws

In the mail today I received a copy of a new book from by Eric Janus, entitled "Failure to Protect: America's Sexual Predator Laws and the Rise of the Preventive State," which seems especially timely in our post-Foley world.  (Are we post-Foley, or still just mid-Foley, these days?)  I then discovered that parts of this new book (and an abstract) are available here from SSRN.  Here is the start of the abstract:

Most crimes of sexual violence are committed by people known to the victim-acquaintances and family members.  Yet politicians and the media overemphasize predatory strangers when legislating against and reporting on sexual violence. In this book, Eric S. Janus goes far beyond sensational headlines to expose the reality of the laws designed to prevent sexual crimes.  He shows that "sexual predatory" laws, which have intense public and political support, are counterproductive. Janus contends that measures such as civil commitment and Megan's law, which are designed to restrain sex offenders before they commit another crime, are bad policy and do little to reduce sexual violence.  Further, these new laws make use of approaches such as preventative detention and actuarial profiling that violate important principles of liberty.

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October 16, 2006 at 03:42 PM | Permalink


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