Sex offenses are frightening and egregious crimes committed by the offenders. There has been legislations, enacted to apprehend, punish, track and monitor sexual offenders. In the effort to decrease the incidence of sexual crime in 1996, the Megans Law was enacted which allowed the public to access registry information, and led to the amendment of the Wetter ling Act, which allow the state to put, in public, information about convicted sex offenders (Bonnar-Kidd, 2010).
These legislations were formulated in the belief that the majority of the sex offenders will reoffend. In most cases, recidivism of the sexual offenders is not properly represented. The sex offender laws also assume that these criminals cannot be rehabilitated since there is no cure for pedophilia (MacLellan & Keri 2008). However, there is sufficient evidence that show most of the offenders who have gone through therapeutic interventions are able to control the offenders thinking pattern hence manage their sexual impulses. The laws aimed at reducing recidivism among the sexual offenders exposing them to multiple policies, community notification, registration, monitoring their location and actions. However, these policies have also led to numerous collateral consequences that have created an environment that inhibits the reintegration of the sex offenders to the community.
The implication of inability to successfully reintegrate these offenders back to the community to live a normal life is a recipe for recidivism. Sense of rejection by the community is not likely to help the offenders avoid re-offending (MacLellan & Keri 2008). However, will hold grudges against the community, hence punish them through more sexual offenses. The Megans law, which requires community notification, has created collateral consequences for the registered offenders and the community at large. When a parent is notified of the neighborhood sex offender, the fear that follows may cause the community to be hysterical and alienate them. The registered offenders could also have their rights violated by the community. The hysteria and panic is because of the community notification. The community reactions to the notification of the registered offenders have led to rather absurd proliferation where some states have created safe zones or community where registered offenders are not allowed.
There are states that have passed laws to ban registered sex offenders from living among. In addition, many registered sex offenders are now living a restricted life, they cannot loiter or acquire employment, which makes life harder for them, and as a result, they resent the community (Bonnar-Kidd, 2010). The Megans law instead of reducing recidivism and helping the offenders to be reintegrated to the community and change their ways, has only made life hard for the offenders, pushing them so hard to re-offend and go back to jail than live in a community where they are not accepted. Hence, reintegration to the community is not possible for the registered offenders.
Two Alternatives to Current Sex Offender Legislation for Managing Sex Offenders, and Why Each might be Effective.
Since sex offending is psychological problem, here proposed alternatives that could help manage sex offenders:
Recalling, or amendment to, the Megans law of sex offenders: it should amend the clauses that allow community notification, and restrict this to the security operators in the area. The law should also allow confidentiality to information of the offenders. The law enforcers should get notification, and information of the sex offenders, without involving the community.
Secondly, the law should make it compulsory for the sex offenders to seek therapeutic treatment and management. There is sufficient evidence, that indicate the success of this kind of treatment. Treatment coupled with reintegration to the community is likely to change the thinking pattern of the offenders, which would reduce incidence of recidivism.
A Conclusion Drawn about the Effectiveness of Sex Offender Legislation, as It Relates to Sex Offender Management.
It is challenging for the policy makes managing convicted sex offenders in the community. This crime evokes public outrage, fear, and anxiety. The policy makers should be able to balance public perception and public safety. There are common misconceptions that would interfere with the offenders treatment and reintegration into the community (MacLellan & Keri 2008). This misconception also leads to rushing enactment of laws that are ineffective and misguided. The public is made to believe that there are very high recidivism rates for the sexual offenders and that the cognitive treatment is not effective. In addition, there are policies that could promote a false sense of security for the community (Bonnar-Kidd, 2010). Therefore, close supervision of higher risk sex offenders is important as a component of effective management strategy. However, the lows that alienate the offenders by restricting them from the urban, parks, and suburbs, which mean it, would be difficult to monitor them.
For effective management of the sex offenders, the policies should focus on stopping the offenders from committing more crime. As indicated in the study, most of the policies with the widest public support may increase the likelihood of reoffending. Alienating the offenders or isolating them will not help them, but instead will deny them access to housing and employment, which means they might resort to other means, which include robbery and other forms of violence.
Bonnar-Kidd.K, (2010).Sexual offender laws and prevention of sexual violence or Recidivism. Am J Public Health.March; 100(3): 412419.
MacLellan, T and Keri. B.C, (2008). Managing convicted sex offenders in the community. Justice and Public Safety Program.NGA.202/624-7854
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