Juvenile Sex Offenders

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Axia College of University of Phoenix
Dawn French
Checkpoint: Rough Draft of the Research Paper
Com 220
July 7, 2010
Checkpoint: Rough Draft of the Research Paper 2

Juvenile sex offenders are frequently treated in the same manner as their adult counterparts with regards to punishment and sex offender registering. “Nationally, juvenile sex offenders make up 20% of all individuals charged with sexual offenses (McGinnis, 2006).” Placing a sex offender label on a juvenile may unjustifiably put restrictions on his or her opportunities in adulthood so it is for this reason that cases involving juvenile sex offenders should be prosecuted cautiously. The term “sex offender” is a broad term that should be reassessed. Should an individual convicted of a violent rape be treated in the same manner as a 10 year-old child who exposes himself or herself to another child, unaware of the seriousness of his or her actions? Should both of these offenses be considered sex crimes? It is a requirement in some states that the offender in both of these cases register as a sex offender. These two scenarios are entirely different and to include both of the offenders in one category is unjust. What is the meaning of the term “sex offender”? A “generic term for all persons convicted of crimes involving sex, including rape, molestation, sexual harassment and pornography production or distribution” is the definition for the term “sex offender” according to The Free Dictionary (2010). This is a universal term that places offenders of numerous types of crimes into one group. Assigning levels of offenses would be a more realistic way of dealing with this universal term of “sex offender”. If an individual (such as a child exposing himself or herself to another child) commits a “minor” sex offense, he or she would be labeled as just an “offender” where if someone commits a violent and horrific crime (such as rape) “sex offender” would Checkpoint: Rough Draft of the Research Paper 3

continue to be the label. Most individuals hear the term “sex offender” and negative thoughts abound. Knowing that not all sex offenses are equal in their severity is the first step in making sure that all offenders are not negatively affected by the label placed upon them. What crimes are committed by sex offenders? Most people are aware of the crimes discussed in the definition above, but there are other crimes. Some of the less known sex crimes include minors engaging in consensual sex, handing out offensive materials and viewing or distributing internet pornography. These crimes can vary significantly, yet each individual who is convicted of such a crime is branded as a “sex offender.” Most individuals have a distorted view of what a sex offender looks or acts like, but sex offenders are as different as their crimes. The figures, officially, look like this: “the majority of sex offenders in the Federal Probation and Pretrial Services System (FPPSS) are male (95.5 percent), non-Hispanic (90.3 percent), U.S. citizens (96.4 percent), and white (64.3 percent)” (Johnson, 2006, para. 6). According to Freeman and Longo (2009) “currently, it is estimated that adolescents (ages 13 to 17) account for up to one-fifth of all rapes and one half of all cases of child molestation committed each year.” Figure A, below, shows the most common crimes committed by juveniles.

Checkpoint: Rough Draft of the Research Paper 4

Figure A
How is he or she punished once an individual is convicted of a sex crime? There are two types of punishment, ones that the law enforcement community enforces and punishments the community endorses. A convicted sex offender will most likely spend some time in jail or prison. The amount of time and the place of sentencing are based on the offense. One who is convicted of a violent rape will spend considerably more time behind bars than someone who has...
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