Sex Offender Registry

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Don’t Be Ignorant: Educate Yourself
Dana Harmel
SOC 120 Introduction to Ethics & Social Responsibility
Professor York
January 21, 2012

The youngest person that can be place on the National Sex Offender Registry is age 6. Yes, a kindergarten and be found to be a sexual predator as society puts it. Individuals on the registry are all treated equal by the public no matter the details of their actual crime. Even though the sex offender registry is a positive tool in the protection of society, the registry needs to be evaluated because sexual assault is not the only form of child abuse, non-violent offenders are on the registry, and children are now required to register as offenders. The ethical problem that society needs to look at is the sex offender registry. The registry is a national registry for people who have committed sex crimes against another human being. The first registry was in California in 1947 however, the most widely known act was not until 1994 (the Jacob Wetterling Act). Megan’s Law proceeded that in 1996 and finally 2007 the Adam Walsh Child Protection and Safety Act (Biance, 2009). Now all states have a registry to comply with these laws and regulations. Although underlined meaning of these laws come from a good place, to protect our children and adults from sexual assault they have taken it to the extreme and gotten off the beaten path. Even Patty Wetterling the mother of Jacob had openly criticized the evolution of registry. Her story is heart wrenching and still she can recognized that something needs to change. An individual that has one picture of a naked child, the person that urinates in public, and the man that is 19 dating a 16yr old, the person that pays a prostitute for sex, and the minor crimes go on and on. All of these acts will land you on the registry for 15 or 25 years and possibly life. I think a deontology is a way to look at a way to resolve this issue. Deontology comes from the Greek deon, which means “duty,” deontology focuses on what we are obligated to do as rational moral agents (Mosser, 2010). It is particularly important to see that the deontologist does not say that actions do not have consequences; rather, the deontologist insists that actions should not be evaluated on the basis of the action’s consequences (Mosser, 2010). This approach to me is saying look at each individual and what they actually did in the realm of a sexual offence and decide what the best way to handle this situation is. All sexual acts need to have consequences however there are so many varying degrees and situations that need to be looked at. The numbers required to register grow exponentially — including juveniles and many whose offenses were committed decades ago when they were considered rather minor transgressions. Together with their spouses, children and parents, registered sex offenders constitute a population larger than most large U.S. cities. There are nearly 700,000 registered sex offenders (Shannon, 2007). Here is the story of “R”. He was abused as a child from both his father and step mother. He was taken from his parents on two different occasions and put into foster care and was returned both times to his abusers. He was burned, beaten, hog tied and many other physical acts along with mental abuse of telling his how worthless he is. He was also neglected by not being given ample clothes or food, and sometimes shelter. He had a brother and a sister that were not abused. He had no friends and by the time he was in middle school he thought of ways to die. Between the abuse at home and the bullying at school life was too much. He did not end his life and when he was 17 he left his father’s home after finding his birth mother. However “R” was not mentally 17 and when he was 19 he still was not of his age and began dating a younger girl. At this time it was not widely know how much of a crime it was to date younger girls. The girl was 15 years old and the girl’s...
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