October 16, 2013
Sex Offender Registry
Sexual violence, especially involving small children, is a horrible crime and the worst nightmare of every parent. While every personal story of such violations is heart-breaking, it is important to examine how the entire American public is affected by inconsistent political action in defining sexual offences. Hence, in order to approach the dilemma that faces many individuals about what defines a sexual offender, it is essential that we examine the current sex offender law definitions and the reform needed to resolve the challenges of proper sex offender classification. Sex offender laws, also known as ‘Megan’s laws’ were designed to protect communities from sex offenses by helping police monitor past offenders. Under the current registration laws, offenders must register with law enforcement, providing their name, home address, place of employment, a current photograph, and other personal information. Following the community notification laws, the police make this information accessible to the public, typically via the Internet in which it provides the parents the information whether a child- molester lives nearby (“Unjust” 654-655). Although well intended, a decade and a half since Megan’s laws were passed, the sex offender registry list have grown to become self-defeating, as it includes minor and non-violent offenders alongside with rapists and pedophiles. In practice, the sex offender registry contains a very generic categorization of people by their crimes, so often inconsequential lawbreakers are considered to be a danger to society, even when there is clear evidence that they are not. While sex offender registry laws vary from state to state, many basically say that registries should include minors who had consensual sex with their high school partners, or individuals who distributed unclothed photos of themselves to their peers, a ‘phenomenon’ also known as sexting (Lancaster). Furthermore,...
Cited: “America’s Unjust Sex Laws”. Practical argument: A Text and Anthology. Ed. Laurie G. Kirszrer and Stephan R. Mandel. 2nd ed. Boston: Bedford/St. Martin’s, 2004. 654-656. Print.
Lancaster, N. Roger. “Panic Does Not Make for Good Policy.” New York Times. New York Times. 20 Feb. 2011. Web. 11 Oct. 2013.
Yoder, Steve. "Life on The List: State Sex-Offender Registries Were Created to Protect the Public, But There 's no Evidence That They Do--Instead They are Creating a Second Set of Victims." The American Prospect. 22.4 (2011): 29. Academic OneFile. Web. 11 Oct. 2013.
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