September 6, 2013
Shana Rowan: Sex offender laws target wrong people
"While well-intentioned, a focus on previous sex offenses ignores the fact that virtually every perpetrator convicted of a high-profile murder against a child shared something else: a lengthy criminal rap sheet of mostly non-sexual convictions.
No sex offender law — not a mandatory sentence, public registration, or banishment from schools and parks — will prevent sex crimes if they target the wrong people. Treating every offender as a future child rapist and killer is counter-productive.
People who have been offense-free for years, and have families and children of their own, are being forced out of their homes, into fields and under bridges, while those who pose the greatest risk are, as the Sun Sentinel put it, "set free to rape and molest again."
If we as community members cannot find the maturity or courage to have an intelligent conversation about sexual violence, we will have no one to blame but ourselves when your paper runs the same story next year."
September 6, 2013
Other Views: Reform sex-offender registry
"When sex offender registries were created, the World Wide Web was booming. It offered promise as a tool for the public to track criminals who had committed sexual crimes against children. Parents were told how to log on to a state website for registered sexual offenders. There, with the click of a mouse, they could find a map of their community with red arrows indicating where sex offenders lived.
... Extensive research has been conducted on the types of sexual offenders who will repeat their crimes, and the frequency — or more often, infrequency — that it happens.
A study by the state of Michigan showed that an average of just 3.5 percent of registered sex offenders repeat their crimes. The other 96.5 percent do not."