Wednesday, September 9, 2009

NYT - Case Shows Limits of Sex Offender Alert Programs

I'm sure none of you are strangers to the horrifying case of Jaycee Dugard who was abducted from her home as a child and kept for 18 years in the backyard of a man who had prior convictions for rape and kidnapping. (click here for the back story)

Here is an article that uses this case to look at the sysem currently in place to monitor registered sex offenders. What happened to this woman never should have been allowed to happen and, in this case, more effective monitoring of a registered sex offender could have prevented or shortened her ordeal.

I think Richard Tewksbury makes an extremely important point, however, when he says in the article, "We've come to see these registeries as a panacea that is going to resolve all sex offender problems. That's just not realistic". The article goes on to detail that oftentimes those who are not compliant with the registration guidelines are more of a threat to society than those who are.

What I think the article fails to address is that the vast majority of children who are assaulted are perpetrated on by someone they know and trust who already has access to them, their household and those they care about. Sex offender registries, in these countless cases, do not protect the children.

But enough about what I think. What do you think?

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