Tuesday, September 10, 2013

myths and misconceptions

The Oregon Sexual Assault Task Force deconstructs myths and misconceptions about sex offenders. Let me pull out a few interesting bits.
A “one size fits all” approach does not contribute to community safety, since the most dangerous offenders will often be supervised the same as low risk offenders.
With over 750,000 sex offenders on registries in the United States, it should be obvious that some are dangerous and some are not.
A small percentage of those who offend children would be considered “pedophiles” and would be described as having a sexual preference for undeveloped bodies without secondary sexual characteristics. [Emphasis mine.]
Calling all sex offenders whose offenses involved children "pedophiles" makes as much sense as calling all sex offenders, well, "sex offenders". All sex offenders are not the same. Their crimes are different, their motivations are different.
It is estimated that in the United States, juveniles account for up to one fifth of all rapes and up to one half of all cases of child molestation committed each year.
That adds up to a lot of children on the sex offender registry. You know...the registry intended to protect children.
For child abuse victims, 60% of boys and 80% of girls were assaulted by a family member or acquaintance. 
So, those strangers on the registry that worry you? They aren't the ones you should worry about.
When all sex offenders are managed the same, resources are shared and the most dangerous offenders may be supervised the same as less dangerous offenders. 
Pretending that all sex offenders are dangerous means we make it possible for the dangerous ones to disappear into the crowd.
Studies show that comparing sex offenders sentenced to prison versus community sentences, the recidivism rate was 7% higher for prisoners compared to those offenders kept in the community. Additionally, longer prison terms also increased risk upon release. 
Offenders released from prison have a more difficult time returning to the community than those who never were forced out of the community. Makes sense to me. Returning to the community as a sex offender makes it very difficult to find a job and, in some locations, very difficult to find a place to live. Homeless and unemployed sex offenders...is that really what we want?
Even though harsh penalties for sex offenders are more common responses than treatment, studies show that community (cognitive/behavioral) treatment decreased risk more than prison treatment and more than only supervision/management of sex offenders.
Are legislators are more interested in looking tough than being effective?

Read the whole thing. The word "humane" came to mind.

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