Rethinking Sex Offender Branding
The popular modern response to sex offenders was once applied to lepers: shun them, isolate them, treat them as outcasts. States and municipalities increasingly require the identities and photographs of sex offenders to be posted on registries that are available on the internet. Sex offenders are often required to report to local law enforcement agencies when they move, and the agencies notify their neighbors that an offender resides in the neighborhood. The newest laws prohibit offenders from living within 1,000 feet of schools or parks, often forcing offenders to live outside of cities while depriving them of job opportunities.
These laws effectively cripple an offender's rehabilitative goal of becoming a productive member of society. Are they worth it? New research suggests they aren't.
"I would rather have someone who has committed a sex offense be going to work every day, come home tired, have a sense of well-being that comes from having a regular paycheck and a safe home, as opposed to having a sex offender who has a lot of free time on his hands," said Richard Hamill, president of the New York State Alliance of Sex Offender Service Providers. "You tell me: Who is at a greater risk of reoffending?"
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