In view of the Network’s ongoing work to respond to the extraordinary challenge of housing sex offenders, I wanted to share The New York Times’ recent article by Roger Lancaster on the failed strategy around sex offenders overall.
Only a tiny proportion of sex crimes are committed by repeat offenders, which suggests that current laws are misdirected and ineffective. Indeed, a federally financed study of New Jersey’s registration and notification procedures found that sex offense rates were already falling before the implementation of Megan’s Law. The study also found no discernible impact on recidivism and concluded that the growing costs of the program might not be justifiable…
Digital scarlet letters, electronic tethering and practices of banishment have relegated a growing number of people to the logic of “social death,” a term introduced by the sociologist Orlando Patterson, in the context of slavery, to describe permanent dishonor and exclusion from the wider moral community. The creation of a pariah class of unemployable, uprooted criminal outcasts has drawn attention from human rights activists; even The Economist has decried our sex offender laws as harsh and ineffective.
Click here to read the entire article.