Sex offenders aren't allowed to live in certain areas.
They aren't allowed to go to certain places. They have to register themselves and follow every protocol and rule "to a T" in order to protect themselves from further criminal punishment. They may have to wear GPS trackers. These people are highly restricted and monitored. Here's an example of the issues we are talking about here: a year-old in was charged with having consensual sex with an underage girl he was dating. He served two years of probation, and then had to register as a sex offender.
He then was charged with criminal conduct a decade later -- for using social media to discuss a parking ticket. This happened in North Carolina, where the law states that it is a felony for a registered sex offender to use "commercial social networking website that the person 'knows' does not restrict usage to legal adults. This is too extreme and limiting, and though he may have violated the literal word of the law, the year-old certainly didn't violate the spirit of the law.
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Barriers to reentry, such as employment and housing difficulties, are heightened when examining experiences of RSOs. This label prohibits RSOs from having access to suitable employment and housing options Evans and Cubellis, Offenders who are under community supervision are almost always required to obtain employment. It is a basic necessity for all to have shelter, which is also often a mandated requirement of community supervision. Housing options for RSOs typically include homeless shelters, due to areas that fall within the address restriction guidelines being out of reach financially Terry, ; Socia, Furthermore, housing that is attainable by RSOs is commonly in disrepair and presents deplorable living conditions Dum et al.
Compounding the issue of reintegration is the stigmatization faced by RSOs. Registration and community notification laws have made the public more aware of RSOs, often grouping them together as being violent and dangerous, regardless of their individual convictions or risk levels Evans and Cubellis, RSOs experience stigmatization in every aspect of their lives.
The public notification labels them to employers and neighbors, and in turn, family and friends are given a secondary label if they still associate with the RSO Evans and Cubellis, The inability of some to cope with this label only adds to the challenges for RSOs in the community. This reluctance to listen to empirical knowledge needs to be addressed by researchers and policy makers alike. Public safety for RSOs, victims, and community members is affected by a traditional reluctance to evaluate what really works.
US DOJ: Sex offenders have low recidivism rates | Lindsey & Ferry, P.A.
There have been a number of recent studies conducted that further this body of knowledge on RSOs, their risk levels, recidivism, and stigmatization. The findings indicated that the process is successfully identifying lower-risk offenders not in need of the second phase of review or civil management, as well as accurately identifying higher-risk offenders.
The total number of offenders that were rearrested for a sexual offense after their civil management review was , 3. One of the tools utilized for the SOMTA review is the StaticR risk assessment Sandler and Freeman, , which is one of many utilized in the field of sex offender risk screening.
However, when assessing the MnSOST-4, recidivism was measured by reconviction for a sexual offense within four years of release from prison and excluded hands-off offenses such as child pornography Sandler and Freeman, ; Duwe, He found that 2. Within this subset, there were individuals who were deemed to be the highest risk offenders.
In New York, the StaticR in conjunction with other assessments is working well to identify high-risk offenders. In Minnesota, the MnSOST-4 is doing well assisting with the identification of risk levels for sex offenders and involuntary civil commitment. The key component to any legislative mandate in regard to sex offenders is its ability to maintain public safety, but also it should aim to aid the offenders it targets.
As shown by Sandler and Freeman and Duwe , risk assessments used with formalized review processes have been beneficial in identifying high-risk offenders, recommending treatment plans, and providing constitutionally compliant plans for civil commitment if necessary, as outlined in Kansas v.
Crane and Kansas v. Hendricks Sandler and Freeman, Often though, these policies do little to aid the offenders themselves, because of the public perception about their crimes. Manchak and Fisher conducted an exploratory study that aimed to identify factors that influence support for sex offender policy.
Their study involved surveying undergraduate and graduate students at a Midwestern university. The participants were randomly assigned to eight vignettes, but each answered the same survey questions. Their results showed that participants who held a belief that existing sex offender policies enhance public safety goals were less likely to believe that these policies caused harm to the sex offenders. The participants who held this belief were also more likely to support sex offender policy generally.
RSOs are publicly labeled and stigmatized by registration and community notification laws Evans and Cubellis, Legislators are often reluctant to propose changes to current sex offender policies as a result of their constituent bases showing a strong support for these policies Manchak and Fischer, Despite their known ineffectiveness, legislators will do what needs to be done to maintain their votes rather than supporting what is empirically sound. Looking forward, more needs to be done to educate the public on the realities of current sex offender policies.
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