Homeless, Homeless, Moonlight Sleeping in a Midnight Chat Room

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Who could have predicted it? A draconian anti-sex offender law pushed by (among others) Bill O'Reilly is making sex offenders even more creepy.

A year ago, 70 pecent of California voters approved Jessica's Law, which bars registered sex offenders from living within 2,000 feet of a school or a park where children gather. That leaves few places where offenders can live legally. And now, hundreds of sex offenders are declaring themselves homeless—whether or not they really are. And that's making it difficult for the state to track them.

I'm confused: Did lawmakers (and voters) really think that by treating these people more and more like criminals they'd become less criminal?

Kerry Howley looked at the folly of erogenous zoning in 2006.

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  1. The state should round ’em all up and shoot them all.

  2. No Steven, downing them or burning them at the stake would be much more appropriate for the kind of mindset this crap represents.

  3. OH!OH! OH! and have gawd sort ’em out?

    What absolutely interesting policy! You must be an inner city public school administrator!

  4. I am still confused as to how the government can continue to punish someone who has served their judge-appointed sentence.

    I guess this applies to felons not being allowed to own firearms, too.

  5. (was addressing Steven – sorry for confusion – and John stated it even better)

  6. No Steven, downing them or burning them at the stake would be much more appropriate for the kind of mindset this crap represents.

    I agree, they deserve it, thougth I think you are being sarcastic. I guess you don’t have children, otherwise you would want them protected from dangerous individuals like these. In my opinion, this is a sensible law that will prevent recividism.

  7. In my opinion, this is a sensible law that will prevent recividism.

    If you are afraid of recidivism, jail them forever or institutionalize them. Don’t make a mockery of the justice system (HA) by saying “you get 5 years” and then perpetually hounding them even after they serve the time.

    Remember, they are doing it to sex offenders now. Next, maybe drug offenders? You get busted with that joint, get put on the drug offender list, and can’t go within 2000 yards of a school. Have fun on your property in Wyoming.

  8. A big problem is the bar for being a sex offender is now so low even childish butt slapping can put you on a list.This is happening in many areas of law.Look at DUI for an example or the war on drugs.It’s almost impossible to live your life and not break a law,be it smoking pot,drinking a beer or not mowing your lawn .Even buying cold meds can be a felony.

  9. It needs to be said:

    Won’t someone think of the children? You don’t HATE children, do you?

  10. Me and Steven is goin’ after them, right after we finish roundin’ up them illegals.

  11. Right, Steve, except for the fact that the overwhelming majority of registered sex offenders aren’t pedophiles.

    In some locations if you get arrested for public fucking urination you run the risk of forcing to register as a sex offender, if the cop decides to cite you for indecent exposure too.

    “Oh noes! Oh Lordy Lordy! Wes mustes protect the chillren from…that guy who took a piss on the side of the road because he really had to go.”

  12. I guess you don’t have children, otherwise you would want them protected from dangerous individuals like these.

    Ugh. Enough already. Actually, those of us who don’t have children are BETTER equipped to see the big picture rationally and judiciously. We’re not all bound up in the weird hyper-emotional thing that a lot of you people decide to embrace once you have a kid around.

  13. Isn’t Steven making rather large assumption here? He seems to be assuming that all the offenders on the list are pedophiles.

  14. Hey, cool. You have bikini girl ads now where they’re not wearing conservative t-shirts or even holding up a copy of reason. They’re just selling bikinis!

    Are they sure they have the right demographic?

  15. This needs to be said…I have a hard time equating 1st offense child molestation (and yes, I know this thread is dealing with the more general label of “sex offender”) with murder. Yet every time I end up in a discussion about this, it’s seems like the vast majority wants first offenders locked up for life. Am I the only one who thinks that people are way too irrational about this? Or is it me?

  16. Steven has got to be trolling, doesn’t he?
    If he’s for real, his brand of perversion poses far more potential danger to my four kids, ages 2 through 19, than do sex offenders.
    Maybe we need zoning to force him to live under a bridge.

  17. Steven = Juanita, probably.

    Hay – not under the bridge. URKOBOLD owns most underpass lodging options.

  18. A big problem is the bar for being a sex offender is now so low even childish butt slapping can put you on a list.

    That is sexual harrassment.

    This is happening in many areas of law.

    Perhaps.

    Look at DUI for an example or the war on drugs.
    It’s almost impossible to live your life and not break a law,be it smoking pot,drinking a beer or not mowing your lawn.

    Don’t smoke pot, it is ILLEGAL. Don’t drink and drive. etc… Know the law and obey it and you will have no problem. Ignorance of the law is no excuse.

    Even buying cold meds can be a felony.

    Make sure you know the law and stay within the daily, weekly and monthly limits.

  19. “…..my four kids, ages 2 through 19,…..

    19? WTF?

    Do you still cut his\her meat for him\her Cal?

  20. President Giuliani, Attorney General Kerik, and Head of Homeland Security Arpaio have will save you and your precious little children from the boogeyman.

  21. have

  22. Head of Homeland Security Arpaio

    Knock it off with the scary stuff, Halloween is over…

  23. Steven,3 boys at a junior high were arrested and charged as sex offenders for butt slapping.Drinking and driving is not illegal,driving drunk is.The definition has been change from .15 to .12 to .10 to .08 and now MADD and their allies are trying to pass .05 or lower.As for pot,I have to ask why is it banned?Just because a law is passed dose not make it proper.Take Jim Crow laws as an example.

  24. I am still confused as to how the government can continue to punish someone who has served their judge-appointed sentence.

    I guess this applies to felons not being allowed to own firearms, too.

    Episiarch, Alabama, Delaware, Florida, Iowa, Kentucky, Mississippi, Nevada, New Mexico, Virginia and Wyoming permanently prohibit voting rights for felons.

    We appear to have given up on rehabilitation. Somebody, anybody, please explain how this jibes with this “we are a Christian nation” nonsense I keep hearing.

  25. Just because a law is passed dose not make it proper.Take Jim Crow laws as an example.

    Agreed.

  26. Actually, the 19-year-old is now learning to cut his own meat at THE Ohio State University. I think it’ll be his minor.

  27. Actually, the 19-year-old is now learning to cut his own meat at THE Ohio State University. I think it’ll be his minor.

    Offense, defense or special teams?

  28. agree w/ episiarch; the conventional wisdom seems to be that these people are incurably dangerous to society and nobody wants them anywhere near; why not make the sentence for a sex-offense conviction like sexual assault or manifest pedophilia mandatory life in prison w/o the possibility of parole, and with the possibility of life in a high-security institution? if people had the stomach to match their authoritarian impulses, they’d be honest and advocate swift death sentences for these crimes and the right for posses to ‘deal with’ anyone suspected of such a crime. There would also be no problem of a shortage in military personnel.

    What was the recidivism rate for sex offenders like, prior to the current post-release tracking/restriction laws?

  29. JsubD:
    Highly recruited engineer/tenor in #1 ranked OSU glee club. Just pray they don’t have to sing against Florida in the finals.

  30. J sub D,

    Your info is out of date. Currently, the two states with permanent and total disenfranchisement are Kentucky and Virginia.

    Link to 2007 ACLU map.

  31. I am still confused as to how the government can continue to punish someone who has served their judge-appointed sentence.

    I don’t think this is automatically out-of-bounds. You have the incarceration portion, determined by the sentencing judge, then you have the other part, determined by the people (via the legislatures). The retroactive application of these laws is more problematic than their existence, IMO. Who says punishment has to be restricted to fines and time served?

    Which is not to say that things aren’t getting out of hand. Most states have the ability to look up registered offenders online, which is interesting, but they only give you the charge, not the context. “Indecency with a minor” covers a pretty broad area, ranging from the 40-year old perv fondling unhappy 3rd graders six months ago to the 18 year old caught gettting a consensual hand-job by the deputy sheriff’s 16 year old daughter 10 years ago. Big difference there, you know?

  32. What was the recidivism rate for sex offenders like, prior to the current post-release tracking/restriction laws?

    Dunno, but I’ll wager that it hasn’t gone down any with these new restrictions. It doesn’t have to work, it just has to make the Moms feel better.

  33. “Actually, the 19-year-old is now learning to cut his own meat at THE Ohio State University”

    Sorry. Couldn’t get into a decent Community College?

  34. Sorry. Couldn’t get into a decent Community College?

    Yeah, Appalachian State was all booked up.

  35. de stijl, Thanks, for the update. Looking at the ACLU map you so graciously provided, 8 states prohibit voting for SOME felons and the 2 you cited prohibit all felons from voting. Let’s not quibble here. 😉

  36. Highly recruited engineer/tenor in #1 ranked OSU glee club. Just pray they don’t have to sing against Florida in the finals.

    You display justifiable pride, Steve S. I don’t blame you a bit.

  37. I guess you don’t have children, otherwise you would want them protected from dangerous individuals like these.

    I teach my kids to hunt down brainless trolls. And they eat what they kill.

  38. Check out all these children ruined by these very laws!

    04 years old
    http://sexoffenderissues.blogspot.com/search/label/04YearsOld

    05 years old
    http://sexoffenderissues.blogspot.com/search/label/05YearsOld

    08 years old
    http://sexoffenderissues.blogspot.com/search/label/08YearsOld

    09 years old
    http://sexoffenderissues.blogspot.com/search/label/09YearsOld

    10 years old
    http://sexoffenderissues.blogspot.com/search/label/10YearsOld

    11 years old
    http://sexoffenderissues.blogspot.com/search/label/11YearsOld

    12 years old
    http://sexoffenderissues.blogspot.com/search/label/12YearsOld

    13 years old
    http://sexoffenderissues.blogspot.com/search/label/13YearsOld

    14 years old
    http://sexoffenderissues.blogspot.com/search/label/14YearsOld

    15 years old
    http://sexoffenderissues.blogspot.com/search/label/15YearsOld

    16 years old
    http://sexoffenderissues.blogspot.com/search/label/16YearsOld

    17 years old
    http://sexoffenderissues.blogspot.com/search/label/17YearsOld

    18 years old
    http://sexoffenderissues.blogspot.com/search/label/18YearsOld

    And these:
    http://sexoffenderissues.blogspot.com/2007/02/young-lives-destroyed.html
    http://sexoffenderissues.blogspot.com/2007/04/war-on-toddlerism.html
    http://sexoffenderissues.blogspot.com/2007/03/8-year-old-charged-for-sexual-conduct.html
    http://sexoffenderissues.blogspot.com/2007/03/young-boy-faces-rape-allegation.html
    http://sexoffenderissues.blogspot.com/2007/03/evil-in-usa.html
    http://sexoffenderissues.blogspot.com/2007/02/sexually-aggressive-children.html
    http://sexoffenderissues.blogspot.com/2007/02/underage-sex-authorities-grapple-with.html

  39. One of the saddest things about this kind of thinking is that it actually hurts children. Parents spend so much time thinking about that “creepy guy down the street” that they don’t notice that Mom’s co-worker who babysits the kids, or Uncle Bob, are molesting their daughter. Something on the order of 95% of molestations are by friends and family members, yet we spend all this energy looking at the “Herbert” characters from Family Guy (excellent use of his picture here).

  40. We appear to have given up on rehabilitation. Somebody, anybody, please explain how this jibes with this “we are a Christian nation” nonsense I keep hearing.

    A great many of the people who would tell you that this is a “Christian nation” believe in interring people indefinitely in a burning lake for a single trivial offense. These people are just good Christians trying to bring us hell on earth.

  41. Laws based on emotion, myths and lies make for very poor laws.
    My biggest concern is that when society denies constitutional rights to just ONE individual, they deny them to ALL.

    I’m a mother and grand mother. If my children were in lover’s lane and most have been there, and they are seen and someone is offended, then they are sex offenders. If one should be seen peeing in the woods and someone seen them, they are sex offenders.

    There are Mike NiFong’s in just about every county, state and federal courthouse in this country who could care less about the individual and more about another notch in his/her belt to get yet another sex offender conviction.

    If you don’t have $25,000 or more to defend yourself. You WILL be pressured for a lessor sentence and your public defender will not defend you.

    We need to be”SMART ON CRIME”

    The backlash to these Residency Laws for sexual offenders are hurting the entire country. Passing laws based on media hype and fear has done little or nothing to protect even one child.
    Getting ‘tough or crime’ sounds good and may get votes. However that approach has snowballed until every law maker has to ‘out tough’ the next law maker until we have draconian laws that have just the opposite effect than what is desired.
    Law makers need to change their position to get “SMART ON CRIME,” as opposed to out toughing one another.
    Society is catching on to the fact that it has been duped with false statistics on recidivism and basically every aspect concerning a sexual offense. The John Coueys of the world are a very small fraction of the equation. 95% of all new sex crimes are committed by individuals who are not on any type of registry. They have yet to commit a crime or not yet been caught. I believe, for those on the registries, there needs to be a ‘SMART’ answer. The registries themselves need to be in the hands of police only with the exception of that minority who is known as a true predator and pedophile. Who are they.? Well, the law makers need REAL experts to assist in making these decisions. John Walsh and his organization are not even close to qualify.
    “SMART ON CRIME” v “TOUGH ON CRIME.” I’ll go with SMART every time. Then we can get back to being a nation and a state that grants an opportunity to every individual to rehabilitation. This entire nation that I am so proud of has gone down a very slippery slope.

    Linda

  42. I find it ironic that NON sexoffenders commit MORE sex crimes when released from parole than paroled sex offenders.

    News & Noteworthy: Articles Concerning Sex Offender Issues: Charts Library
    2006 News & Noteworthy
    Who will commit more new sex offenses within 3-years of being paroled, sex offenders -OR- non-sex offenders? Non sex offenders commit more new sex offenses when paroled!
    Released (Paroled) Offender Type Paroled ReArrested for
    New Sex Offense %/# of New Sex
    Offenses by Parolees Convicted of
    New Sex Offense
    9,691 Sex Offenders 5.3% (517) 13% (1 every 2 days) 3.5% (339)
    262,420 Non-Sex Offenders 1.3% (3,328) 87% (3 per day) 83% (2,179)
    272,111 All Offenders 1.4% (3,845) 100%
    Based upon (Pub 2003): Recidivism of Sex Offenders Released from Prison in 1994. (NCJ 198281).

  43. What was the recidivism rate for sex offenders like, prior to the current post-release tracking/restriction laws?

    Lower than almost all other catagories of crime.

    http://www.ojp.usdoj.gov/bjs/crimoff.htm#recidivism

    And further halved by treatment. If you’re going to keep people locked up, it makes more sense to keep people in prison who have been convicted of some form of property theft, since the recidivism rate is essentially 75%.

  44. Those are interesting articles Zman. It is a bit off topic but they really point to one of the underlying problems in this whole issue; the moronic idea of the teenager. From the dawn of time, you were either a child or an adult. You hit a certain age, usually just after puberty and you were deemed, sometimes by a ritual like a Bat Mitzva or Confirmation, and that was it. You were an adult. You could get married, you were expected to get a job and start earning your keep. Sometime after World War II we developed this idea that you could be in between an adult and a child for years. In this state you get some privileges but not all and you aren’t really expected to do much beyond spend your parents money.

    This system has created enormous problems. The biggest problem is that we live in denial of the reality that people after the age of puberty are no longer children and are sexual creatures. No one likes to think of their 14 year old that way, but the fact is for most of history she would be getting married and starting family by that age. Considering that fact, it seems awfully stupid to claim that she can’t legally consent to sex. It is even more stupid when you consider Romeo and Juliet exceptions. If a 14 year old cannot consent to sex, why then is it any less rape for a 16 year old to have sex with her than it is for a 30 year old to have sex with her? It may be that the 30 year old is more culpable than the 16 year old because he is an adult, but the girl can’t consent to either one.

    I think we need to set an age of consent, probably around 14 or 15 and leave it at that. Figure out an age where someone is an adult and treat them as such and stop pretending that there are levels of childhood or that children will be interested in sex when we decide they should be. If we did that, we would have fewer people on these lists and the ones who are would be the real preditors and not just 16 year olds who got blowjobs.

  45. This needs to be said…I have a hard time equating 1st offense child molestation (and yes, I know this thread is dealing with the more general label of “sex offender”) with murder. Yet every time I end up in a discussion about this, it’s seems like the vast majority wants first offenders locked up for life. Am I the only one who thinks that people are way too irrational about this? Or is it me?

    There was a reason article on this subject in the past year or so. The conclusion of one researcher who has looked at it, if I remember correctly, was that 9/10ths of sex offenses committed on children were non-traumatic. Children simply don’t divide touch into sexual and nonsexual touch the way that adults do – say, the difference between somebody grabbing your crotch and patting your back. Obviously, there are instances of horrific trauma, but Uncle Joey touching your peepee is usually not one of them.

  46. Sex Offender Laws May Do More Harm Than Good

    http://www.hrw.org/

    The Adam Walsh Act

    The federal Adam Walsh Act, passed in 2006, will exacerbate the problems with state sex offender laws. It forces states to either dramatically increase the scope and duration of registration and community notification restrictions – including requiring states to register youths as young as 14 – or lose some federal law enforcement grant money. Compliance with the Adam Walsh Act will preclude states from adopting more carefully calibrated and cost-effective registration and community notification policies. At least some states are debating whether the costs of complying with the law outweigh the benefits. Human Rights Watch urges reform of the Adam Walsh Act.

    Listen to Patty Wetterling:

    http://hrw.org/audio/2007/english/us09/usdom16819.htm

  47. States Aim To Stop Sex Offenders: Will New laws Keep Children Safe?
    Fall/Winter 2006 Lori Robertson – The Children’s Beat 4 Pages; 907KB
    Nancy Sabin is the Executive Director of the Jacob Wetterling Foundation, an organization founded by the parents of Minnesota boy who was kidnapped when he was 11 years old and has never been found. ‘Jacob’s Law.’ a 1997 federal act mandating greater registration requirements for sex offenders, is among the foundation’s legislative accomplishments. But Sabin criticizes the narrow focus of the recent spat of laws. ‘If your charged and convicted, that represents 10% of the (sex) crimes,’ She say’s explaining that the largest groups of offenders are those who are unknown (graph below) or uncharged. So, the question she has: Why are all the resources targeting this tiny group?

    When you factor in the small percentage of that group that will reoffend, the focus becomes even narrower, she say’s. Sabin would like to see more dollars spent on education and awareness programs, treatment and transition into society. ‘What I’m saying, is we’re not turning the water off at the faucet,’ Sabin says. ‘How quickly are we going to reduce the problem?’

  48. Towards More Effective Sex Offense Legislation: Facts Versus Fears… Believing Versus Knowing
    March, 2007 National Center on Institutions and Alternatives, Inc. (NCIA) 13 Pages; 70.2KB
    ? Far from being hopelessly lost to decent society, sex offenders who have been caught are much less likely to reoffend than bank robbers, murderers or perpetrators of most all other types of crimes.
    ? A finite program of targeted treatment can cut that already low rate of recidivism by what looks like another 50% — compared to the opposite results of openended punishment.
    ? Some 93% of all sex offenses against children are not committed by strangers, but by the victim’s relatives or family friends. Almost all current public policy in this area, such as community notification and proposed tracking systems, is irrelevant to that vast majority of offenders.
    ? As fearful as the public has been taught to be about this class of crime, the only hope for long-term remedy is not through shaming and separation, but carefully thought-out programs of treatment and reintegration.

  49. I think we need to set an age of consent, probably around 14 or 15 and leave it at that. Figure out an age where someone is an adult and treat them as such and stop pretending that there are levels of childhood or that children will be interested in sex when we decide they should be. If we did that, we would have fewer people on these lists and the ones who are would be the real preditors and not just 16 year olds who got blowjobs.

    I think that’s probably the direction we’re headed, albeit very slowly. Overall, society seems to have much more tolerance of teenage sexual activity than it did 30 or 40 years ago, even if some groups don’t.

  50. I’ve brought this up before. The state is endangering “sex offenders” lives by publishing, hell advertising, their addresses. If you can’t see this after 5 seconds of thought, get the hell out of the discussion. Nothing you have to say has any value.

  51. 1-2004 Commentary: “Fear, as a tactic,” Keeps Former Sex Offenders and Their Families, as Political Detainees under Megans’ Laws
    News & Noteworthy
    Current Department of Justice statistics show 96+% of all new sex offenses are committed by someone other than a previously convicted sex offender. Yet, legislatures focus on monitoring and control of former sex offenders (now registered sex offenders [RSOs]). Why? It gets votes, sounds good, and makes the public feel safe. Sounds good -feels good- legislation!

    Recidivism, theory -or- statistics:
    The first Megans’ law was based upon the “theory of recidivism” and not on ‘actual recidivism statistics.’ In other words, there never was any proof of mass sex offender recidivism (as a class) before enacting that 1994 law in New Jersey; three (3) terrible crimes were the basis. Other states have simply followed New Jersey’s lead, and all have ignored actual recidivism statistics.
    In fact, in November of 2003, the Department of Justice calculated the actual sex offender recidivism rate using 1994 statistical figures (Megan’s law era), results showed a small 3.5% of sex offenders released from prison commit another sex offense; other crimes types are 3-10 times that rate and are ignored, even when they affect children.

    Unrealistic recidivism fears:
    Political figures publicly and using the media -who add their own media-bashing slant-, have so infected society with “unrealistic recidivism fears,” that RSOs have lost their societal identity and community status, and are relegated to being a categorical group of political detainees. …

  52. Linda, you appear to be exceptionally informed on the topic. If you don’t mind my asking, why is that? If you do mind, please ignore this post.

    R/
    J sub D

  53. The state is endangering “sex offenders” lives by publishing, hell advertising, their addresses.

    Who cares, they are the worst criminals out there and they deserve whatever they get. Period, END OF DISCUSSION!

  54. Linda,

    I was prosecutor for the Army and did more than my share of sex cases. I never once had a case where a complete stranger nabbed a kid out of a park and molested them. That is just not how pedophiles operate. The best way to molest a kid is to marry a single mother. That was the majority of cases I saw; step dad or boyfriend molesting the kids. Or you can befriend a single mother. That works to but not as well. It is very rare for someone to molest their biological children. Children as a rule don’t get molested by their biological parents. They get molested by friends and relatives. These laws that prevent pedophiles from living near schools do absolutely no good because that is not as a rule how child molestation occurs.

  55. Steven is obviously at the stage where he’s too drunk even to buy brandy. But that’s better than being UNEMPLOYED. IN GREENLAND.

  56. But on Law and order SVU they state that 90% re- offend and the first thing they do is roust people on the lists.You mean NBC[home of Dateline] is not showing the facts?

  57. Steven is obviously at the stage where he’s too drunk even to buy brandy. But that’s better than being UNEMPLOYED. IN GREENLAND.

    Moose,

    Probably he means no harm.

  58. Steven, considering the many irregularities in prosecuting sex offender cases, including relying on the testimony of very impressionable children, prosecutors who are motivated to relentlessly convict anyone who crosses their path, regardless of actual guilt, and the continuing stream of people who have been found to be wrongly convicted for any number of reasons, are you willing to accept a few innocent deaths at the hands of vigilantes, just to further persecute actual criminals after they have served the sentence that the Judicial branch has meted out to them?

  59. Agreed – he realizes that Prince Humperdink is the evil one, and he’ll help the Man in Black.

  60. Also, big props to Weigel for the Paul Simon lyric.

  61. are you willing to accept a few innocent deaths at the hands of vigilantes, just to further persecute actual criminals after they have served the sentence that the Judicial branch has meted out to them?

    No

  62. I’m confused: Did lawmakers (and voters) really think that by treating these people more and more like criminals they’d become less criminal?

    Did lawmakers (and voters) really think?

    Am I the only one who thinks that people are way too irrational about this?

    Nope. Statistically the folks who need watching are priests, coaches, teachers, and the mother’s boyfriends.

    I am still confused as to how the government can continue to punish someone who has served their judge-appointed sentence.

    The Lautenberg Amendment prohibits firearm ownership for life for any conviction for a domestic violence misdemeanor, even if the offense occurred twenty years before the law was passed. It sets the precedent for denying rights to sex offenders, drug offenders, etc.

    The theory is that you aren’t “punishing” the offender, you’re “protecting society from him.”

    Make sure you know the law and stay within the daily, weekly and monthly limits.

    Remember the recent case where a man was arrested for possession of drugs for which he had a prescription? I hope you never get to the point where you need more than the government-approved daily limit of a medication to survive.

  63. You want facts, I have plenty of them here, if you really want the facts, or continue to live in wonderland?

    http://sexoffenderissues.blogspot.com/2007/04/facts-myths.html

  64. Further punishment, hate and fear of one time sex offenders will not address the problem. Take responsibility for your kids parents. Look to the family members, teachers, coaches, close friends. Those are the people you should be concerned about. Dont get mad, get informed!

  65. Unfortunately, sex offender laws are like laws about pit bulls and the like. You look good by being tough on perverts and scumbags and are totally vulnerable to being demagouged[sp?] out the ying-yang if you don’t toe the “hang ’em high” line.

    And I say that as a person who would cheerfully hang many real molesters.

  66. Some how Szasz gets mixed up in this issue.

    If sex offenders are criminals, then their crime is not special in any sense.

    If pedophilia is a mental disorder, then treatment rather than punishment seems to be the proper way to respond (commitment rather than prison?).

    It is the essentialist view that sees pedophilia as constitutional of certain individuals that drives these poorly conceived laws. Essentialist thinking is also the source of racism, and, I think, partisan bickering.

    I say this comfortable in my opinion that Szasz is a misguided crank on the science.

    His views of the entanglement between crime and mental health, however, provide grist for an interesting debate.

    http://www.szasz.com/

  67. Good job with the Paul Simon reference, David.

    I see there is a veritable snowstorm of links in this ‘ere thread, but there’s no other good spot to put it – except perhaps in the brickbats section of the next edition of Reason?

    Check out the Brit who was put on the sex offender list for having sex with a bike!

  68. The retroactive application of these laws is more problematic than their existence, IMO. Who says punishment has to be restricted to fines and time served?

    The legal theory is that these provision are not punishments, but public health & safety measures. They’re supposed to be for the good of society and/or of the ex-offender. It’s like quarantining someone with a communicable disease — not punishment, no fault on the person’s part.

  69. But…but…how can it be a bad law: it’s named afer a child…

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