Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Isolating Sex Offenders is Not the Answer

blog.crimereports.com : Isolating Sex Offenders is Not the Answer.

A few weeks ago, I posted an argument for sex offender laws that make sense. Last week we saw a disturbing result of current sex offender laws that ostracize and isolate sex offenders from society.

Effects of Isolation

Phillip Garrido, a registered sex offender, was able to imprison and abuse Jaycee Lee Dugard for 18 years, partially because sex offender laws pushed him to a semi-rural area where he was able to hide his actions for so long. In fact, the city of Antioch, Calif., where Garrido made his home, is also home to over 100 other registered sex offenders simply because sex offender residency laws have quarantined them away from society in this run-down, semi-rural area.

Such areas are rarely patrolled by police, have minimal street lighting and large spaces between houses, and are overgrown with vegetation—a perfect haven for criminals who don’t want anyone knowing what they are doing. Garrido’s home is so secluded that neighbors didn’t even know he had a shed in his back yard. Instead of punishment, residency laws gave Garrido the perfect place to operate undetected.

What We Can Learn

Garrido’s case highlight the fact that pushing sex offenders to the fringes may actually create MORE opportunity for them to re-offend rather than act as a barrier between them and the rest of society.

The lesson that we need to take away from this tragedy is that knee-jerk sex offender laws that exile sex offenders from society, rather than keeping them under the watchful eye of society and law enforcement, need to be re-examined. More studies need to be done to determine the best way to deal with sex offenders, how to monitor them, rehabilitate them, and where to house them so that they are at a decreased risk to us and our children.

Source: http://sexoffenderresearch.blogspot.com/2009/08/ca-sex-offenders-move-to-antioch-area.html