Monday, November 16, 2009

Sex Crimes Laws Need Updating (FLA) - Editorial: Sex crimes laws need updating.

Our society needs a new approach to sex offender laws that will be effective, just and constitutional.

Mind you, we have no sympathy for people who commit sex crimes, but there appears to be a one-size-fits-all approach as it relates to perpetrators. And our society has branded all sex offenders with virtual "Scarlet Letters" making it impossible to live their lives in society once they have served their time.

Last week, lawyers were arguing the constitutionality of a Lee County ordinance prohibiting the presence of sex offenders within 300 feet of a number of areas. These include schools, day cares, video arcades, pools, parks, playgrounds, zoos, skate parks, beaches or "any similar type places where children congregate."
One huge problem is that there is no map to show what is off limits to registered sex offenders.

If our aim is to make life as miserable as possible for sex offenders once they serve their time, then they - and taxpayers - are probably better off if they stay in prison.

However, we need to get over our discomfort on this issue and face up to the fact that a vigilante mentality in dealing with sex offenses must go by the wayside.

We are a nation of laws. Let's start a serious debate - without fear or vengeance - about how we might punish and possibly rehabilitate sex offenders.