Alternative Ways of Handling Sex Offenders as Opposed to Including Them in the Sex Offenders Register
Table of Contents Alternative Ways of Handling Sex Offenders as Opposed to Including Them in the Sex Offenders Register 3 Introduction 3 Background information 3 Problem statement 3 Thesis statement 4 Literature review 4 Research findings 5 Benefits of the sex offender registration 6 Fulfillment the right to information access 6 Prevention of further crime 6 Reliable resource for evidence collection 7 Limitations of the sex offender registration 8 Sex offenders networking 8 Unemployment 8 Bad reputation 9 Extended punishment 9 Inadequate access to housing 9 Alternative ways of handling sex offenders 10 Rehabilitation 10 Introducing Warnings to first time sex offenders 11 Monitoring sex offenders 11 Biological interventions 12 Awareness and education programs 13 Keeping sex offender register private 13 Banishment 14 Conclusion 14 References 16
Alternative Ways of Handling Sex Offenders as Opposed to Including Them in the Sex Offenders Register
Criminal justice agencies are meant to maintain law and order and ensure all federal and state laws are enforced appropriately. Among the crimes prevented and controlled by criminal justice agencies are sexual offenses, and there exist myriad regulations and policies that govern these issues. Among the policy is the Sex Offender Registration where everyone involved in sexual offenses such as sexual harassment, rape, molestation, and much more are registered, and the information is made public. The sex offenders registries policy is governed under the Jacob Wetterling and Megan’s law of the early 90s and the Adam Walsh Act of 2006 that were created after sexual violence victims were assaulted and murdered. The policy was established in the early 90s while sexual abuse to children was very high and all offenders had to be registered after serving their jail terms or paying penalties. However, sexual assaults have risen since then, and several reported cases involves adults such as sexual harassment at the work place. The research paper will evaluate the effects of the sex offenders registry to the public and to the offenders, focusing on the benefits and its limitations, and alternative ways of handling the sex offenders as opposed to putting their name in a publicly accessed register.
As much as the sex offenders’ registration is active, and the offenders are known to the public, the issues of sexual assaults to adults and children are still being reported. The fact that every offender is in the criminal justice agencies systems and have been provided with the sexual offenders receipts as they move from one state to another, it does not stop the heinous acts. The Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS), in year 2018, claimed that 9% of children are abused sexually in the USA, with the cases of sexual offense increasing within the past five years. Therefore, it is evident that the sex offenders’ registration process is not as effective as expected and has only left the people in the register in isolation. Considering that criminal justice agencies should ensure the victims are reformed and are restored to the expected behavior, registering them as offenders and allowing access to this information to the public does not do the victims any good. Despite being punished for the offense, they still experience difficult moments to interact with people, to access housing services, job opportunities, and even maintain proper relationships with society. For this reason, it is necessary to find more effective ways of dealing with sex offenders after they have served their jail terms or any other punishments.
The research will examine better ways of preventing previous sex offenders from committing more crimes as opposed to registering them as sex offenders according to the offender’s register policy.
According to Anderson, the sex offender registration protects the society from sexual crimes by keeping the public informed and aware of the previously accused sexual offenders. The source will shed light on the benefits of sex offender registration to society and will help in finding other effective alternatives (Anderson, 2016).
Evans and Cubellis, on the other hand, bring in the perspective of the sex offender and the challenges they go through in public. The research will focus on approaches that could, at the same time, shape their morals and give them an easier time when interacting with the public (Evans, & Cubellis, 2015).
According to Lavenson, the community has no much control of the sex offenders despite having them in the registry. The scholar evaluates the relationship of the offenders with the community and concludes that the registry is not as effective as expected. The author’s argument will provide an idea of what society expects and thus make it easy to come up with more solutions apart from the registration practices (Levenson, 2016).
Various reforms of the policy have been proposed and among them is Levenson’s suggestion to amend the policy. Unfortunately, the registration is still deemed necessary, and the research will establish alternative solutions that can be implemented without the need for the publicly accessed register of offenders (Levenson, 2018).
According to Napier, Dowling, Morgan, and Talbot, registration of sex offenders is no longer useful and argues that, as much as the information is in public, it does not reduce the level of fear in the community whenever they see a sex offender. A receipt will not stop the offender from assaulting another victim and thus the need for more effective approaches (Napier, Dowling, Morgan, & Talbot, 2018).
It is evident that scholars have different perspectives when it comes to sex offender registries. Considering that each of the arguments is supported by reliable research results, it is important to evaluate the benefits of sex offender registries, their limitations and propose some alternative approaches to deal with the sex offenders. Therefore, the research findings will outline the aforementioned issues.
It is the fundamental right of citizens to know sex offenders living in their community. Every citizen has a right to information, and this information includes the sex offenders details held by the government. Each citizen should be informed and hence help them take the precautions when relating to the sex offenders. These precautions would include keeping their children far from the sex offenders or rather minimizing their interactions with the offenders. Considering that the offenders may at one point be tempted to commit the crime again, it is much safer when the public is informed and can take the necessary precautions to prevent further sexual; assaults. For this reason, the register is kept accessible, and citizens can always access it. Failure to avail the information, criminal justice would be considered as violators of the set laws as far as information access is concerned. For example, a school that has recently started will need the sex offender register information to keep the children free from sexual assaults such as rape.
On the other hand, it is a way of preventing further crime when it comes to sex offenders. Many are the time an individual would wish to proof the society wrong, especially when they feel they have a bad reputation. Therefore, after serving their punishment for the crime, one would find it necessary to behave appropriately and restore their trust with the community (Napier et al., 2018). For this reason, being in the registers shapes the behaviors of the sex offender and prevents them from ever committing the crime again. It would therefore be considered as an approach to reform. Most criminals are accepted back to society with time and after proving they have changed their behaviors for better. People have testified to be criminals in the past, promised to change, and currently, they are respected icons in the society acting as a restoration guide to people who are still in crime. The same case applies to a sex offender who would reform, change their behaviors never to commit the crime and be on the front line to stop further sexual assaults in the community. For example, by starting a sexual assaults prevention movement.
Criminal justice agencies treat the previous records as reliable resources in evidence collection. In the event of crime and any suspects are arrested, the first considerations are always to review the criminal records of the suspect. For this reason, the sex offender register is used to review any previous cases of any victim of sexual assaults and helps in building up evidence or supporting certain claims. For example, if two suspects are arrested and one of the suspects appears in the sex offender registry, the latter is likely to have been involved in the reported crime as compared to the suspect with a clean record. Besides, the records are not only used by criminal justice agencies. They are also put into consideration by housing agencies, employment bureaus, and much more to make sure the community is safe from potential sex offenders, and the company recruits people with a good reputation, respectively.
Summarily, it is evident, that sex offender registers publicly accessed is a fulfillment of the right to information, prevents further sexual assaults and help to keep track of the sex offender behaviors. It is good to note that there are myriad reasons why the sex offender registries exist but above are the three significant benefits of having the sex offender register.
It is possible for offenders to network and forms a vigilant team. The fact that the register creates a group of people isolated from the society may lead to ganging up of offenders who may further proceed to commit more crimes. Reports related to a team of people harassing people are usually propagated by having a team of offenders who felt neglected and therefore decided to form a team amongst themselves. Maybe to share their experiences, find alternative solutions but finally ends up being a gang of sex offenders that could be hard to control or even stop their sexual assaults. It is a matter of visiting online platforms and searching for sex offenders in the register, looking for them and forming a team. For this reason, the sex offender register could not be useful and could only lead to more offenses.
More so, who wants to employ a sex offender? The employment world is very competitive, and every organization is looking for the best person to employ. Therefore being listed a sex offender puts you in a criminal record, and it might be very hard to get employed after serving the term in jail. Where should sex offenders go after serving their sentence? The fact that they are put in the register makes life a little bit difficult for them, and they may never get a chance to live a normal life again (Grossi, 2017). They are likely to live in rejection and may not get any chances of employment. Considering they need to have some income to sustain themselves and meet the basic needs, grow their professions and take care of their families; there are minimal chances of success with them in the sex offender register.
Besides, the public image of a person is ruined the moment they are put in the sex offender register. Though not all sex offenders are rapists or even committed significant crimes, society will always perceive them as rapists and evil-minded people. Such a reputation would affect the relationship of the offender with people and other aspects of their social life (Evans & Cubellis, 2015). People have to meet friends, have to spend time with their relatives, and may need to have fun in social gatherings and much more. Regrettably, the photo and details in the public sex offender registers, it would be challenging to achieve these interactions despite having changed and reformed to good behaviors.
The sex offender register is like an extended punishment. It is good to note that the offenders also need to face the court rulings punishment alongside being put in the register. The role of criminal justice agencies is not only to punish but also to reform the involved offenders. Unfortunately, putting them in a register and availing it to the public does not impact positively on the offender but creates a more significant gap between them and the public and there are no second chances for them to change their behaviors. Offenders have even found it more challenging to live in the outside world while in the sex offender register and prefer to go back to jail where they never experienced the level of isolation and discriminations just because they were once involved in a sex offender case.
Finally, getting housing services is also a challenge for sex offenders. The critical role of the sex offender registry is to inform people of potential sex offenders living around them. While the decision of whether someone is a likely sex offender is based on whether they had been charged as a sex offender before (Levenson, 2016). No landlord wishes to have a sex offender as a tenant because he or she is a threat to other tenants. Therefore, it becomes challenging for them to find housing services. Where should sex offenders live after serving their sentences?
Rehabilitation is a process of restoring something to its original state. Criminal justice agencies should focus on providing rehabilitation services instead of putting the convicted in the sex offender registry. There is life after the crime, and some people serve their jail term and are willing to reform as long as there is a platform. Unfortunately, serving their sentence only to appear as a sex offender in a public list is very discouraging. Therefore, the government should create a rehabilitation center for sex offenders where they are given some guidance until and later joins the community with a new foundation (Kerr, Tully, & Völlm, 2018). Rehabilitation is more effective as compared to the harsh listing of offenders in a publicly accessed list. In addition, it is in the rehabilitation centers that they are able to open up psychiatrists experts, are guided through some counseling programs and are given a chance to learn more short term courses that would help them in future, That way, a sex offender goes back to the society not only as someone who have completed serving his or her sentence but has gone through a reforming process. Such situations have even had sex offenders celebrated and welcomed back home as opposed to when they are listed in a sex offender register.
Introduce some warnings before putting someone in the sex offender register. It is worth to have someone put in the register if they get involved in sexual assaults more than once or twice. Therefore it is essential to give the sex offenders a chance to reform or change his or her behaviors after serving the jail term. Therefore, the criminal justice agencies may decide to let go an offender after serving the first jail term, and once they are involved in another crime, the offender is now added in the public sex offender register. Though it sounds like giving an offender another chance to commit a crime, it is a fair approach to offenders who were not willingly involved in the assaults or who wishes to change their behaviors after serving their jail term (Rosselli & Jeglic, 2017). However, the offender must agree and promise never to commit sexual offenses again before release, and people who fail to agree to this should have their jail term prolonged or should be included in the register as an exceptional case. There are chances of people to change their actions, given an opportunity and therefore, introducing one or two warnings before having someone listed in the sex offender register would be an effective approach to resolve issues and keep the public safe from offenders.
Monitoring sex offenders’ behaviors after serving their sentence is another approach that could resolve sex offenders issues. Rather than listing the offenders in the public register, it is possible for the criminal justice agencies, with the help of local leaders to monitor the behaviors of a recently released sex offender. Where the offender may be required to report to the area local leader who should keep monitoring their progress and shaping their behavior (Cain, Sample, & Anderson, 2017). In addition a performance evaluation can be done by their employee in the event they are able to go back to work and assess their level of avoiding sex offenses in the workplace such as bullying and sexual harassment. Such an approach allows offenders to contribute positively to society and remain active in their routine activities. The fact someone was accused as a sex offender does not mean they cannot do some cleaning works in the office, they cannot drive a truck or operate an automobile or any other roles and organization may assign to them. They just need some attention and monitoring to ensure they are in the right track morally. That way, society, and other organizations can benefit from the skills and abilities of a sex offender rather than leaving them in isolation. In the event they are caught in some sort of sex offenses, they should face harsh disciplinary actions that can even be escalated to another court conviction depending on how serious it is.
Remarkably, some biological interventions may be used to prevent sex offender from committing more crime. It is clear that some offenders find it hard to stop their behaviors despite the willingness of ending such practices. Some of them have suffered depressions due to failed attempts of preventing themselves from getting involved in sexual assaults. Biological interventions involve assimilation of drugs that acts as hormonal agents to reduce the urge of committing sexual assaults to an offender (Choy, Focquaert & Raine, 2018). Therefore, such a treatment could be administered to convicted sex offenders or even to people who are struggling to avoid sex offenses as a preventive approach. The drugs are administered to reduce the sex drive but are only recommended for people above the age of 16 years. However, such an approach can be effective for adults who are likely to suffer various challenges if included in the sex offender registry.
Are there children who are considered as sex offenders? Yes, sex offenders are not only adults but also children who are convicted and sent to the juvenile to serve a jail term. Education programs can be used to prevent further sexual related assaults, which could be put in the school syllabus as common units or common courses. The courses are mandatory and should be taken by every child in the school. Besides, parents should practice educating their children and warning them to avoid any sex offenses that are not acceptable in society (Lehrer, 2016). Basic courses such as HIV/AIDs units had an impact on various children, and the teachings are things they have grasped since their childhood to adulthood. The same approach should therefore be used to keep children informed and ensure they keep good conduct even when they are adults. Therefore sexual offenses programs and sex offenders education programs for children are approaches that could lead to the issue of sex offender registries fading away because their morals will always be upright. (Cain, & Anderson,2016).