Monday, September 18, 2006
From latimes: UC Berkeley's Boalt Hall School of Law CrimProf Franklin Zimring criticizes California's Proposition 83 on the Nov. 7 ballot that would lengthen prison and parole terms for the most violent sex offenders and make possession of child pornography a felony and would ban all released sex offenders from living within 2,000 feet of a school or park.
The California initiative comes at a time when public concern over crime is low, surveys show. And sex crimes against children have declined in recent years, said Zimring.
Zimring added that despite the persistent myth about strangers presenting the greatest threat, only 7% of juvenile victims are assaulted by strangers, according to a 2000 report by the U.S. Department of Justice. Fifty-nine percent of victims are attacked by an acquaintance and 34% are preyed on by a family member, the report showed.
"It may just be that kids know a lot of pedophiles," Zimring said. "Or it could be that sometimes Uncle Willy gets drunk, and God knows what Uncle Willy is going to do, and to whom and where."
Over a three-year period after their release from prison, 5.3% of sex offenders were rearrested for a new sex crime, according to another Justice Department report. Sex offenders also were less likely than other felons to be rearrested for any different type of crime. "This is solid data," Zimring said, "but it is strong feelings — not facts — that dominate in this arena."
Rest of Article. . . [Mark Godsey]