CrimProf Blog

Editor: Kevin Cole
Univ. of San Diego School of Law

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Tuesday, July 10, 2012

"Are Our Sex Crime Laws So Radical They Deter Reporting?"

Dan Filler has this post at The Faculty Lounge, discussing his op-ed in the Philadelphia Inquirer. In part:

Over the past two decades, advocates, the media, and politicians have stoked public fears about sexual abuse. The resulting panic has had serious consequences. It has subjected all sexual offenders to greater stigma and, more importantly, has led to a complex array of laws that dramatically increase the costs of conviction even for less serious sexual offenses. In some states, a low-grade sex offender faces greater repercussions than a murderer.

Prison is just the start. Every state also imposes the public shame of community notification. Most restrict where such offenders can live — in some cases so severely that homelessness becomes the only viable option for offenders. Some states are even incarcerating people beyond their regular sentences because they are expected to commit sex crimes in the future.

There is little evidence that all these measures reduce the incidence of sex crimes one whit. They have, however, dramatically raised the stakes of reporting and charging such crimes.

http://lawprofessors.typepad.com/crimprof_blog/2012/07/are-our-sex-crime-laws-so-radical-they-deter-reporting.html

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