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"What Works?"--Sex Offenders and Community Protection

By jack mehoff

CJA 531 Probation and Parole

M T W: 7:00pm to 9:40pm

Proffessor Gonzalo Mendez

I. Sex-Offenders: History & There Significance in our Community

Angelica Quiroz

The criminal justice system manages most convicted sex offenders with some combination of incarceration, community supervision, and specialized treatment. While the likelihood and length of incarceration for sex offenders has increased in recent years the level sexual assault is ascending in the hierarchy. The problem in regard to sex offenders has received widespread public, media, and political attention. Realistically we are facing a noticeable increase on crimes related to rape and sexual assaults. Yet, the media's involvement has significantly influence the image that there is a theatrical increase in sexual attacks and it has inflicted exaggerative panic among the community. We must be informed of the real statistics and about the history behind sexual acts. Moreover, we must, as a community, protect out children and educate ourselves about all the possible laws that protect us. The purpose of this sex offender group report is to exam and to find what preventive measures and programs are significantly effective in reducing sexual violence, specifically towards children and defenseless victims.

The realization of the need for sex offender's supervision and community protection came after the tragic murder of 7-year-old Megan Kanka by a released sex offender living on her same street (Harris, 2006). The public discomfort created a call for programs to provide the public with information regarding released sex offenders. In 1996 Congress passed a federal law mandating state community notification programs, and Megan's Law requires all states to conduct community notification but does not set out specific forms and methods, other than requiring the creation of internet sites containing state sex-offender information (McShane & Williams III). The demand for higher monitor supervision and more lenient laws were needed. Due to the tragic murder of Megan, law enforcement has taken more effective steps to protecting the community from any sexual offender. Those offenders who are convicted and served time in prison are placed under restrictive supervision by a probation officer. Sex offenders generally have the strictest conditions of probation supervision, including limitations on where they live, visit and work. They must comply with registration requirements and submit to unannounced searches of their homes and computers. According to the San Diego County Probation Department, who supervises all sex offenders, does supervise offenders "at three basic levels, depending on the risk to the community. Intensive supervision entails a higher level of supervision for offenders whose risk to the community is seen as high. Various units are designed to target these special populations, such as sex offenders, gang members, pregnant substance abusers, or violent offenders (2007, para.2). The probation officer is responsible for placing the offenders under the best suitable program to help the sexual offenders incorporate back to society, but most important to treat these offenders and avoid recidivism. Once the offender is under custody and is placed on probation the possibility for the offenders to get cured are higher.

According to a report from the US Department of Justice, in 2002 there were 247,730 victims of sexual abuse in the United States. By the time this report is read the number of victims of sexual abuse would have escalated. Andrew J. Harris (2005) in is book called Civil Commitment of Sexual Predators affirms that the prime targets of sexual abuse are children and women. It is believe that such sexual behavior may be used to display control, hostility, or power upon a person. In many occasion the sexual offender may even display anger against the victim (Flora p. 2). According to Rudy Flora in her book How to Work with Sex Offenders, the majority of sex offenders are male, although more female offenders are now being reported as sex offenders the statistical numbers for male sex offenders still remains high. In addition, Flora states that "sex offenders are among races, cultures, age groups, and religious faiths. Offenders exist among both the employed and unemployed and within all income groups" (2001, pp28). Sex offenders do not have a know profile, any person can be a sexual predator, a neighbor schoolmate, or even a close family member.

A historical and sociological evaluation of sex offenders became more efficient in understanding sex offenders and their behavior; these have also promoted the change in policies during the past centuries (Harris, 2005). Moreover Andrew J. Harris also mentions that before the 1930's sex offender's treatments were no different then any other criminal act. All criminal were punished by depriving them from liberty. However from 1930 to the 1970, the psychiatry and the therapeutic ideas evolved and influenced the rise of the "sexual psychopath" laws which separated sex offenders from the general criminal population with the belief that their behavior should and could be treated (Harris, 2001, pp. 16). Following these modification in regards to sex offenders in our society, we experienced the abolishment of the Sexual psychopath laws. It wasn't until the mid 1990's that marked a return to the idea that the managing sex offenders requires treatment and special policy provision including community notification laws and civil commitments of all sexual violent predators (Harris, 2005, pp.3). There have been significant changes in regards to sex offender's laws and as we move closer to understanding their behavior and the reason behind their distorted minds, we might find the antidote to solve this evil.

The violent crimes of sex offences have devastated our society and the damage not only inflicts fear but it also marks the victims for life. According to statistics declared by the US Department of Justice, in 2005, there were 4,315 unwanted pregnancies product of rape, one in every 6 American women becomes a victim of rape or attempted rape in their lifetime. In addition, 1 out of 6 victims of sexual abuse are children, 12 years of age or younger. Sexual assaults affect women, children, and men of all ages, racial, cultural,



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