Simi Valley Sophist

The Simi Valley Sophist ruminates on all manner of topics from the micro to the macro. SVS travels whatever path strikes his fancy. Encyclopedia Britannica: Sophist "Any of certain Greek lecturers, writers, and teachers in the 5th and 4th centuries BC, most of whom travelled about the Greek-speaking world giving instruction in a wide range of subjects in return ..."

Location: California, United States

Retired: 30years law enforcement-last 20 years Criminal Intelligence Detective.

Sunday, March 11, 2007

Sex Offenders, Moral Morass-Exhibit Two

(Formerly titled: Sex Offenders-Jail or Treat Them?)

There are plenty of horrendous criminal acts, but perhaps the ones that wrench at us the most are sex offenses. That is especially true when the victim is a child. Judging from the amount and character of anti-sex crime legislation in recent years, it is clear that the public has less tolerance for sex crimes than other types of crime. Perhaps that is because such a large proportion of the public has some personal experience with the crime.

Richard B. Krueger, an associate clinical professor of psychiatry at Columbia University's College of Physicians and Surgeons, wrote in a piece published in the LA Times entitled, The new American witch hunt:

Increasingly, legislation dealing with sex offenders is being passed that is punitive, untested, expensive and, in many cases, counterproductive — demonizing people who commit sexual offenses without offering any empirical information that the new laws will reduce sexually violent crime.

Whoa, that sounds just a little too soft-headed to me. I tend to be one of those guys who insist upon personal responsibility and not one to put the onus upon society to try and make someone a safe member in the community.

Krueger made the claim that:

…recidivism rates for sexual offenders are among the lowest of any class of criminals.

Naturally, it’s not quite that simple. The Center for Sex Offender Management has a long piece examining the issue in depth.

While any offender’s subsequent reoffending is of public concern, the prevention of sexual violence is particularly important, given the irrefutable harm that these offenses cause victims and the fear they generate in the community.
Researchers must also continue to accumulate evidence about the relationship of static and dynamic factors to recidivism—such data can assist practitioners in making more accurate assessments of the likelihood of reoffending. In particular, researchers must strive to identify dynamic characteristics associated with sex offending behavior that can serve as the focus for intervention. This information can be utilized to categorize the level of risk posed by offenders, and help determine whether a particular offender is appropriate for treatment and specialized supervision. However, in order to make objective and empirically based decisions about the type of treatment and conditions of supervision that would best control the offender and protect the public, more rigorous research is needed to study the effects of various treatment approaches and community supervision on recidivism.

When it comes to sex crimes, certainly there are degrees of severity, which then raises the question as to what should constitute a sex crime. That definition, of course, will vary according to local community standards. For instance, in San Francisco and Seattle it is permissible to parade nude in public. In most other cities that will get you arrested and permanently branded as a sex offender. In some parts of this country, an act of adultery or even cohabitation without the benefit of marriage can get you a sex offender classification. Take North Dakota for instance,

North Dakota is one of the few states that outlaws cohabitation, which is defined as a man and woman living together "openly and notoriously" as if they were married.

It is listed as a sex crime in state law, alongside adultery and incest. There are few records of a cohabitation case being prosecuted, aside from a North Dakota Supreme Court appeal in the 1930s.

Some legislators in North Dakota have been trying to repeal that law. The fact that as of Jan 2007 they have not succeeded gives you an idea about the mind set of many North Dakotans.

If we can just agree upon what a sex crime is, maybe we can start to decide the appropriate action to be taken to ensure community safety. I am skeptical about the efficacy of sex crime treatment and prefer the throw the key away approach. But, perhaps we can stop fearing our genitals and exempt from the sex crime classification the naked body or the living in sin, North Dakota style.

Previous Blogs:
Nudity and Sex, Moral Morass-Exhibit One
American Indian Nudity Destroyed
American Indians Did It in the Nude
YMCA Doesn’t Stand for Christian or Male Anymore and You Can’t Go Nude
Spirit of Justice Returned to Her Natural State

Her Embarrassment Killed Her