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About Sex Offenders: Articles

This is a non-exhaustive list of media articles about sex offenders, readable by the average person (no dictionary needed).

Burn Your “Sex Offender” Map Free Range Kids, August, 2009

This is an article discussing some of the facts about sex offenders, sex offender registration and notification, and concludes that the laws we created to keep children safe are useless at doing just that. It takes a serious look at an article by The Economist discussing sex offender punishments.

Column misleads about sex offenders The Gainsville Sun/Jean Zeeb, January, 2017

This is a rebuttal to Lauren Book's column, discussing some of the tired myths that Book perpetuated in her column, and the facts that counter them. Jean Zeeb is a mental health professional with the Association for the Treatment of Sexual abuse, while Lauren Book is the CEO of Lauren's Kids and a Florida state senator.

Facts and Fiction about Sex Offenders, May, 2010

This article takes some of the myths believed about sex offenders, and corrects them with hard data. This is an excellent place to start looking at what you believe about sex offenders, and comparing it to some of the facts on the issue.

First, save the children: Punitive laws intended to protect children from sexual assault too often make them less safe The Economist, August, 2016

This article makes the point that sex offender policies are frequently punishing abusers at the cost of preventing sexual crimes in the first place. They also discuss mandatory reporting laws, sex offender policies, pedophilia, and the motivations behind child sexual abuse.

It's time to rethink how we treat child sex offenders ABC Australia, September, 2017

This article discusses some of the cutting-edge facts about sex offenders, public policy, and argues that if keeping children safe is indeed our first priority, we must treat the issue of how to handle sex offenders differently. In the words of the author, "The more we demonise child sex offenders, the harder we make it for men to seek help. The harder we make it for men to seek help, the more we put our children at risk."

Jacob Wetterling Resource Center: We Spend Too Much Money Watching Sex Offenders, 5 Eyewitness News, May, 2017

This article details a surprising statement from the Jacob Wetterling Resource Center about sex offenders, mainly that they are not to blame for sex crimes. While their information is not new, this is one of the first times an organization usually focused on victims has come right out and said that what we are doing around sex offenders is simply not working.

No Easy Answers: Sex Offender Laws in the US Human Rights Watch, September, 2007

This is a lengthy article (146 pages) discussing sex offender laws in the United States, and looks at some of the complex issues surrounding sex offending, laws surrounding sex crimes, and makes the case that sex offender issues are not nearly as simple as “lock them up and throw away the key”. This is a very broad overview discussing registration, notification, residency restrictions, juvenile registration, and concludes that sex offender laws must be reformed.

New evidence says US sex-offender policies are actually causing more crime Quartz, December, 2016

This article discusses sex offender policies, and makes the case that sex offender policies are increasingly “byzantine” and are actually increasing sex crimes rather than decreasing them. They look at residency restrictions, recidivism, homelessness, registration, and public notifications.

Once A Sex Offender, Always A Sex Offender? Maybe Not. Scientific American, April, 2008

This article discusses myths about sex crimes versus some of the truths from research, legalities, and common sense. They discuss repeat offenders, recidivism, treatment, and some articles that might shed more light on sex offenses and sex offenders.

Perfectly legal: Sex offenders living inside child safety zones the norm in Wisconsin; otherwise, they’d be homeless Fox News, February, 2017

This is an in-depth article discussing Wisconsin’s foray into restricting where sex offenders can live. What they found was surprising to most: Not only does the evidence say these restrictions do not work, sex offender recidivism is extremely low in Wisconsin at 1.5% after three years and 6% after 15 years.

Predator Panic: A Closer Look The Committee For Skeptical Inquiry, September-October, 2006

This article discusses much of the focus on sexual predators that has been present in the media in the last two decades, and takes a difficult look at some of the facts supporting the idea that “sexual predators lurk everywhere”.

Punishment That Doesn’t Fit The Crime The New York Times, July, 2016

This article looks at juvenile sex offender registration, and gives some specific facts and stories that result from requiring juveniles to register as sex offenders. They take a difficult look at some of the motivations for sex offender laws, and how their application plays out.

Understanding Sex Offenders: The Untold Story KETV Omaha, November, 2017

This is an article telling a story you will rarely ever hear: The story of sex offenders who have accepted responsibility for their mistakes, told from the perspective of a timid journalist who'd rather not touch sex offenders with a 10-ft pole. However, she continued the conversations and the end result is an article that tells the story of sex offenders and an abuse survivor that will make your head spin.

Unjust and ineffective: America has pioneered the harsh punishment of sex offenders. Does it work? The Economist, August, 2009

This article discusses some of the laws aimed at sex offenders, and argues that not only do they interfere with offender’s lives, they do not protect children as they were designed to. They also overview some of the research, legal trends, and what other organizations are saying about sex offender laws and their impact.

Sex offender ordinance hasn't worked as planned, putting public at greater risk Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, August, 2016

This article discusses how poorly residency restrictions have worked in Milwaukee, detailing some of the studies and some of the effects from enacting a restriction on sex offenders. The ordinance, becoming common in many cities, bans sex offenders from living within 2,000 feet of any school, park, day-care, and other "areas where children are commonly found".

Sex Offender Registration: Why Fear Isn't Smart Policy The Crime Report, May, 2017

This article overviews some of the research and discussion around criminal justice reform and asks the question: Why are sex offenders and sex crimes being excluded from our conversations around incarceration? It is a great overview for anyone unfamiliar with the subject.

Sex Offenders and Public Safety: A Four-Part Series Virginia Public Radio, August, 2017

This article looks at sex offender registration from a public safety point of view, and asks the question: Does registration improve public safety, or are there things we need to change? An intriguing report that is very comprehensive and surprisingly critical of sex offender registration.

Sex Offenders: Recidivism, Re-Entry Policy and Facts The Huffington Post/Paul Heroux, November, 2011

This is an op-ed written by Paul Heroux, a Massachusetts State Representative, discussing some of the myths about crime, realities about crime, and looking at the policies we have formed to address crime. He evaluates some of the current approaches to managing sex offenders, and insists more effective strategy is needed to stop sexual crimes.

Shawna: A Life on the Sex Offender Registry The Marshall Project, September, 2017

This article details how a mother who was deemed a sexual predator at 19 years old for having sex with an underage boyfriend has fared on the sex offender registry. It also looks at the fear and the real situations that sex offenders face, as well as facts about recidivism, residency restrictions, and asks the most difficult question: How can laws meant to keep people safe do the opposite and destroy lives in the process?

The List: When juveniles are found guilty of sexual misconduct, the sex-offender registry can be a life sentence. The New Yorker, March, 2016

This lengthy but well-researched article takes a close look at juvenile sex offender registration, the effects it has, and some of the facts and real-life effects that sex offender policies have on individuals and families. Some of the legal realities are discussed as well.

US: Sex Offender Laws May Do More Harm Than Good: End Registration of Juveniles, Residency Restrictions and Online Human Rights Watch, September, 2007

This report discusses juvenile sex offender registration, and calls for the end of juvenile sex offender registries and other restrictions by suggesting that the evidence does not support the effectiveness of these policies.

Registries Human Rights Watch, September, 2007

This article reviews some of the findings of the previous report “No Easy Answers” and makes several recommendations regarding sex offender policies in the United States. It is a much shorter article than the report it reviews.

What is the Most Common Age of a Sex Offender? (Surprise!) Free-Range Kids, July, 2016

This article states, with ample evidence that the most common age of a sex offender when they commit their crime may surprise you. The author, Lenore Skenazy, also makes the case that registration and notification fly in the face of human rights and studies showing what makes children safer.

When Junk Science About Sex Offenders Infects the Supreme Court The New York Times, September, 2017

This article, along with its video, suggests that the "frightening and high" recidivism cited by the United States Supreme Court in the Smith vs. Doe decision in 2002 was based on nothing... along with the man who originally wrote the article the Supreme Court based its opinion on. A must-read and watch for anyone familiar with legal matters.

Why sex offender registries don’t work Quartz, June, 2016

This article discusses the Brock Turner case, sex offender registration, and takes a skeptical stance on whether sex offender registries protect communities or are just feel-good policies that “do little to prevent future crimes”. It is a difficult read, making the case that some sex offenders were never a threat to begin with.