Should all sex offenders be treated the same? I think there is a difference between the eighteen year old boy who has sex with his sixteen year old girlfriend and the child molester. While the laws do differentiate the two it isn’t by that much. There is a serious risk posed to society by some sex offenders, but the risk posed by others is rather small. The Legislature has taken a firm stance on what is required by all sex offenders. As a society sometimes we tend to overreact. I think that we have done this recently in regards to some sex offenders. The laws that have been created in good faith have made it nearly impossible for anyone convicted of a sex crime to be able to resume a normal life and become a productive member of society. I don’t want you to think I am not for punishing sex offenders, I am. I have a young daughter and am extremely sickened and angered by some of the stories I hear. I think we need to separate the truly dangerous individuals from those that have been caught up in a technicality. Did you know that if a guy gets a little too intoxicated while tailgating at a football game and decides to relieve himself on his cars tire, and the wrong person sees him he can be convicted of a sex crime and be required to register as an offender? I think this is a perfect example of the overzealousness of the system. This cannot be what the lawmakers intended when creating these laws. I am not saying that it is right or ok to urinate in public but to be convicted of a sex crime for it is not right either.
In 1994 the Jacob Wetterling Crimes Against Children and Sexually Violent Offender Registration Act, became the first law requiring the registration of those convicted of a sex crime. Unfortunately laws like this are usually in response to a tragic event. The fate of young Jacob Wetterling is undetermined as his body has never been found. In 1996 Meagan’s Law amended this act to require public notification. Also in 1996 the Pam Lyncher Sexual Offender Tracking and Identification Act was passed and made it mandatory for certain offenders to have to register for life. As with the first, both of these laws were reactive and not proactive. One other thing all these laws have in common is that they were for law enforcement. They were a resource for law enforcement to track and know who is in their community. It wasn’t until the Adam Walsh Child Protection and Safety Act of 2006 that allowed for the public to be able to see where the offenders are that are living in their neighborhoods. If you want to see where the convicted offenders are in your neighborhood got to http://www.isp.state.il.us/sor/ . I would caution you though that just because you can see where the convicted offenders are, that doesn’t mean you are completely safe. This shows you where the convicted offenders are living; it doesn’t tell you where the guys are who haven’t been caught yet. One thing that is known from the study of these offenders is that they are not usually caught for their first offense. In fact many times they can be offending for years before they are caught if they are caught at all. This is definitely a serious area to study. It is just in its infancy as a science. They study of sex offenders has only been around since about 1979. We definitely need to find out all we can in order to try to prevent more victims, but we need to be careful to not overreact and lump all offenders together as one. I think that all sex offenses are not created equal so they should not be punished like they are. If you want some more information visit http://www.llrx.com/features/sexoffenderlaws.htm .