Sex offenders are amongst the most frightening criminals. The egregious nature of sexual offenses has seen the need for enactment and implementation of sexual offenses legislation. The enactment of strict legislation has seen sex offenders being monitored, tracked, apprehended and subsequently punished. In the absence of sexual legislation, sexual offenders would not be monitored leading to high rates of repeat offenses, hence high recidivism. Therefore, sexual offenses legislation and policies aimed at preventing sex crimes are premised on the belief that most sex offenders are highly likely to repeat their offenses when they are reintegrated into their respective communities (Saleh, Grudzinskas, Bradford, & Bordsky, 2009).
While sex offenders may be known in their local communities, their reintegration is crucial to ensure that they do not repeat their offenses. Meanwhile, in the absence of this legislation, sex offenders may leave the area in which they previously committed sex crimes and migrate to another area where they are not known and repeat the same crime. This would lead to high recidivism rates of sex offenders.
Consequently, the danger posed by sex offenders is significantly higher to people who may know the offender, more so on a personal level. While a number of sex offenders are strangers to their victims, a significant percent of sex offenders are people who are close to victims such as family members and close acquaintances (Saleh et al., 2009) . The application of sex offenses legislation prevents sex offenders from approaching this group of individuals; therefore, reducing the probability of sex offenders repeating their crimes. As such, the recidivism rates of sex offenders are reduced. While, the sex offenses legislations prevents sex crimes, more so those committed by strangers, the family setting can be an environment for sexual molestation and abuse (Saleh et al., 2009). In light of this, legislation is critical in preventing and rescuing children from such hostile home environments. This keeps them from potential sexual abuse by their offending family members.
Sex offenses legislation such as the Jacob Wetterling Act requires that sex offenders must notify and register their whereabouts at all times; with law respective law enforcement agencies. This legislation ensured that sex offenders do not have the liberty to move from one locality to another to repeat their sex crimes (Bonnar-Kidd, 2010).
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Meanwhile, Megan’s Law, which was enacted in 1996, mandated the disclosure of sex offender’s registry information and amended the Wetterling Act requiring states to post sex offenders information on the internet. This aspect of the legislation has ensured that sex offender’s information is readily available to the public (Bonnar-Kidd, 2010). As a result, sex offenders are publicly identifiable and known; therefore, the public can avoid any contact that might lead to sex crimes and report any erratic behavior to law enforcement agencies.
This ensures that sex offenders do not repeat their crimes, and the public remain vigilant against possible sexual crimes. Additionally, the enactment of the Adam Walsh Act (AWA) in 2006, reinforced notification and registration requirements for sex offenders; the duration of registration periods was expanded while the penalties for sex offenders who do not register with law enforcement agencies were significantly increased (Bonnar-Kidd, 2010).The enactment of these Legislations has reinforced the protection of individuals such as children who fall victim to sex crimes.
Megan’s Law and the Adam Walsh Act have played a critical role in the reduction of recidivism rates of sex offenders by making such offenders be publicly known, tracked and monitored at all times, hence reducing the probability of repeat offenses. Sex crimes characterizes a social dilemma which deserves critical attention, as a result, communities are obliged to protect themselves from repeat sex criminals. In light of this, implementation of strategic measures and controls aimed at prevention of sex crimes and improvement of public safety is essential; without the creation of insoluble and unnecessary barriers to the reintegration of sex offenders. (Bonnar-Kidd, 2010)
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