More than any criminal offender, people involved in children sexual offenses have been and continue to be viewed as extreme threats to the safety of the children and the public. Society has reliably viewed such wrongdoers with revulsion and contempt. Children sex crimes have evoked the strongest and deep-seated reaction from the community and the government when compared to other types of criminal behavior (Sample & Kadleck, 2008). The distinct criminal justice and mental health strategies have been exclusively reserved throughout history for convicted sex offenders. However, over the past decades, societal response aimed at children sexual offender have increased in severity. Efforts have been developed to enhance the supervision of these criminal and reduce their opportunities to further perpetrate children sex crimes once they are living in the community (Caldwell, 2009). Besides from the sex offender receiving harsh treatment from the society, one of the recent development has been the development of Erin’s Law and Megan’s Law. The paper will identify variables predictive of reentry and reintegration of these child sexual offenders.
Efforts to publicly identify and announce the whereabouts of convicted sex offenders through the Megan’s Law have been denounced at the more significant level of public safety and recidivism. The arguments supporting the public monitoring of sex offenders insist on the welfare of the society in protecting the child. The expressed goal of the Megan Law is to promote public safety and reduce recidivism through the pursuit of deterrence (Freeman & Sandler, 2010). By informing the public about the identity and whereabouts of convicted sex offenders, Megan law purportedly increases awareness of potential danger among community members. This knowledge afforded to the public allows the community to be better prepared to avoid a situation in which sex offenders, who are residing, studying, working, and otherwise participating in daily life among them, may have opportunities to repeat criminal behavior (Prentky, Righthand, & Cavanaugh, 2010). The possibilities of reentry in criminal activity are believed to be restricted to the public identification and exposure of previous sexual misconduct supposedly make sex offenders feel more susceptible to risks associated with repeating criminal behavior.
Social support is important for minimizing subsequent criminal behavior and enabling successful reintegration. Research suggest lower rates of recidivism are among former inmates who have social support throughout their incarceration (Nicholaichuk, Gordon, Gu, & Wong, 2000). For instance, visits from a family member decrease the risk of reentering into criminal activity. Interpersonal attachment is also critical in helping previous child sexual offender with community employment. The perception that social support is relevant to registered sex offender is perhaps best demonstrated through a common feature of sex offender treatment programs where participating registered sex offenders are obligated to forge social relationship with primary support partners in the community (Olver & Wong, 2009). By guaranteeing that the registered sex offenders have at least one prosocial contact in the community, probation and parole officials and treatment providers attempt to add layer of influence and surveillance to the everyday lives of sex offenders who are living in society (Caldwell, 2009). Re-education of subsequent criminal behavior and demonstration of crime free lifestyle that should be imitated are the desired results of such association (Olver & Wong, 2009). Support partners of registered sexual offenders are an important population to examine as they purportedly play an important role in helping a particularly stigmatized group of criminal offenders to successful integrate into society as productive, law-abiding citizens.
Caldwell, M. F. (2009). Study characteristics and recidivism base rates in juvenile sex offender recidivism. International Journal of Offender Therapy and Comparative Criminology, 54(2), 197-212.
Freeman, N. J., & Sandler, J. C. (2010). The Adam Walsh Act a false sense of security or an effective public policy initiative. Criminal Justice Policy Review, 21(1), 31-49.
Nicholaichuk, T., Gordon, A., Gu, D., & Wong, S. (2000). Sex offender treatment outcome, actuarial risk, and the aging sex offender in Canadian corrections a long-term follow-up. Journal of Research and Treatment, 12, 139-53.
Olver, M. E., & Wong, S. P. (2009). Therapeutic responses of psychopathic sexual offenders: Treatment attrition, therapeutic change, and long-term recidivism. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 77(2), 328-36.
Prentky, R. A., Righthand, S., & Cavanaugh, D. (2010) Assessing risk of sexually abusive behavior among youth in a child welfare sample. Behavioral Sciences and the Law, 28(1), 24-45
Sample, L., & Kadleck, C. (2008). Sex offender laws legislators’ account of the need for policy. Criminal Justice Policy Review, 19(1), 40-62.