Sex, Crimes and Punishment

Roger N. Lancaster published an opinion Piece at NYTimes, arguing that “Our sex offender laws are expansive, costly and ineffective — guided by panic, not reason.”

In fact, the crimes that most spur public outrage — the abduction, rape and murder of children — are exceedingly rare. Statistically, a child’s risk of being killed by a sexual predator who is a stranger is comparable to the chance of being struck by lightning. The reported incidence of most forms of child abduction, including the most serious, has declined since the 1980s…

…No one can doubt that child sexual abuse is traumatic and devastating. The question is not whether the state has an interest in preventing such harm, but whether current laws are effective in doing so.

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Sex Offenders: The Last Pariahs
By ROGER N. LANCASTER
Published: August 20, 2011

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