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Thread: The Ineffectivity of Megan's Law

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    The Ineffectivity of Megan's Law

    Make a registry of sex offenders. Sounds like a good idea, right? How does this protect children?
    As public outrage builds, politicians remain calm—they know (from long experience) that the public is easily appeased by naming (still another) hollow law after (still another) dead child. Remember the "Little Lisa" law? If you don't, I rest my case. And if you do, tell me what impact it has had on child abuse. The law, named after Lisa Steinberg, attacked bogus adoptions rather than the child abuse that led to her death.
    Andrew Vachss

    - New Jersey, as a whole, has experienced a consistent downward trend of sexual offense rates with a significant change in the trend in 1994.
    - In all but two counties, sexual offense rates were highest prior to 1994 and were lowest after 1995.
    - County trends exhibit substantial variation and do not reflect the statewide trend, suggesting that the statewide change point in 1994 is an artifact of aggregation.
    -In the offender release sample, there is a consistent downward trend in re-arrests, reconvictions and re-incarcerations over time similar to that observed in the trend study, except in 1995 when all measures spiked to a high for that period. This resulted in significant differences between cohorts (i.e., those released prior to and after Megan’s Law was implemented).
    - Re-arrests for violent crime (whether sexual or not) also declined steadily over the same period, resulting in a significant difference between cohorts (i.e., those released prior to and after Megan’s Law was implemented).
    - Megan’s Law has no effect on community tenure (i.e., time to first re-arrest).
    - Megan’s Law showed no demonstrable effect in reducing sexual re-offenses.
    - Megan’s Law has no effect on the type of sexual re-offense or first time sexual offense (still largely child molestation/incest).
    - Megan’s Law has no effect on reducing the number of victims involved in sexual offenses.
    - Sentences received prior to Megan’s Law were nearly twice as long as those received after Megan’s Law was passed, but time served was approximately the same.
    - Significantly fewer sexual offenders have been paroled after the implementation of Megan’s Law than before (this is largely due to changes in sentencing).
    - Costs associated with the initial implementation as well as ongoing expenditures continue to grow over time. Start up costs totaled $555,565 and current costs (in 2007) totaled approximately 3.9 million dollars for the responding counties.
    - Given the lack of demonstrated effect of Megan’s Law on sexual offenses, the growing costs may not be justifiable.
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    I think people are looking at it from the wrong perspective. Parents shouldn't have to monitor whether there are any convicted sex offenders living close to their home as a means of protecting their children from abuse because there shouldn't be any convicted sex offenders living out in the rest of society. Sex offenders should be permanently removed from society and under no circumstances should they ever, ever be in a position to repeat their crime. I support the death penalty for their kind, but at the very least should these people be locked up, for life, with no chance in hell of parole. If people should think that these conditions sound to harsh then they should be told to think twice about molesting any children or raping any women, and that's all that needs to be said about that.

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