Monday, April 25, 2011

Sex Offenders in Minnesota

I have not written often enough about sex offenders in this blog.

After all, sex offenders comprise almost a third (31 percent) of Minnesota’s roughly 9500 inmates. And that percentage is only of the prison population. The substantial civil commitment contingent up at Moose Lake isn’t counted in the criminal numbers.

Recently, the Star Trib has tried to initiate a debate about the sex offender civil commitment program’s effectiveness — or lack thereof. The sticker price is high ($120,000 per year) and the results are questionable (virtually no one has ever been released).

Gail Rosenblum’s column offers illuminative context on the debate. She points out that respected researchers are trying to transcend the typical labeling of sex offenders, Instead, it may make more sense to focus on the commonalties that those convicted of sex offenses share with all other offenders.

1 comment:

  1. See article in NYT yesterday that attempt to differentiate some of the offical fear-mongering involving the label "pedophile". "In Child Sex Case, More Facets Than Meet the Eye" http://www.nytimes.com/2011/04/26/world/europe/26iht-abuse26.html?src=recg&pagewanted=all

    Notable quotes: "But with the alarming nature of the crime provoking sometimes rushed action, there is also a record of highly publicized prosecutions gone awry, with innocent people imprisoned for years, other cases eventually dismissed for lack of evidence and physical attacks not only on suspects but on people mistaken for them."

    In Britian of 121 people recently arrested only 1-in-5 are engaged in "pedophile child abuse" the others are "image offenders". Still;

    “It certainly is at variance with the way it was first reported,” said Mr. Carr. “When I read about a ‘pedophile network’ I thought these people were swapping children. The word pedophile implies more than just looking and downloading. It conjures up an image of hands-on abuse.”

    Following dozens of suicides among suspects (39 people killed themselves in the 2001 case), most European countries now also systematically assess suspects of child abuse-related crimes for suicide risk and, in the case of a prison sentence, protect them from other inmates.

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