Jul 9, 2009
commented on The Offender
This is one of the best articles I have ever read on the subject. I applaud the author for having the courage to write and publish it.
To the previous comment writers: I do not think the writer is sympathetic to this person, nor is sympathy for him the point of the article. Rather, the take-away points are that this is a very complex matter needing an intelligent approach that is based in research and results and can respond to the shades of grey instead of just dealing in the black and white of our current knee-jerk, unenlightened, dogma based approach.
(Much like the european "harm reduction approach" to drug abuse issues is prefferable to our "War on Drugs" with it's expensive, counter-productive, and unnecessarily punative approach.)
Also, the piece makes the point that the current system does not neessarily make the public any safer and might even be making the public less safe! (For example: ostracism can delay or prevent the offenders among us from achieving true rehabilitation as productive mebers of society.)
There are offenders who's stories are substantially more sympathetic than this person's, I agree. But this person is rare in his willingness to share (parts of) his story with the public-at-large. The truth is almost all sex offenders are not dangerous. The 12 year sex-crime recitivism rate of registered sex offenders is under 10% . That means the vast majority (over 90%) of sex offenders do not go on to commit another sex crime. (This study did not count failing to register as a sex crime.) If you do not count registration offenses, the overall recitivism rate of sex offenders is lower than that of the felony offender overall population.
As to the question of whether this guy remains dangerous, one would have to know him personally to say. Or, perhaps some enlighenment may come from a statistical analysis of the recitivism trends of those sex offenders who's known perdictors are comparable to his known predictors. In any event, he certainly does give me the creeps... But, I also can see the possibility that he was just a dweeb who needed a good smack-down in the boundries department.
Plus, people can (and do) mature, change and grow up. Being in my 40's, I am certainly now repulsed by (and diametrically opposed to) some of the attitudes, behavior and choices from my 20s.