On the whole, sexual abuse is one of the most serious threats impacting the entire society. And thus it is quite natural that there have been ongoing disputes and disagreement between federal and state governments, between the Congress and the local courts, between libertarians and prosecutors and so on. The way we should punish sex offenders is not an easy task to fulfill, because first of all the punishment should include the moment of social justice, and at the same time should protect the society from recidivism and prevent other potential offenders from the same crimes. Therefore, it seems quite rational to isolate such kind of offenders from the public indefinitely.
However, when it goes for juvenile delinquency, we cannot apply the same rules, as experts say. It has been proved that in youth and in adulthood we have different developmental and behavioral models. Young people often become offenders because of lack of maturity and lack of sense of responsibility; their mind is unstable and they easily get under the influence of the environment as well as their own cruel instincts they are not trained to control. For that reason, the young sex offenders should not be judged the way we judge adults committing the same crimes. On the one hand, we can understand the parents and relatives who demand the capital punishment for those who offended their nearest and dearest. But in fact emotions are prevailing in them and rational decisions cannot be based on emotions.
Still, life imprisonment without parole is often considered as cruel as death penalty, and as Justice Kennedy wrote, a life sentence means a denial of hope for juvenile offenders. Life imprisonment deprived the youth from the chance to rejoin the society and to come back to the normal life. It means that the personality getting under such sentence is forever lost for the society as first and foremost he has no stimulus to change and develop. Meanwhile I think that one of the most crucial tasks of the penitentiary system is to reform the society through its particular lost members. Of course, when the situation is totally hopeless, especially when the offense is coming from mental disorder, it sharpens the risks of reoccurrence, but again, some illnesses can be treated and should not become the enough ground for spoiling one’s life cut and dried. Therefore it was decided to provide at least chance for a young sex offender to be revised and thus to have hope to start a new life some day. Having a chance to be released back to the society, young people will have time to reappraise their lives, their values and views, and thus potentially overcome the problems which led them to the offence. If it was just a mistake, one should receive a chance to repent and try to compensate this mistake in future. Despite this cruel, abnormal and immoral behavior, there is still a chance that the offender will improve and become not only a normal member of the society, but maybe this will be the one who will save other dozen of lives serving as a doctor or a fireman, or do any other social good. Such sequence should not be excluded. That is why it is promising to conduct regular control over the juvenile sex offenders, and let them start a new life if they are normal.
Cohen, Andrew. “Dangerous Sex Offenders Can Be Imprisoned Indefinitely, Supreme Court Rules.”¯ Politics Daily. 17 May 2010. Web. 28 July 2011.