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Posted on June 8th, 2012, by

The problem of the sex crime prevention is one of the main challenges to the contemporary American justice system and law enforcement agencies. Basically, sex offenders represent a serious threat to the normal social life and well-being of people and, naturally, communities as well as law enforcement agencies want to control sex offenders even after their release from prison. Apprehensions and anxiety of the community as well as law enforcement agencies are quite comprehensible because sex offenders commit very specific crimes and cases of recidivism among this category of criminals are not rate. In this respect, it should be said that many of such offenders have serious mental and psychological problems that makes the necessity of the thorough control over their post-prison life practically a vital question.

It proves beyond a doubt that the life of the entire community, where sex offenders settle, changes considerably, if people are informed about the presence of sex offenders in their neighborhood. At the same time, it should be pointed out that the existing methods of crime prevention and prevention of cases of recidivism do not always work effectively in relation to sex offenders. To put it more precisely the contemporary justice system and law enforcement agencies have little opportunities for the application of really effective means. And the problem is not in the inability of the justice system and law enforcement agencies to apply effectively these means, but the problem actually is the lack of such means. As the matter of fact, the contemporary justice system and law enforcement agencies have nothing but few effective means that could be applied in relation to sex offenders.

This is probably why the public opinion concerning the measures undertaken in relation to sex offenders is quite negative (Witt, 2006). In fact, the public do not really trust in preventive measures of law enforcement agencies and people, as well as numerous organizations protecting rights of victims of sex offenders, insist on the necessity of informing the public about the presence of sex offenders within the community. Moreover, many people are convinced that prison is the best place for this category of criminals, though it is obvious that such an attitude is extremely biased and has little in common with the actual situation. At any rate, all people are equal in face of law and, therefore, all of them should be treated equally.

Nevertheless, the desire of the public to get informed about the presence of sex offenders within the community is widely supported by legislators and law enforcement agencies. As a result, nowadays, the public notification is considered to be one of the most effective preventive means which can help avoid cases of recidivism and the growth of the number of sex crimes. Among the variety of other means of prevention of sex crimes and recidivism, it is possible to single out the registration of crime offenders.

Basically, these two measures target at the informing the public about sex offenders and the establishment of the strict control over sex offenders within the community they settle in. At the same time, it should be pointed out that such measures have both advantages and disadvantages and it is very important to understand the extent, to which benefits of the registration of sex offenders and the public notification, can outweigh possible disadvantages and drawbacks of these measures. However, whether registration and notification are good or bad, these are the most effective way of the prevention of sex offenses and cases of recidivism at the moment.

Sex offenders management in the US

Traditionally, American people have a very negative attitude to sex offenders and they tend to protect themselves as well as their children from possible cases of sex offenses. It should be pointed out that the apprehension of the public concerning sex offenders naturally stimulates legislators and law enforcement agencies to implement legislative acts, regulations, develop new programs, which target at the protection of American people from sex offenses and at the minimization of the risk of recidivism among sex offenders.

At the present moment, specialists work on the problem of the development of an effective system of prevention of sex crimes and recidivism (Ryan, 1997). Historically, American legislative system and law enforcement agencies developed a variety of methods and approaches to the prevention of such kind of crimes. In this regard, it is worth mentioning the fact that traditionally American legislative and justice system developed very strict regulations in order to establish total control over the actions, life and movement of sex offenders within the country (Witt, 2006).

One of the most widely spread beliefs concerning sex offenders is the idea that they are more likely to commit their crimes repeatedly and the strict control is essential to prevent cases of recidivism.

In such a context, it seems to be quite natural that, in the past, American justice system and law enforcement agencies tended to isolate sex offenders for a long period of time. Basically, supporters of such a repressive approaches to sex offenders believed that the isolation of sex offenders for a long term can minimize their threat to the rest of society or, what is more, it could even totally eliminate such a threat (Miller et al, 1996). However, the recent findings and researches prove the contrary (Center for Effective Public Policy, 1996). In this respect, the analysis of statistics and the growing recidivism that could be traced in the US among sex offenders also indicates to the fact that the restrictive measures based on the isolation of sex offenders from the normal social life for a long period of time do not have such a positive effects, they were supposed to have.

In stark contrast, the growth of recidivism among sex offenders revealed the fact that their isolation is practically ineffective in the context of the prevention of recidivism and new sex crimes (CSOM, 2000). As a result, the development of the absolutely new approach to the prevention of recidivism among sex offenders was necessary. In fact, it was obvious that the isolation of sex offenders rather deteriorates the situation and makes them even more socially dangerous because, in the result of their isolation, they felt excluded from the society and viewed other people as hostile people that are the main source of personal problems of sex offenders and their oppressed position.

At this point it should be said that the isolation of sex offenders for a long period of time and their further exclusion from the normal social life resulted in their inability to get integrated into the life of the community they settled in (CSOM, 2000). In other words, they became outcasts and lost important social skills, which they probably lacked in the past and lost totally because of their exclusion. Consequently, they faced a serious problem with their socialization and, being excluded, they were in a really desperate position that forced them to commit crimes either to improve their socio-economic position or simply because such anti-social behavior became a norm for them. In such a situation, many specialists arrived to the logical conclusion that exclusive policies in relation to sex offenders did not lead to the prevention of recidivism and correction of sex offenders, but, on the contrary, became a powerful tool that simply forced them to commit crimes again (Doren, 2004).

As a result, the current situation is characterized by the absolutely different approach to the problem of sex offenders and prevention of recidivism. To put it more precisely, instead of exclusive measures, inclusive policies are being developed. In fact, one of the major directions in the development of the contemporary policy targeting at the prevention of sex crimes and decrease the cases of recidivism is the involvement of sex offenders in the community life (Witt, 2006). Naturally, such a strategy provoked a negative reaction from the part of the public, which was unwilling to accept sex offenders in the community (CSOM, 2000). In other words, people were unwilling to have sex offenders next door.

However, specialists (Ryan, 1997) prove the fact that the most effective way to manage sex offenders safely is the community management. What is meant here is the fact that, at the present moment, the management of sex offenders occurs in the community at different levels. In fact, this system implies that sex offender lives in the community and is controlled by the community. Naturally, it does not mean that a sex offender is absolutely uncontrolled after the release from prison, but this control occurs in the community environment and unites efforts of specialists, such as law enforcement officers, and the community itself.

On analyzing the current strategy of the prevention of recidivism among sex offenders, it should be pointed out that the community control and management occurs at different levels.

In this respect, it should be said that at the basic level effective sex offender management begins at the individual case management stage (CSOM, 2000). Basically, such sex offender management involves a case team that includes a treatment provider, a probation or parole officer, local law enforcement officers and, as a rule, representatives of victim’s organizations. In such a way, the sex offender is controlled not only by law enforcement professionals but also by the public through the involvement in the sex offender management representatives of victim’s organizations, who naturally attempt to protect rights of victims of sex offenders and prevent the repetition of similar crimes in the future. At this level, it is important that the team could work as a team. Otherwise, it would be not very effective. It is also worth mentioning the fact that the community has to be educated about sex offenders and about taking care of their own and their children’s safety.

Furthermore, the work of the team happens in the context of the city, town, or county’s criminal justice system, etc. In other words, the work happens in the communitarian context that implies the effective cooperation between all the services involved, including law enforcement agencies, justice system, social services, health care services, local government, public organizations, etc. (Marques, 2003). Naturally, the cooperation and work of all these services and agencies should be prepared that makes education of professionals as well as public focused on the sex offenders’ management.

At the same time, the sex offenders’ management and their life in the community occurs under the control of the established laws, policies, regulations and rules which function on the state level. In such a way, the control over sex offenders and the prevention of their recidivism on the local level heavily relies on the state laws, policies and funding decisions (Doren, 2004). This means that the effective prevention of recidivism and the normal integration of sex offenders into the life of the community occurs only on the condition of the support of such programs on the state level and, what is more, the implementation of such programs directly depends on the position of the state in this regard.

Finally, the upper level of the sex offenders’ management is the national level. In this respect, it should be said that the national organizations basically develop the strategic program and shape the national policy in relation to sex offenders and prevention of recidivism among this category of offenders (Durant, 2004). National organizations, associations and coalitions should be educated about sex offenders and their effective management. It is important to underline that the major goal of all these organizations at all levels, from the community level to the national level, is to create such conditions which could provide ample opportunities for the normal integration of sex offenders in social life of the community and, in the mean time, increase the safety of the community through the higher control over sex offenders from the part of community, which is aware of the potential danger and it is educated to manage sex offenders correctly.

Current trends

Obviously, the contemporary orientation of the justice system and law enforcement agencies on the integration of sex offenders into the normal social life determines, to a significant extent, the major trends that could be observed in the present epoch. In such a situation, it is important to underline that the community plays an extremely important role in the successful integration of sex offenders and the prevention of recidivism.

Taking into consideration the community-oriented treatment of sex offenders, it should be pointed out that one of the main trends in the sex offenders’ management is the collaboration of various agencies and organizations which are involved in the treatment and sex offenders’ management (Durant, 2004). At this point, it is necessary to underline the fact that sex offenders after their release from prison remain under a strict control of law enforcement agencies, the justice system, public organizations, including victim’s organizations, etc. At the same time, all these organizations and agencies functions in accordance with the established legislative norms, rules and regulations.

As it has been already mentioned above, the effective prevention of recidivism and the integration of sex offenders into the normal social life is possible only through their community integration and community control. But it is also necessary to remember that such a system can function perfectly well only on the condition when the cooperation implies the interaction of all the organizations, agencies and structures that are involved in the sex offenders treatment and the prevention of their recidivism. In other words, the cooperation should occur at all levels from the level of the community to the upper, national level. Otherwise, the effectiveness of the contemporary policy would be ineffective (Witt, 2006). Obviously, it is impossible to establish an effective system of the community control over sex offenders, if the state legislation does not properly regulate this procedure, or if the state legislation does not create the legal basis for the involvement of the community or public organizations, such as victim’s organization, in the process of the sex offenders’ management and prevention of recidivism by means of the community control through notification of the public about sex offenders, for instance.

Another important trend that could be observed in the current situation is the victim-centered approach (Edwards and Hensley, 2005). In fact, the ultimate goal of the integration of sex offenders into the normal social life, i.e. their integration into the community, and the prevention of recidivism among sex offenders is the protection of victims and the increase of safety of the community (Witt, 2006). Even though it may sound a bit paradoxical, but still through the integration of sex offenders into the community it will be possible to secure the life of the community and prevent cases of recidivism (Marques, 2003). In such a way, it is obvious that it is not sex offenders but mainly victims of sex offenders both actual and potential that are in the focus of attention of legislators, law enforcement agencies, and numerous public organizations.

The victim-centered approach implies that the efforts of all professionals, agencies and organization are oriented on the victims’ protection. In this regard, it is necessary to remember about the high risk of serious traumatic effects of sex crimes committed against victims that have already had such an experience in the past, or when victims of sex offenders are minors, i.e. children. Numerous researchers prove the fact that such crimes may undermine the psychological state of a victim and even threaten to his/her mental health (Center for Effective Public Policy, 1996).

 

In such a context, the victim-centered approach seems to be quite logical and worth further development through the growing public awareness of the existing threat of recidivism from the part of sex offenders living within the community and through the education of people living in the community about the sex offenders’ management.

In spite of the considerable shift in approaches to the prevention of recidivism among sex offenders and changes in their management after their release, there are still some trends, which remind about the past repressive and exclusive measures. In this respect, it should be pointed out that, at the present moment, the specific treatment may be applied to sex offenders. In fact, the specific treatment means that, while living in the community, sex offenders could undergo certain mandated procedures, which target at the increasing their safety for their social environment, decrease their aggressiveness and actually prevent from recidivism (Doren, 2004).

Basically, it is a mandated specialized treatment which is a part of the parole or probation condition. Actually, the specialized treatment constitutes an integral part of effective community supervision. In addition, such a treatment increases the confidence of the community in the control over sex offender from the part of law enforcement agencies as well as from the part of healthcare services, if the latter are needed. Anyway, the specialized treatment may be also helpful for sex offenders themselves, because along with certain limitations in their regular life, such a treatment can provide them with an opportunity to receive psychological help or professional help of healthcare specialists, for instance (Durant, 2004).

Finally, it is important to underline that all the policies that are applied to sex offenders should be consistent and clear in order to maximize the effectiveness of the prevention of recidivism and integration of sex offenders into the life of the community (Marques, 2003). At the same time, it should be pointed out that these policies should be clear for absolutely all people that are somehow involved in the process of the sex offenders’ management and prevention of recidivism. What is meant here is the fact that sex offenders should clearly realize how they are expected to behave and what actions they can or cannot undertake, while living in the community. On the other hand, the community, as well as law enforcement agencies, social and healthcare services, etc. should also be confident of the potential risks and threats as well as about their responsibilities in terms of the policies developed on the local, state and even national level. At the same time, the policies should be consistent, otherwise, their effectiveness would be doubtful, if not to say, insignificant. The latter would make the policies targeting at the prevention of recidivism and sex crimes not only ineffective or insignificant but simply dangerous since, if they do not work, sex offenders may go out of control (CSOM, 2000).

Sex offender community supervision, registration and notification

On the basis of the current trends in the prevention of recidivism among sex offenders, the community supervision concept was developed and implemented with certain differences depending on the legislation of a state where community supervision programs were implemented. In this respect, it is necessary to underline that the community supervision exists on the basis of two major elements, which constitute an essential part of the community supervision, registration and notification. In fact, without these two key elements, the community supervision could hardly exist while its effectiveness would be highly doubtful because it would be practically impossible to control sex offenders and trace the changes in their behavior and lifestyle, which are apparently crucial in the process of their return or integration to the normal social life within the community.

First of all, it should be said that the community supervision basically targets at the control of sex offenders and the assistance of the community to sex offenders in their efforts to change their life for better, becoming members of the community. In such a way, the community supervision, based on registration and notification, implies the control over sex offenders and supervision agents should fulfill the guiding function in relation to sex offenders and help them get integrated into the community (Polizzi et al, 2003). This is why the community supervision traditionally implies the intensive monitoring of sex offenders in order to evaluate their commitment and compliance with all imposed special conditions (Markes, 2003).

As a rule, the community supervision includes ensuring that a sex offender is actively engaged in and consistently attending an approved community-based treatment program (CSOM, 2000). It is important to keep sex offenders engaged in such programs because, on the one hand, they help to control sex offenders, while on the other hand, such programs produce a positive impact on their psychological state, sex offenders feel the support of other people and become more enthusiastic in their efforts to become active members of the community they live in. Also it is necessary to verify the suitability of a sex offender’s residence and place of employment (Edwards and Hensley, 2005). Basically, supervision agents should verify whether the residence and the place of employment cannot aggravate the psychological or mental state of a sex offender. What is meant here is the fact that some residential areas and places of employment may produce a provocative effect on sex offenders, for instance, in cases of sexual abuse of children, offenders are more susceptible to recidivism if they reside or work near schools or other places where they frequently meet potential objects of the sexual abuse, i.e. potential victims.

Furthermore, it is necessary to monitor the sex offender’s activities by conducting frequent, but unannounced field visits at the offender’s home, workplace, during his/her leisure time (Edwards and Hensley, 2005). In such a way, it is possible to maintain control over his/her behavior and keep the offender constantly aware of the fact that he/she is under the control of the community and that he/she is responsible for all his/her actions. In addition, it is extremely important to help the sex offender to develop a community support system (Polizzi et al, 2003). These means that the community should help the offender to make friends with other members of the community, develop familial relations, support the sex offender at the workplace encouraging him/her to the proper social behavior.

It proves beyond a doubt that the successful community supervision is impossible with the community notification and registration of the sex offender. In fact, these are basic components that guarantee that the community supervision program will work. At any rate, these are the most effective tools which can be used to verify the effectiveness of such program, changes in the behavior of the sex offender and control over his/her movement within the community or residential area and workplace.

The community notification legislation enacted around the nation mandates the law enforcement and other officials notify various community members when a convicted offender is living in their neighborhood (Edwards and Hensley, 2005). The scope of community members who are informed about the presence of the sex offender in their community may vary consistently depending on the state legislation and on the risk or potential threat of reoffending. In fact, the higher is the risk of recidivism the stricter the control and supervision over the sex offender will be and the more community members are notified about such potential risks and threats.

The methods of notification may vary depending on the jurisdiction. In this respect, it should be said that one of the innovative trends in this regard is the involvement of parole or probation officers in the community notification (Edwards and Hensley, 2005). This method facilitates the introduction of the offender in the community and decreases the risk of conflicts between the offender and the community. At the same time, in some jurisdiction, the community notification is used as an opportunity to involve victim advocates in the process of community education about the sex offender.

Obviously, the community plays a very important role since it makes the community, or at least, a part of the community aware of the presence of the sex offender in their neighborhood that naturally makes them conscious of the potential threat that such a person may represent for members of this community. Naturally, this stimulates people to become more careful and aware of potential dangers of the surrounding world. But in such a situation, the community notification would be useless, if there were no registration. To put it more precisely, it is obvious that in order to integrate the sex offender into the normal social life it is not enough just to inform the public that a convicted offender will live somewhere in the neighborhood. In such a situation a strict and reliable system of control over the movement and actions of the sex offender is needed. In this regard, the registration is the most effective tool of such a control, at the moment.

Basically, the contemporary legislation rules that convicted sex offenders are required to register with the police after their release from prison, parole or probation, and to provide a range of identifying information (CSOM, 2000). In such a way, a strict control over and surveillance of the sex offender becomes possible since, on receiving the identifying information the supervision agents, as a rule parole or probation officer, or any other law enforcement officer, get information about the residence, the place of employment of the sex offender and other significant information which can help to identify and find the sex offender in case of emergency, for instance, when a sexual abuse is committed in the community area. According to CSOM (1999, p.8) sex offender registration statutes are promoted as a means of:

–       Deterring offenders from committing future crimes;

–       Providing law enforcement with an additional investigative tool; and

–       Increasing public protection.

In fact, the registration can really facilitate consistently the control over the sex offender since his/her movement is limited and controlled by law enforcement agents, while the community security increases proportionally to the strengthening of the control over the offender’s movement and community life at large.

At this point it is worth mentioning the introduction of the Jacob Wetterling Crimes Against Children and Sexually Violent Offender Registration Act in 1994, which required all states to establish stringent registration program for sex offenders by September 1997, including the identification and registration of lifelong sexual predators (Polizzi et al, 2003). This act was designed to protect children and was named after Jacob Wetterling, an eleven-years old boy who was kidnapped in 1989. In addition to this law, the Megan’s Law, the first amendment to the Wetterling Act, was passed in October 1996 (CSOM, 2000). Actually, this law mandated all states to develop notification protocols that allow public access to information about sex offenders in the community.

In general, the public notification legislation was quite logical and it primarily targeted at the growth of the public awareness and the increase of the public safety. Basically, notification was focused on the increase of the public awareness so that parents would be able to inform their children about who is dangerous and whom to avoid. In addition, the notification of the public would reduce the likelihood that the sex offender would commit sex crime again, thus, cases of recidivism would be minimized, because everyone would know that he/she is a sex offender, and it would be more difficult for him/her to lure a potential victim (Polizzi et al, 2003).

In such a way, the contemporary legislation concerning the public notification and the registration of offenders leads to a dubious effect and contributes to the mutual impact of community and offenders on each other since due to notification and registration both the community and offenders are more conscious of potential threats and risks and their responsibility.

Sex Offenders Laws in California

The national legislation concerning sex offenders implies the introduction of the registration and notification, but each state have its own jurisdiction and specific legislative norm in regard to both registration and notification. In such a situation, it should be pointed out that different states had a different attitude to the introduction of registration and notification. In this respect, it should be said that such states as California were among the major proponents of the introduction of the registration and notification. Local specialists and law enforcement agencies , according to Sex Offender Registration in California (2005), underline that the introduction of the registration and notification contributed to the improvement of the current situation in the state and proved to be an effective means of the prevention of sex offenses. In such a situation, it is quite logical that specialists (Sex Offenders Registration in California, 2005) insist on the necessity of continuing the registration requirement, though there are certain apprehensions concerning its further effectiveness, since some law enforcement agencies argue that the registration and notification are not really effective in the prevention of recidivism.

Nevertheless, it should be said that California traditionally supported the introduction of Jacob Metterling Act and Megan’s Law. As a result, the state legislation concerning the registration of sex offenders may be considered as quite strict. At this point it is worth mentioning that the Penal Code paragraph 290 reads:

Every person described in paragraph (2), for the rest of his or her life while residing in California, or while attending school or working in California, as described in subparagraph (G), shall be required to register with the chief of police of the city in which he or she is residing within five working days of coming into, or changing his or her residence within any city, county, or city and county, or campus he or she temporarily resides (p.13).

Basically, the state legislation targets at the establishment of strict norms of the registration in order to maximize the security of the community since such an approach to the registration limits consistently the opportunities for sex offenders. Though, at the same time, it also limits consistently their freedom in the community.

Advantages of sex offender registration and notification

Obviously, the introduction of the sex offender registration and the public notification was determined by objective factors and it is the benefits of these measures that outweighed potential risks and threats of the community supervision of sex offenders. However, it is necessary to underline that fact that, while introducing the community supervision, registration and notification, legislators’ primary concern was the public security. It was logical that the interest of the community and each of this community were more important for legislators than interests and needs of sex offenders. This is probably why the contemporary legislation is more beneficial for the community rather than for sex offenders, though it would be a mistake to estimate that the latter are absolutely inferior in regard to the existing legislation.

On analyzing effects of registration and notification it should be said that many specialists (Lane, 1997) agree that they produce rather positive effects than negative because they increase the security of the community and assist to the integration of sex offenders into the normal life of the community. In this respect, it should be pointed out that among the major benefits of registration and notification, it is possible to single out the fact that they will promote greater interagency collaboration by law enforcement (Polizzi et al, 2003). To put it more precisely, the introduction of the community supervision and its control through the sex offender registration and notification stimulates the collaboration between different law enforcement agencies as well as other organization. In fact, the public notification, for instance, often leads to the involvement of victim advocates in the process of notification, while victim’s organization are often included into the supervision teams which receive the registration information of sex offenders. In addition, registration and notification also contributes consistently to the growing cooperation between law enforcement agencies, social and healthcare services. Basically, the registration and notification implies the necessity of such cooperation otherwise they will be ineffective as well as the community supervision at large. On the other hand, specialists (Polizzi et al, 2003) lay emphasis on the fact that the cooperation between law enforcement agencies, social and healthcare services, and the community is crucial for the successful integration and rehabilitation of sex offenders and prevention of recidivism.

As a result, it is possible to estimate that the registration and notification will develop stronger bonds between law enforcement and members of the general community with greater contact in educating the public about sex offenders (Freemon-Longo, 2004). The latter is particularly significant because educating the public is a very important factor that can decrease the risk of victimization and sex offenses and cases of recidivism. It should be pointed out that the more the public is informed about sex offenders the lesser is the threat sex offenders represent for the community. Moreover, the education of the public about sex offenders increases the security of members of the communities because they become more aware of the proper behavior, which could secure them and prevent from sexual offenses. This knowledge may protect the public not only from sex offenders they are notified about, but also from potential sex offenders that have never been convicted before.

As for sex offenders, it should be said that the registration and notification may be beneficial for them too, though such benefits are highly arguable. In fact, supporters of registration and notification argue that they are essential conditions of the effective community supervision, which leads to the integration of sex offenders into the community (Lundrigan, 2001). This means that due to notification and registration sex offenders may be accepted by the community and get a chance to find their own place in the normal social life, if their integration occurs effectively. The people awareness of their past and potential threat does not necessarily exclude them from the social life. Even though there life is limited, sex offenders still have a chance to change their behavior and lifestyle and prove their safety for the community. Ideally, the latter should lead to the their inclusion and further integration in the community that is the ultimate goal of supervision programs and this is the most effective way to prevent cases of recidivism among sex offenders.

Disadvantages of sex offender registration and notification

In spite of possible benefits and advantages of registration and notification, many specialists (Polizzi et al, 2003) indicate to the fact that the general effect of registration and notification is not really positive, especially in relation to sex offenders. Moreover, some specialists (Doren, 2004) even argue that registration and notification do not only fail to prevent recidivism and exclusion of sex offenders, but, in contrast, they can stimulate anti-social behavior of sex offenders that naturally results in cases of recidivism. It is also worth mentioning that registration and notification may produce a negative impact not only on sex offenders but also on the community as well.

On analyzing the impact of registration and notification on the community, it should be pointed out that among the negative effects of the public notification and the sex offender registration may be the formation of the false sense of security (Finn, 1996). What is meant here is the fact that people living in the community where the sex offender is introduced may be convinced in their security because they are informed about the presence of the offender and they are also conscious of the fact that the offender, being registered, is under the control of law enforcement agencies and the supervision team. However, such a sense of security may be erroneous since, whatever the measures are undertaken, there still remains a risk of careless behavior of some members of the community, especially children, that increases the risk of offense considerably, especially if the sex offender has serious psychological or even mental health problems. Also, the false sense of security may be the result of or lead to the development of friendly relationships with the sex offender that is naturally a positive trend, but only on the condition if the offender is really safe and does not represent a threat to the social order and health and well-being of other members of the community.

On the other hand, the analysis of the registration and notification from the point of view of the sex offender reveals the fact that the registration and notification are actually unjust or, at least, they put sex offenders into disadvantageous position compared to other convicted offenders. In such a context, it is even possible to speak about the discrimination and violation of their rights, though both registration and notification are legalized. In this respect, it should be said that the registration and notification is basically extended on sex offenders, while other offenders, who may commit other, very serious crimes that caused severe damage to their victims, are not supposed to undergo the procedure of registration and notification (Polizzi et al, 2003). However, other offenders may be not less dangerous than sex offenders. Consequently, it would be logical to enlarge the list of offenders that should be registered and notified, if such measures are applied in relation to sex offenders. In such a situation, it is not the nature of crime, i.e. sex offense, that should be the determinant criteria of the application of the registration and notification, but the severity of damages caused by the offender to his/her victim or victims (Freeman-Longo, 2004).

Furthermore, some specialists indicate to the decrease in reporting because, after the introduction of notification and registration many cases of incest remain unreported since members of the family were unwilling to undergo the procedure of notification (Lane, 1997). The reason of such a trend is obvious since notification will lead to the breach of very personal information which both the offender and his/her victim are unwilling to uncover. It is worth mentioning the fact that the decrease in reporting may lead to another negative effect of notification – the decrease of effectiveness of prevention of sex offenses and recidivism (Finn, 1996). Basically, the decrease in reporting leads to the avoidance of punishment. Being unpunished for sex abuse, the offender may continue his/her abusive practice making the life of his/her victim unbearable and, what is more, his/her aggression may be gradually directed on other members of the community. In such way, the high publicity of cases of sex offenses makes the notification undesirable not only for offenders but also for their victims that leads to the failure of the prevention of sex offenses by means of community supervision through the registration and notification.

Finally, it is necessary to remember about another negative effect of the registration and notification the cost of both procedures. Specialists underline that the registration and notification requires a continuous monitoring by law enforcement agencies, social services, public organizations, etc. to ensure offender compliance (Polizzi et al, 2003).

In fact, the goal of the registration and notification is not limited by receiving identifying information about the sex offender and notification of the public about the convicted offender, but they primarily target at the prevention of recidivism and sex offenses. As a result, the registration and notification will need the monitoring and the promotion to gain the public support of the community supervision. In such a way, the cost of such programs may become a serious burden for the community budget while, the impact of the registration and notification on sex offenders is quite arguable. For instance, some specialists (Finn, 1996) argue that the registration and notification limits consistently the ability of the sex offender to function in the community because he/she is constantly monitored and people in the neighborhood constantly view him/her as a source of danger for them or their children that rather leads to the exclusion than inclusion of the offender.

Conclusion

Thus, taking into account all above mentioned, it is possible to conclude that the current policies in relation to sex offenders are characterized by the lack of effective means to prevent recidivism and commitment of sex offenses. In such a situation, the development of the community supervision based on the registration of sex offenders and the public notification about the presence of convicted sex offenders in the community are the most effective measures that are currently implemented. In this respect, the legislative system stimulates the larger implementation of the registration and notification emphasizing its positive effects, such as increasing public awareness, thorough control, possibility of integration of sex offenders into the life of the community, etc. On the other hand, negative effects of the registration, such as the formation of the false sense of security, high costs, the limitation on sex offenders’ ability to function in the community, and others, are not really taken into consideration.

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