Saturday, September 02, 2006

Cancel The Burghomeister And The Flaming Torches...

The media loves to stir up the mob to rampage and kill the monster.

But, surprisingly, it can sometimes also produce a sensible piece about the controversial topic of how we deal with paedophiles:

Dr Christopher Lennings, a forensic psychologist who has worked with sex offenders, said Megan's Law had one critical drawback: "It would definitely drive people underground."

"Most people make the mistake of thinking that the primary risk to children is from sexual predators, but we know that the biggest risk comes from people they know."

US expert Jack Levin has warned Megan's Law pushes released offenders into a life of crime.

"It's like the feel-good law that makes you believe you are safe. It makes it more likely that they will reoffend. Many sex offenders refuse to register," he said.
and even manages to elicit calm reason from the usually hysterical Hetty:

Sexual abuse campaigner Hetty Johnson said she would throw her support behind a Megan's Law - if she thought it would work.

"I understand why people want it, because they don't feel safe and they don't have the confidence in the government to protect them. But it doesn't work -- it would just give a false sense of security," she said.

She is instead calling for much more stringent testing of sex offenders before they are considered for parole.

However, American expert Levin suggested:

...a "two strikes, you're out" approach: "They shouldn't be in anybody's neighbourhood. They should be incarcerated. If you're a repeat sex offender, two strikes and you're never out again."
leading to something I've said before and I'll say again - what exactly do we want to regard paedophiles as? Are they serial criminals or incurably mentally ill?

If they're serial offenders, why don't we treat other types of criminal behaviour in the same way? Why don't we demand that the serial burglar or car thief be locked away for life?

And if they're incurably mentally ill, why do we imprison them as ordinary criminals? Why aren't they in secure institutions for the criminally insane?

-- Nick

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