Friday, July 15, 2011

Perverted Justice

Outstanding article by Jacob Sullum at Reason on America's sex abuse laws, "the triumph of outrage over reason." Consider:
  • In some states the penalty for possessing child pornography is more severe than the penalty for second degree murder, and more severe than the penalty for sexually assaulting a child.
  • In many states most of the people on "sex offender registries" were convicted as teenagers for having consensual sex with younger teenagers. There are several married couples in which the husband is listed (for life) on the sex offender registry for having pre-marital sex with the wife.
  • In Texas a thousand people are listed on the sex offender registry (for life) for offenses committed when they were 12 or younger. You can get placed on the Texas' registry for having sex with your first cousin, but 25 states allow you to marry your first cousin.
  • Laws forbidding sex offenders to live or work near schools, day care centers, parks, public pools, and even bus stops make it nearly impossible for people on the registry to find places to live (even if all they did was have sex with a 15-year-old when they were 17).
  • All of this is based on the assumption that child molesters are compulsive and cannot control their behavior, so they are very likely to offend again; 90 percent recidivism is a figure many politicians have used in pushing for registry laws. This is completely false. Studies of sex offenders have found long-term recidivism rates of 6 to 23 percent. And more than 90 percent of people convicted of child molestation have no prior convictions.
Sensible Americans really need to get organized and start opposing these laws.

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