Education Is The Best Defense
Young people, especially, need to know the laws that govern intimate contact. While sex education is taught in schools, it seldom engages youth in learning about what local, state, and federal laws prohibit, and what the legal ramifications of certain behaviors may be. Meanwhile, individuals under 18 years of age too often engage in activities that can result in lifelong sex offender registration, discrimination and ostracization, and possible incarceration.
Offenders and their families need to know their rights under the law. Legal technicalities and associated barriers to understanding certain restrictions often lead to “technical violations” by well-meaning individuals. We want former offenders to understand that they did not surrender their right to human dignity and the right to pursue productive goals in life. Education of parents, community leaders, lawmakers, and the public on which policies work to reduce sex offenses and recidivism, and which policies do not, is vital. Misinformation on this topic is rampant. Incorrect assumptions, sensationalist media-driven hysteria, and ill-conceived public policy make our society less safe.
When juveniles are found guilty of sexual misconduct, the sex offender registry can be a life sentence.
BY SARAH STILLMAN – One morning in 2007, Leah DuBuc, a twenty-two-year-old college student in Kalamazoo, began writing an essay for English class that she hoped would save her life. She knew that people like her had been beaten, bombed, shot at, killed. The essay aired details about her past that she'd long tried to suppress; by posting it on her class's server, where anyone who Googled her name could find it, she thought she might be able to quiet the whispers, the threats, and possibly make it easier to find a job. Her story, she warned, "is not a nice one, but hopefully it will have a happy ending."... Read more
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