Do these laws work?

There is perhaps nothing more frightening for a parent than the prospect of a child
being abducted by a stranger motivated by sexually deviant intentions. Such cases
receive extraordinary media attention, and though they are, thankfully, rare events, they
strike a chord of anger and fear in all of us. The most unfathomable of such crimes are
those perpetrated by previously convicted sex offenders, leaving us shaking our heads
and wondering “how was this person permitted to victimize another child?”
Protecting children from repeat sexual predators has become a priority for U.S.
lawmakers over the past two decades. In order to monitor known sex offenders more
closely in an effort to prevent them from reoffending, a panoply of federal, state, and
local laws now exists in the United States. Anyone convicted of a sexual crime is
required to register with law enforcement authorities so that their whereabouts can be
verified. This registration information is now available on publicly accessible Internet
sites, allowing citizens to easily check for registered sex offenders living nearby. Many
jurisdictions also prohibit known sex offenders from living or working near places where
children are commonly present. These community protection policies have become
some of the most popular and widespread crime prevention policies in contemporary
America. But do they work?
Community Protection


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