Is Tracking Sex Offenders Effective? Essay

3755 words - 16 pages

Tracking and monitoring released sex offenders have been a problem for many years. This research paper will give insight into the different approaches to tracking and monitoring sex offenders in the community from the local and national sex offender registry to GPS tracking. It also shows the perception of safety in a small scale community. Many laws are set into place to manage sex offenders after they are released from prison, but what is the effectiveness of programs set in place for the safety of victims and the community?
Keywords: sex offenders, monitoring, tracking, registry, residency restrictions, safety

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The federal government believes that they are securing the safety of individuals by putting these laws in place, but on the other hand, many individuals don’t feel safe in their community because of sex offenders in close proximity of their homes. Consequently, sometimes these laws can ultimately impact communities negatively in ways that can undermine their intended goals of safety for the victims, sex offender and their families. Many laws are set into place to manage sex offenders after they are released from prison, but what is the effectiveness of programs tracking sex offenders for the safety of victims and the community?
United States Sex Offender Laws regarding Registration
Federal sex offender laws are sparked by the public’s fear and perception of sex offenders. Richard Tewksbury and Elizabeth Ehrhardt Mustaine (2013) wrote in “Law-Enforcement Officials' Views of Sex Offender Registration and Community Notification” that, “There is tremendous public fear regarding sex offenders and sex crimes. Thus, there are more laws aimed at apprehending, convicting, punishing, and managing sex offenders than there are laws directed towards any other type of criminal” (Tewksbury & Ehrhardt Mustaine, 2013).
Sex Offender Registration and Public Notification Laws
Notification and community education are two main ways of ensuring the information gets out about sex offenders in the community. Megan’s law was established in 1996 and exists solely for the purpose of providing a means of protecting the public, especially children, of victimization by sexual offenders. This is accomplished by tracking the whereabouts of convicted sexual offenders and providing notification to the public of the presence of sexual offenders in their community. (Office of Sex Offender Sentencing, Monitoring, Apprehending, Registering, and Tracking, n.d.)
“SORNA refers to Sex Offender Registration and Notification Act which is title one Of the Adam Walsh Child Protection and Safety Act of 2006. SORNA provides a comprehensive set of minimum standards for sex offender registration and notification in the United States. SORNA aims to close potential gaps and loopholes that existed under prior law and generally strengthens the nationwide network of sex offender registration and notification programs” (Office of Sex Offender Sentencing, Monitoring, Apprehending, Registering, and Tracking, n.d.)
There are an array of laws established for the protection of victims and individuals in the community in addition to Megan’s law and the Sex Offender Registration and Notification Act. Some other laws that are set into place includes Pam Lyncher Act of 1996, Jacob Wetterling Act, Jacob Wetterling Improvement act of 1997 and Campus Sex Crimes Prevention Act 2000. The Pam Lyncher Act of 1996 helps the Federal Bureau of Investigations track the location of certain high risk sex offenders. (Registering and Tracking Sex Offenders, 2008, p.1). The Jacob Wetterling Improvement Act...

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