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Pangloss

Where to put those darned sex offenders?

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Recently Floridians have caught the local legislation bug, thanks in part to the national reaction to the recent cases of young girls who were killed by repeat sex offenders. Communities all over Florida are imposing new "2500 feet" rules, that basically prohibit convicted sex offenders from living within 2,500 feet of any school, park, or other youth-oriented facility (day care, etc).

 

The problem is that 2,500 feet can be a really large radius in an urban or even suburban environment. Often schools or parks are only separated by a mile or so, leaving very little room in between for the sex offenders to find a place to live. And the laws are retroactive, so if you live in an area that becomes banned, you have no choice but to move. A recent study regarding the proposed ban in Miami Beach showed that the rule covered virtually the entire island that the beach is located on.

 

And of course once Miami Beach started to consider the ban, all the communities west of Miami Beach suddenly woke up and began to consider their own bans, under the assumption that all those sex offenders would move west as soon as the Miami Beach ordinance went into place. Last night my community approved a plan and it will likely become law this fall.

 

Just to give an idea of what the climate is like at the moment, at the council meeting last night, members of a local retirement community were up in arms because their area was excluded from the ban. Turns out their golf course is so large that it effectively kept them outside of the 2500-foot rule. So the council simply extended the ban to include their golf course. I guess it's kind of like a park, even though it's private and costs $250,000 per year to join....

 

So now my community, which is somewhat sandwiched between the Everglades and the coast, is effectively off limits to convicted sex offenders. I think there's a hammock or two out in the swamp they might have missed. Maybe they can live out there... no, no I guess that's Miccosukee tribal indian land. And every single municipality in Broward and Dade counties are powering forward with similar ordinances, lest they get stuck with Miami Beach's rejects.

 

It's a fascinating case of NIMBY, and certainly an understandable one, but I just cannot help but wonder where it's all going to lead. These people have to live somewhere. Aren't we effectively creating "internment camps" out of the tiny little zones they're allowed to live in?

 

I'm not quite sure what to think of it all. Obviously steps have to be taken, but these are the kind of steps that are really difficult to fall back from, even if tracking technology advances to the point where these laws might not be necessary. Who's going to vote to recind them?

 

(Not to change subjects, but this is the kind of thing, by the way, that I like to bring up when the far right starts screaming about "judicial activism". We haven't fully thought this out, and there's been no serious debate or consideration of all points of view. But we're going to implement it anyway. So what's a constitutionally-minded judge to do? Why do we keep putting them in this kind of position?)

 

Anyway, I'm curious what you all think of this stuff.

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If these sex offenders are considered a danger to children sufficient to impose a 2500 ft. law, why are they not still in jail?

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If these sex offenders are considered a danger to children sufficient to impose a 2500 ft. law, why are they not still in jail?

 

1. Judges can only sentence them to a term allowed by law.

 

2. They are often well-behaved in prison because their prey of choice is not available.

 

3. Psychological assessment of dangerousness does not extend sentences.

 

4. Most pedophile predators have behavior that cannot be changed. Only a life sentence would keep them up long enough to keep children safe. Remember, many of those pedophile priests were hardly young.

 

Obviously the solution would be one that imprisons such criminals for life. However, remember that when juries are aware that that such a penalty awaits the accused, they are more reluctant to convict.

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As far as i was aware, once youd served your time you are no longer a criminal, unless and untill the point where you reoffend, so the amount of inpeding on there libertys should be kept to a minimum.

 

i can see the point in placing certain restrictions on them: if someone kills a person by hitting them with his car whilst drunk then i can see the logic in banning him from ever driving again, even after his sentance has finished, and limiting sex-offenders contact with childeren definately seems to make sense. but still... where are they going to live? if we push them further out of our society, then surely they will feel less inclanation to abide by its rules?

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Part of the problem here is that the new rule includes not only the type that hang out around elementary schools with cameras, but also the type that pick up women in bars (i.e. fairly normal guys, they just picked up someone who turned out to be underage). I'm not saying the latter shouldn't be punished appropriately, I'm just saying that this 2500-foot restriction may be a little harsh on that category, since they're not the same threat to the community, or exhibiting dangerous behavior that never changes.

 

There could be cases where the one type might turn out to be the other type, but maybe we should at least include a clause in these new 2500-foot laws that would have a case worker evaluate these statutory rape offenders and decide if the restriction should apply to them.

 

Thoughts?

 

I'm trying to decide if I should write such an opinion up and send it to my council member, so I'd appreciate any further feedback about that kind of change. :)

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This is typical of a frightened public. Not to say they aren't justified in their fears, but their legislative reaction can be very damaging in the long run.

 

It reminds me of when, several years ago, the Baltimore media found out that their needle-exchange program was being exploited by some street entrepreneurs. They found that the "bring an old needle in, get a new one" system was being used by a few scroungers to collect hundreds of needles for exchange. The fresh needles were then sold by the scroungers to the drug-users for a dollar each.

 

The public thought that was just awful, not what the programs was for at all. What they failed to realize was that these scroungers were reaching people who never would have found the will to exchange their needles without the scroungers. The program was a success because of the scroungers. But the public almost messed the whole thing up with their knee-jerk reactions. Later the needle program went on to use these scroungers to inform the drug community of clinics and other programs available to them, and the aims of all the programs were better met because of it.

 

I don't know what the solution is for Florida, but I doubt any real good will come of this 2500-foot rule. I'll bet it costs the state a bundle in litigation.

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i say, stop them from having jobs as teachers etc, but let them live wherever.

 

if the parent is worried about theire childeren, then they should drop them off and pick them up from school rather than letting them travel on there own, or give them the 'dont go off with strangers' talk.

 

anyway... all that the above legislation will achieve is that theyed have further to walk if they wished to reoffend.

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That's one of my concerns at the moment, that we'll go to all this trouble only to see it all overturned by the courts (with even more of our local judges showing up on Bill Oh'Really), further polarizing the political climate of this area, and doing absolutely nothing to protect children.

 

But (as you may have noticed) I'm a huge believer in compromise. I'm wondering at the moment if the above modification I mentioned (having the ban only apply to "Predators", e.g. category 3 of our database, and/or having a case worker decide of the other categories need to be allowed on a case-by-case basis) is a reasonable compromise.

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1. Judges can only sentence them to a term allowed by law.

 

2. They are often well-behaved in prison because their prey of choice is not available.

 

3. Psychological assessment of dangerousness does not extend sentences.

 

4. Most pedophile predators have behavior that cannot be changed. Only a life sentence would keep them up long enough to keep children safe. Remember' date=' many of those pedophile priests were hardly young.

 

Obviously the solution would be one that imprisons such criminals for life. However, remember that when juries are aware that that such a penalty awaits the accused, they are more reluctant to convict.[/quote']

 

I just think that a jury would convict for life if the pedophile was one of those who preyed on young children.

 

If the guy picks up someone in a bar who happens to be under the age of consent but looks 22 that is a little different. I think the jury can sort that out. But if these bozo's are the type who are out looking for little children of 8 and 9 years old, then what is wrong with life in prison? They are not going to get over their affliction and therefore they will always be a danger to kids.

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i say' date=' stop them from having jobs as teachers etc, but let them live wherever.

[/quote']

 

I wasn't going to reply to this, but this is my pet peeve. I wish I was a judge.

 

Sorry Dak, I don't agree. If a sex offender is found guilty of a sex offense (sex that is non-consensual and forced) with an adult and have no history of being a pedophile, then I say they belong in jail for a long time. Even on the first offense.

 

If the sex offense involves a minor, and the offender is an adult, then I say life imprisonment.

 

If the sex offense involves the rape and murder of a child, then I say they should be placed at a level of 6.66 feet underground. (the mark of the beast)

 

The teen girl in Aruba for example will never be found. She was raped and murdered on the beach and brought out to sea. She was an honor student that died in the hands of bunch of low lifes.

 

Sorry for being so mean.....but this is my dark side.

 

Bettina

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I agree that if the crime is seriouse enough, the perpetrator shouldn't be let out. but for the ones that are, i think we just have to accept that theyve served there time, and cleaned there slate.

 

If its that likely that theyed reoffend, then they just shouldnt be let out. if there going to reoffend, dont let them out. if theyre not, let them out and let them live where they want.

 

i know its not as black and white as that; but i kinda get the feeling that when legislature like this is introdused, its done so in an attempt to satisfy both approaches. legally, they have to be let out 'cos theyve served there scentance. but lots of people dont want them out. solution? let them out, but strip away there freedoms. both sides are kinda satisfied.

 

i dont have that much sympathy for the perpotrators for there loss of freedom, but i do think that its a hypocritical way of dealing with it... what is the legal system doing, leting people who will reoffend out of jail, or restricting where people who arent likely to reoffend live?

 

anyway, this is supposed to be there second chance at being law abiding citisens. why make it harder for them by shunning them?

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(taken out of context)....anyway, this is supposed to be there second chance at being law abiding citisens. why make it harder for them by shunning them?

 

What you said above is correct and I understand where your coming from.....but only if we live in a perfect world, and ONLY if the offense does not involve a minor. The offense against minors will more often than not lead to a repeat offense. There is a hard lesson being learned everyday. Everytime I read the news about a girl being killed, it seems that it was at the hands of a repeat offender.

 

This means that the court psychologists are not capable of determining who should be let out and who should stay in. Either they are incompetent, being pressured by the lawyers, or this whole psychology field is plain bogus which I am tending to believe lately.

 

I don't want to hijack this thread, but how do you tell the difference between a "cured" child sex offender, and one who is not. They are very good actors as you can see by the amount of children being killed. How do you tell...

 

and....I'm not fighting with u dak... :)

 

Bettina

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repeat sex offenders

They should also be kept further from the neighborhood with any children in it.

If these sex offenders are considered a danger to children sufficient to impose a 2500 ft. law, why are they not still in jail?
Or executed?

The official reason for both of these is to serve as deterrents (jail or related could also supposedly be used to rehabilitate), and could not be used keep them away from others, especially when there are many other ways to do so. And although I am fiercely conservative, I still see killing another person when they are helpless as wrong, imagine that.

...and limiting sex-offenders contact with childeren definately seems to make sense. but still... where are they going to live?
This is typical of a frightened public.

Its there problem, they have been shown to be a danger to a part of our population that is relatively helpless to defend itself.

Sorry for being so mean.....but this is my dark side.

I find this confusing, if you suggest something then say it's wrong, do you support it or not??

if there going to reoffend, dont let them out. if theyre not, let them out and let them live where they want.

How are we supposed to know if they will or not?

, but strip away there freedoms

People give up some of their rights when they commit crimes, it's true as well for all other crimes.

why make it harder for them by shunning them?

We are making it harder for them to commit a crime, a crime they have commited more than once.

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They should also be kept further from the neighborhood with any children in it.
Which neighborhoods don't have children somewhere?
The official reason for both of these is to serve as deterrents (jail or related could also supposedly be used to rehabilitate), and could not be used keep them away from others, especially when there are many other ways to do so. And although I am fiercely conservative, I still see killing another person when they are helpless as wrong, imagine that.
I didn't understand the first sentence at all, and the second one sounds like liberals don't mind when the helpless are killed.
Its there problem, they have been shown to be a danger to a part of our population that is relatively helpless to defend itself.
I'm unsure why you quoted part of my post for this (and I would appreciate it if you credited the quotes from multiple posters). My point was the knee-jerk legislation, which actually has very little to do with sex offenders, and more to do with a media-whipped public.
People give up some of their rights when they commit crimes, it's true as well for all other crimes.
How would you feel if you'd supposedly paid your debt to society, decided to turn over a new leaf and yet found that legally you couldn't live where you wanted to?
We are making it harder for them to commit a crime, a crime they have commited more than once.
I guess if someone really wanted to commit a crime they had shown a proclivity for, proximity to the victim is not necessarily an issue. They would probably just case their victims from a moving vehicle.

 

I personally think that sex offenses involving children should be dealt with in the harshest manner possible. It's not enough that someone who is attracted to pre-pubescent children and can't control themselves be given a standard prison sentence. Most pedophiles can control themselves. When they cross that line, I'm afraid there is no redemption.

 

As for the teens, my heart goes out to them, but teens are a bit more capable of defending themselves than children are. They can stay in groups and shouldn't be as easily led astray. An 18-year-old girl traveling in Aruba who goes out drinking alone till 2 am with locals she just met? I'm not saying she deserved to meet with foul play, but this is hardly an good example of what Floridians are up in arms about, but it still feeds their outrage as if it happened in their neighborhood.

 

I think this reaction has been fueled by a media that makes money when they tell us about every abduction across a country of 300 million people. They make it seem like it's everywhere.

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I find this confusing' date=' if you suggest something then say it's wrong, do you support it or not??

[/quote']

 

I never suggested something then said it was wrong. If your reffering to the words "Sorry for being so mean.....but this is my dark side", it is meant to appease the posters who think I'm too hard on criminals.

 

You should know me by now. I'm never lenient when it comes to little kids and kids my age.

 

Bettina

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As for the teens' date=' my heart goes out to them, but teens are a bit more capable of defending themselves than children are. They can stay in groups and shouldn't be as easily led astray. [/quote']

 

I agree, but that shouldn't be an answer to the failure of the court system though. I never go out alone because of just that......

 

An 18-year-old girl traveling in Aruba who goes out drinking alone till 2 am with locals she just met? I'm not saying she deserved to meet with foul play' date=' but this is hardly an good example of what Floridians are up in arms about, but it still feeds their outrage as if it happened in their neighborhood.[/quote']

 

I know....and that bothered me too. They said she was a good girl, but she was known to be naive.....

 

I think this reaction has been fueled by a media that makes money when they tell us about every abduction across a country of 300 million people. They make it seem like it's everywhere.

 

I disagree with you big time on this...... Because of the justice system it IS everywhere......and I'm glad the press puts everyone of them in the news. I don't care if they make money on it or not. I want parents to be reminded to keep there kids on a tight leash and watch them even on there own porches.

Just my opinion.

 

Bettina

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My point was the knee-jerk legislation, which actually has very little to do with sex offenders, and more to do with a media-whipped public.
I agree.....1st of all, the 2500 foot rule doesn't make any sense at all, I doubt the law makers know what 2500 feet is. Then to make a ridiculous law even more ridiculous, they make it retroactive. Then they seem to lump the pedophiles with the statutory rape boys, which compounds the nonsense.

 

If these pedophiles have been released into the public, then presumably they've paid their debt to society, if this is so, then let them live where they want to live. If the good people of Florida don't like it, then let them invoke the final solution......execute the pedophiles, or keep them penned for life.

 

I'd imagine the liberals of Broward county have bleeding hearts when it comes to the rights of criminals, just don't let that criminal come within 2500 feet of my house.

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I disagree with you big time on this...... Because of the justice system it IS[/i'] everywhere......and I'm glad the press puts everyone of them in the news. I don't care if they make money on it or not. I want parents to be reminded to keep there kids on a tight leash and watch them even on there own porches.
There is no doubt that an aware parent makes a safer environment for their children. But the media is guilty of pandering to the shock mentality that is so prevalent in the US these days. And the danger to all of us overshadows the danger just to our children, imo, because fearmongering drives us further apart as communities, making us distrust even our own neighbors. It is one thing to be cautious and aware, it is completely different to be suspicious and distrustful to the point of unstable, explosive paranoia.

 

It's not just stories about abductions that the media distorts. I was in San Francisco last weekend and a native there told me how the national press exaggerated the whole Loma Prieta earthquake there in 1989. I remember seeing the Bay Bridge shaking and a section collapse. I also saw fires seemingly raging across the city. There were a total of 22 fires but most were extinguished before the media showed up. What they showed us was three houses on fire in a single neighborhood, shot from all possible angles to make it look like different homes, and then aired every 20 minutes on national television. It kept people riveted to their TVs and it kept ratings at peak dollar for longer than necessary. It was also a complete distortion. They had things under control very rapidly for such a major earthquake. But stories about efficient city systems doing their jobs effectively don't sell as well.

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There is no doubt that an aware parent makes a safer environment for their children. But the media is[/i'] guilty of pandering to the shock mentality that is so prevalent in the US these days. And the danger to all of us overshadows the danger just to our children, imo, because fearmongering drives us further apart as communities, making us distrust even our own neighbors. It is one thing to be cautious and aware, it is completely different to be suspicious and distrustful to the point of unstable, explosive paranoia.

I'm not being sarcastic because your a lot smarter than me, but I want to know how you believe the media should report a child abduction and the progress that is being made in his/her recovery.

 

(taken out of context) It's not just stories about abductions that the media distorts.

I agree about the fire and flood stories, but give me some example of how the media "distorts" stories of abductions. I don't see any of that but maybe I'm not looking.

 

Sorry to knock this off topic.

 

Bettina

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Which neighborhoods don't have children somewhere?

I don't know, but there should be somewhere. It seems necessary to keep children safe, and if so then their rights are second to these children, having committed an offence involving children repeatedly.

I didn't understand the first sentence at all, and the second one sounds like liberals don't mind when the helpless are killed.

Not at all. The first part was about how prisons are not for keeping people away from others, and killing (execution) is not for getting rid of people, they are in place primarily to be deterrents (and prisons are for reforming or rehabilitating criminals in most cases I believe), so others might be more wary of committing the crime involved. The second part was not at all accusing liberals of killing anyone, in fact I was claiming that conservatives kill criminals in cold blood, and I disagree with this even though I am very conservative. Very sorry, I just got back from a trip and things that I typed seem a little muddled, completely my fault.

I'm unsure why you quoted part of my post for this (and I would appreciate it if you credited the quotes from multiple posters). My point was the knee-jerk legislation' date=' which actually has very little to do with sex offenders, and more to do with a media-whipped public.

[/quote']

I usually don't do so many quotes, but I will be sure to credit them from now on. I was pointing out that even though the media can get out of control and the public can go crazy on some things (as well as ignore others that are important) it is still important that those children are protected. I do agree with you on a lower level, because even those whose previous sexual crimes did not involve children, future ones might. I think that chances are good enough that we should take precautions.

How would you feel if you'd supposedly paid your debt to society' date=' decided to turn over a new leaf and yet found that legally you couldn't live where you wanted to?

[/quote']

Even though this can happen, we are talking about repeat offenders and about a serious type of crime that has the potential to ruin other's lives.

I guess if someone really wanted to commit a crime they had shown a proclivity for' date=' proximity to the victim is not necessarily an issue. They would probably just case their victims from a moving vehicle.[/quote']

I think that if the repeat offender is further away then the chances would be reduced.

I think this reaction has been fueled by a media that makes money when they tell us about every abduction across a country of 300 million people. They make it seem like it's everywhere.

I agree that these make good stories (by good, I do not mean positive, you know what I mean) but that does not mean that they do not happen.

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Just to update this, I wrote my council member and asked her to seriously consider making the rule only apply to category three predators, and not necessarily the "But she said she was 18!" variety.

 

I also wrote a local reporter who runs a weekly show on local politics and told him that the last thing we want is another Florida judge to show up on Bill O'Reilly and get labelled a "judicial activist" just because we can't seem to have a full and thorough debate before we go and pass legislation.

 

I am sympathetic to Bettina's (et al) position, though, and I'm willing to give the statute a try for the "predator" types. We don't seem to be having a lot of luck with other approaches.

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I have two main thoughts on this.

 

First, is that it doesn't seem to be just a matter of criminality

and knee jerk reactions.

 

e.g.

We have councils that exclude mentally ill people,(they can't do it directly

as it would be illegal under .au law, but they refuse to allow construction

of residential rehab facilities for patients).

 

This is on the grounds that having mentally ill people would,

"Lower the tone of the neighbourhood ... and affect property prices"

Classic NIMBY syndrome.

 

It's amazing how much prejudice can laundered by property price

concerns.

 

I mean an ABI case, for example, isn't a "bad" person, yet they suffer

just as much exclusion and revulsion as a criminal.

 

You get such stupidity as, "We're afraid for the children at the local

highschool." You'd think they were dracula the way people carry

on, in my experience the nurses need to escort them because the ABI patients are more in danger from the school children. (also some don't

understand the concepts of roads, navigation, and traffic lights).

 

Second, is that the conflation of serious sex offenders with misunderstandings is stupid beyond belief.

 

There is all the differance in the world, between a intoxicated bloke

who goes to bed with a 15 year old and 11 months sexually mature

and very willing girl, who he picked up in an 18+ nightclub that she got into with her sisters ID.

 

And the type of deformed character that gets off on baby rape.

 

And if the law and legal system don't reflect that, then the law is a donkey.

 

IMHO

The former is a misdemeanor which, if anything, a fine would

suffice for.

 

The latter should be restrained in either a criminal jail or a ward for

the criminally insane, depending on wether they are considered

insane or evil. For life if need be.

 

Cheers.

 

Pangloss:

Just to update this, I wrote my council member.

 

Let the board know if you get a reply and (if you do) wether it

was a meaningful response or some sort of motherhood statement.

 

Cheers.

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What you said above is correct and I understand where your coming from.....but only if we live in a perfect world' date=' and ONLY if the offense does not involve a minor. The offense against minors will more often than not lead to a repeat offense. There is a hard lesson being learned everyday. Everytime I read the news about a girl being killed, it seems that it was at the hands of a repeat offender.

 

This means that the court psychologists are not capable of determining who should be let out and who should stay in. Either they are incompetent, being pressured by the lawyers, or this whole psychology field is plain bogus which I am tending to believe lately.

 

I don't want to hijack this thread, but how do you tell the difference between a "cured" child sex offender, and one who is not. They are very good actors as you can see by the amount of children being killed. How do you tell...

 

Bettina[/quote']basically, i see the 2.5km exclusion zone as a crappy, hipocritical compromise that CANT be good, reguardless of the individual perpetrator and wether or not they have rehabilitated.

 

If the prison centanses are increased, then many people who are rehabilitated will be kept in jail longer, but also many who might reoffend are kept in jail longer. the rehabilitated ones are sacrafised in order to keep the non-rehabilitated ones inside. Im not saying that this is what should be done, but (IMHuO) the reasoning is sound.

 

If the prison centanses are decreased, then many who might reoffend are let out early, but also many who are rehabilitated are let out and given a second chance. the increased risk of a reofence is taken in order to better rehabilitate the rest. im not saying that this is what should be done, but (IMHuO) the reasoning is sound*

 

If the analysing-techniques of wether or not a criminal will reoffend are improved, and people are let out early or kept in longer based on these anlaysises, then, by-and-large, those who would reoffend would be kept in longer to prevent reoffense, and those who have rehabilitated would be let out earlyer, to give them a second chance. A few mistakes could be made (a few people who are likely to reoffend being let out early, a few rehabilitated people being kept in longer), but that could be accepted for the benifits of a case specific system. again, im not saying that i personally support this approach, but the reasoning (IMHuO) is sound.

 

If offenders are prohibited from living within a 2.5km radius of a school, then the rehabilitated ones will not be able to live where they want (pointless), and the ones who are likely to reoffend will, at the most, have to walk further. if the prospect of a lengthy jail sentance isnt an adequate deterrant, then i doubt a small walk will make the difference between desciding to reoffend and not.

 

as far as i can tell, the above approach has no benifit, only down-side. hense why i think that the reasoning is crappy.

 

and....I'm not fighting with u dak... :)

 

I know ;)

 

***Slapps bettina for worrying too much***

 

 

---------------------------------------------------------------------

* although i think that this is truer of generic crimes: due to the nature of the crime in question, i personally think that this option should be avoided in the cases of the worst paedophilia.

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I'm not being sarcastic because your a lot smarter than me, but I want to know how you believe the media should report a child abduction and the progress that is being made in his/her recovery.
Perhaps in the end it is our own morbid curiosity that is at fault, but I feel that the media plays up each and every child abduction case on a national stage. If the child is being sought nationally, or the suspect is still at large and authorities are hunting for them, I can see the reasons for such coverage.

 

More often than not, as with most of the recent cases, the police know the boundaries of the search and they are quite small. Why then the constant media blitz? Rather than being a lesson to keep better care of our children, I think this type of attention actually encourages copycats and those who crave the limelight. And worse, it makes everyone distrustful and overly sensitive to dangers that are being over-dramatized to boost ratings.

 

The stories are awful. I feel very sorry for the victims. As I stated earlier, I think crimes involving such helpless victims should carry an extra penalty due to their impact and the seemingly wasted efforts toward rehabilitation. But again, the media is capable of focusing on each occurence as it happens all over the country, with the random assurances of probability you get when dealing with hundreds of millions of people. They make it seem like it's happening every day with more and more frequency. And if it is becoming more prevalent, I think we have the media to blame for giving some of these sickos the attention they crave.

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