This paper aims to discuss the policy problem of low conviction rates for sex offenders, specifically to first time offenders. There are many causes associated with this issue, and the most common will be analyzed and discussed, along with possible alternative measure that can be taken to reduce the lack of justice for this population, with the ultimate goal of reducing sexual violations as it will be clear what the punishment is for those actions. This is not to say that sex offender registration and notification policies do not have a place on the policy agenda, but that underreporting of these crimes plays a big role in the policy level and attention given to the ...view middle of the document...
, 2014). However many people do not know how to find and access such information, until it is too late, and the data for this publicly available information are conducted from phone surveys twice per year by the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC) (Harris et al., 2014), so they are not very detailed nor up to date. The SORN system is now prevalent in the US (Harris et al., 2014).
This system however does not take into consideration arrests for sexual offenses, only convictions, and as discussed by Sandler et al., 2014, the amount of arrests is disproportionate to actual convictions. The lack of convictions is due in part to lack of evidence, especially for younger victims where evidence may be hard to obtain, and then there is the power held by people with wealth that are not persecuted properly, along with lack of rape kits being processed, discussed below, and other underreporting measures. Following this, there was a concern that sex offenders were evading the monitoring system, though it is questionable that it took so long to reach that conclusion; the 2006 Adam Walsh Child Protection and Safety Act (AWA) was then developed with the purpose of greater uniformity within the SORN system (Harris et al., 2014).
Approximately 20% of adult women and 1% of adult men have reported experiencing sexual abuse at one point in their lives (Black et al, 2011). Of the female rape victims, 37.4% were abused between the ages of 18 – 24, and nearly 43% were abused before the age of 18 (Black et al, 2011), and 7% to 11% of adolescent females ages 12 to 17 years old reported being forced to have sex (Shaw & Campbell, 2013). A more astonishing number is the fact that 12.3% of female rape victims, and about 28% of male rape victims were abused at age 10 and younger (Black et al, 2011). Research also shows that female adolescents are 4 times more likely to be sexually assaulted than older women (Shaw & Campbell, 2013). Consequences from sexual abuse include unwanted pregnancies and gynecological complications due to forced sex; increased risk of obtaining sexually transmitted diseases; increased risk of depression and post-traumatic stress disorder; increased risk of suicidal tendencies; and social ostracization (Krug et al, 2002). With these atrocities concurrent in sexual abuse occurrences, the responsibility of preventing future detriment in society rests on the shoulders of the judiciary process.
According to Sandler et al., 2014, there are high arrests rates but conviction rates are dramatically lower (see Addendum). The fact of the matter is that despite the high number of sexual abuse occurrences, there is a disproportionately low amount of convictions for sexual offenders.
Who are these Offenders?
Unfortunately, there are common misperceptions as to who are considered sexual offenders. Participants were given a hypothetical scenario in which a neighborhood was cognizant of a resident previously arrested for committing...