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The Impact Of Megan's Law Essay

2307 words - 9 pages

According to a recent study by Bong-Kyun Park and Ju-Lak Lee (2013), there are is a fundamental misconception under which Megan’s Law was established. The belief was that sex offenders are likely to target strangers as their victims and implementing Megan’s Law is beneficial in that it gives public access of the sex offender records to anyone in the community. Park and Lee, however, discovered that over 50% of the victims who reported to the survey conducted were familiar with their offender and had known them in some way prior to the incident (Bong & Lee, 2013, p. 26). The study also focused on relationships between sex offenses that occurred and the vicinity in which they occurred in. The main focus of this factor was to determine whether banning sex offenders from areas where children are likely to gather, such as schools or parks, played any role in their criminal behavior. The study showed that less than 15% of sex offense cases took place near areas that were regularly visited by children (Bong & Lee, 2013, p. 29-31).
Megan’s Law has served as a dynamic source of information for law enforcement and community members. It has given community residents the ability to stay informed and be aware of their surroundings, especially to families who have young children. The requirements under the law have also allowed the federal government and separate states to keep statistical records of convicted sex offenders and repeat sex offenders. While Megan’s Law provides the community with helpful information regarding sex offenses, it also takes a toll on offenders who are limited under it. Convicted sex offenders who have served their sentences and are now attempting to return to society successfully often find it very difficult to lead normal lives due to the impact that Megan’s law has on their lives.
Megan’s Law has had a tremendous impact on offenders who have been incarcerated due to sex-related crimes and are in the process of reentry. A study completed in Florida sampled 183 male sex offenders, who were previously convicted, regarding their experiences upon returning to society after being incarcerated. Approximately 30% of the respondents stated that in addition to losing their jobs and homes, they received threats and were being constantly harassed (Levenson & Cotter, 2005, p. 52). Some had several instances of property damage but reported that they rarely encountered any types of physical assault. Those individuals explained that the treatment from the community had devastating effects on their cognitive behaviors and have caused stress, fear, and embarrassment. Some also stated that they became depressed from isolation and had a constant feeling of hopelessness. Approximately 10% of the survey respondents stated that Megan’s Law has had a fairly positive effect on them upon reentry and has encouraged them to stay motivated to maintain good behaviors. Some also stated that it improved their interpersonal relationships with...

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