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Criminology

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Hypothesis: Not releasing from prison murderers, rapists, and child sex offenders will lower the crime rate

The legal system manages virtually all gender offenders with a mixture of confinement, community supervision and generalized treatment. Gender-based violence reflects and reinforces the inequities between men and women. It compromises the well being, self-esteem and self-sufficiency of the victim of the atrocity (Encyclopedia of violence, peace, & conflict, 1999). Any crime, be it robbery, rape or sexual assaults, murder has detrimental effects to the community and effectively to the individuals that it was committed.

Gender based violence in particular encompasses a wide range of crimes to humanity. These violations or crimes include; sexual abuse to children, rape, domestic violence, sexual assaults and numerous adverse customary practices such as female genital mutilation most pronounced in African countries. These abuses cause deep psychological scars; affect the health of the assaulted person including their reproductive health and in the worst of all case scenarios, resulting to execution of the victim.

A sex offender is any individual male or female who willingly or lewdly commits any lascivious act over or with the torso or body or any part of the torso, to a child with intent of arousal call or gratifications of lusts, passions or sexual desire of that person or that of the child (Leam, Browne, Beech, 2008). He can also be defined as any person who performs who commits a performance by reason of force, violence, duress, menace or by the imposition of fear of immediate and illegal body damage on the victim or another person. (Siegel, 2008).

Annually, there are 60,000 to 70,000 arrests on petition of child sexual assaults or felonies. This is on harmony to the United States department of justice. About only one hundred and fifteen of these assaults are performed by strangers. Also, there are about fifteen thousand to twenty thousand of forcible rapes. Most of the rape victims know their assailants. Seven out of ten of the female rape victims claim that the assailant was a close friend; others argue that it was a relative or even an acquaintance.

Research confirms that implementation of sexual assault and its consequences are always brutal and long lasting. Sexual violence has even more profound effects on the victim both directly and indirectly. These include; unwanted pregnancies, unsafe abortions due to the unwanted pregnancies, sexually transmitted diseases such as HIV which is a paramount concern and psychological issues resulting to damage of the mental well-being of the individual. Gender based violence is mostly chauvinistic in nature as it mostly serves to perpetuate male power and control. Its sustenance is more adamant to a culture of silence and ignorance to health consequences of an abuse. It is also barbaric in nature and, therefore, appropriate measures should be addressed to stop its effects on society.

Amber Hagerman was only nine years old when she was kidnapped and sexually assaulted. Her body was later found in a storm drainage ditch by a man walking his dog. Her story among others brought ultimate concern to both the society that she dwelled in and the government of United States of America as a whole. Sexual acts against children include possession, view or manufacture of child pornography, pimping of minors, and the luring of a child or children over the internet. A violent child molester and rapist who commit perversions acts to a child or adult constitute a unique class deemed, sexual violent predators, or SVP.

In, Criminology Research Focus by Karen T Froeling, she mentions the seriousness of crime to measure how serious a crime is to society or in judicial terms (Froeling, 2007 ). In the book, he is quick to note that Sellin and Wolfgang had a prior assumed definition of seriousness of the crime. They state that a crime causing body injury is more serious than one that leads to property loss, which in turn, is more than serious than property damage and so on. They constructed some crime typologies that could be ranked in terms of priori seriousness. Hansel (1987) found that there are nine categories that designate crime. They include injury done to the sufferers, violence involved, immortality, and sex relatedness and so on. These categories provide the framework of description of criminal acts or atrocities.

According to the book, some people treat rape as violence while others treat it as a sexual crime. Rape in its definition is a form of sexual assault involving sexual penetration of the victim by the assailant but without the victim's consent. One or more persons may conduct it. It may be conducted forcefully, under threat or with a person incapable of valid consent such as a minor or mentally handicapped individual. In any rape allegation, the absence of consent by the victim is crucial. Consent absence in rape or absence of consent is an integral part of any rape allegation.  Rape can be reffered to as one of the most serious crimes ever commited to a human by another human.

Statutory rape refers to sex with a person below the age of consent or preferably sex with a minor. Statutory rape based on the principle that the abusing adult is the criminal deviant taking advantage of a minor not capable of consent. It is punishable by severe criminal penalties and in some cases or jurisdictions by a life imprisonment term. After release from prison statutory rape offenders have a 90% repeat rate and only 3% of they ever got caught again. A 90% repeat rate is too high as compared to the effects that rape has on its victims. This means that little reform or even no reform was achieved by the assailant while he was doing time in  jail. This statistics only lead to one prior conclusion indicating that release of rape victims or victims of sexual offences is exposing the public at large to uncalled for perils.

Sex offender registration is a system in Canada, the United Kingdom and United States designed to allow government authorities to keep track of activities and residence of sex offenders including those that have completed their prison sentences. In some jurisdictions, information stored in the registry shared to the public via a website or through other defined means such as newspapers and community notifications. This is among one of the measures taken to protect the general public from the sex offenders because even after rehabilitation in prisons, sex offenders are apt to strike again. This leaves only the undefined option of leaving the offenders in prison.

This registered sex offenders are subject to certain restrictions that may apply even to housing. Registered sex offenders in parole or probation, maybe subject to restrictions not applicable to other parolees or probationers. Registered sex offenders are always under police scrutiny. They cannot live near a school or any educational institution. This shows the level of doubt that the government itself is fearful that the offenders may strike again to an innocent victim thus shattering their livelihoods. The process of each state keeping track of its offenders is both strenuous and uncalled for. Parole may be described as the release of prisoners where they prisoners give a word of honor to abide by certain restriction set unto them by their probationers. This process of the state keeping track of the offenders cannot be defined as overtly successful. New ways of evading the long arm of the government are evolving everyday and basically, the only way to keep track of an offender is by containing them in an enclosed place away from the general public. A prison serves as the only option with execution being the second best option available to dealing with offenders.

A proposed reform is that parole used to sensitize offenders not to carry out the offence again. It serves as a sentence out of prison. Primarily, a registered sex offender is still like serving a sentence but the issue is that he is serving it out of prison. According to the Community treatment and supervision of sex offenders, a chapter by Marcus Nieto; the term, sexual violent predator, refers to an offender targeting strangers, has multiple victims or commits crimes of a sexual nature. States have enacted sexual predator laws authorizing restraint and treatment of these types of assailants following conclusion of their felon sentences.

For a sex offender to be released on parole or as a registered sex offender certain rules or laws, must be considered. Most states require that a beyond reason of doubt standard be observed in criminal proceedings as a burden of proof for commitment. Other states require a lower standard of, 'clear and convincing evidence'. A few states require that the juveniles be civilly committed, while others allow that this commitment be of individuals who are 18 years and above. Others do not commit juvenile law. Californian law allows of a two year restriction episode after which the convict accredited to a hearing. Any crime has direct or indirect effects to the wellbeing of the society that falls victim of the crimes. Crime creates fear in society. Reduction of crime can only be achieved by reduction of assailants in our societies but not by their increment in society. Releasing assailants from prison to communities is simply like reducing the levels of crime into our societies.

Currently seventeen states in the United States of America have enacted laws that allow for civil commitment of sex offenders after release from prison. Most of the laws are enacted after the laws of Kansas and Washington which were the predecessor states to enact such laws  (Anthony, Leam, Browne, 2009). Most contain a clause that requires that a sex offender be hospitalized for treatment in a secure inpatient health facility. This further shows how the government is apt to protect its citizens from sexual offenders by creation of laws and regulations to monitor the activities of sexual offenders under its jurisdiction. States like Arizona, Illinois and Minnesota hospitalize some offenders where necessary but emphasize community healing or treatment programs.

Process of civil commitment for a felon can be summarized as; person convicted for more than one sexual felony and was scheduled for release from incarceration was assessed to determine whether he or she has achieved the statutory definition of a sexual predator. The assessment is done by the department of corrections or department of mental health staff or an assessment team established exclusively for achievement of this purpose. The assessment is then forwarded to the county prosecutor, state attorney general or district attorney where the offender was last convicted of the felony. County or state attorney makes the decision whether there is sufficient evidence to file a case. For cases filed the court determines whether there is a possible cause to believe that the individual or accused is indeed a sexual violator. Within a time range of up to one or two months or an equivalent of thirty to sixty days after determination of credible basis, an examination is held to find out if the individual is indeed a sexually violent predator or a sexual offender. The individual has the right to an attorney meaning that he has the right to a fair trial just like any felons. He also owes the right to a jury trial and examination of by an expert of his own choice.

If the jury determines that the person is indeed a predator, he is convicted to a state facility for control, care and treatment or simply he is convicted. He is held in the facility until the disorder has changed and he or she is safe to be at large or free or to be released to a less restrictive alternative or option.

In Texas, failure to follow the rules of release as a registered sex offender or predator results in the felon being sent back to prison. This like forces the felon to keep the terms of the registered sex offender operation that he is facing. The felon remains on civil custody transition or until his behavioral trend has varied to the amplitude that the individual is no longer in the ability to in a predatory act of sexual violence. He is entitled to a biennial review presented by a case manager to a judge in the determination that the demeanor irregularity has changed. If there is proof that it has, the judge sets a hearing before the jury to determine the outcome.

According to Marcus Nieto, senior research specialist of California Research Bureau, in The Impact of Residency Restrictions on Sex Offenders and Correction management practices; he states that banishment was a form of punishment practiced in the ancient Greece, Italy and England (creator). Even more recently the Soviet Union restricted inmates' rights upon release from a penal institution to a distance of a hundred and one kilometers from urban centers which resulted in a number of rural settlement formation. Today states or societies in the United States prohibit sex offenders from residing among them. This banishment has led to the formation of a difficult dilemma. The question is where can these offenders live and where can they be best supervised and receive treatment if deemed necessary.

Recidivism refers to as the habitual relapse to crime. Recidivism rates for the sex offenders happen to be lower than that of other offenders. For example, in California recidivism rates within two years after release for all first time parolees convicted for non sexual offences was at fifty five percent between the year 1996 and 2005. Parole revocation rates for all forty five percent between the year 1996 and 2005 (JUVENILE RECIDIVISM, 2008). Rapists are most likely to recidivist at a higher rate with a percentage of 18.9. This is according to a mental analysis of seventy five studies. This is an exceptionally high sexual offence rate compared to the extremely serious effects that sexual offence carries on their victims. Releasing of these assailants only serves to increase crime levels in our societies.

According to the, Juvenile Sentencing Guidelines Commission; state of Washington, during the fiscal year of 2005 Washington courts entered thirteen thousand one hundred and twenty seven dispositions. An approximate of seventy seven percent of the offenders was boys and approximately seventy six percent, nine thousand and thirty seven of the offenders had a history of one or more offences or felonies. Overall recidivism rate for boys added up to seventy seven percent and seventy two percent among girls. Offences were categorized eleven primary groups; assault, drugs, gross misdemeanor, manslaughter, murder1, murder2, property, robbery, sex and other felonies. This shows or portrays that the recidivism rate for a juvenile to be high, therefore, creating a suggestion that the assailants had better of remained in jail or custody. These Simply portrays that, being in custody simply did not work out for any of this convicted juveniles and their staying in remand was simply the only way of preventing them from committing the crime over and over again.

In the year 2008, Indiana recorded a juvenile recidivism rate of 35.9 percent. There were a total of one thousand four hundred and ninety three releases as a total of the juvenile offenders released from custody (Siegel, 2008). There were five hundred and sixty three returns, of which two hundred and seventy three of them were juvenile while the others were adult. Juvenile offenders whose offences were termed as serious were more than likely to return to incarceration. Only 3.6 percent of identified juvenile sex offenders who were released in the year 2005 returned to the Indiana Department of correction for commission for a new sex offence (JUVENILE RECIDIVISM, 2008).

The ultimate goal for any juvenile released from conviction is for them to remain free from any crime and never get rearrested as adult. Of the one thousand four hundred and ninety three juveniles released in the year 2005, 72.9 percent of them or one thousand one hundred and eighty two of them resumed to the society as honest individuals clean from any type of crime.

It is safe to assume that according to the records placed by various penal institutions a safe number of juvenile released from the penal institutions end up re-committing the same felonies that they were initially charged for. Some of them though end up committing a different crime from the crime they were convicted for and were, therefore, convicted for the felon that they have committed.

Up till now, the most heinous of sex crimes committed by sex offenders lay in support to the myth or folklore that nothing works in rehabilitation of a sex offender or assailant. This context or folklore ignores an ongoing effort through research documenting what actually works for whom and in what establishment or context. Policy alerts call on attention to some of the literature and urges for new legislation of sex offenders, both criminal and civil justice be guided by this new research and by further expert consultations (Siegel, 2008) (creator).

Sex offenders are now at the fore front of interchange between mental health or stability and the law. Arrests of sexual offenders are usually high profile thereby attracting the attention of the pubic and therefore, demand quick action by the law enforcers. While the controversial question of whether there should be application of justice or application of punishment for the offender who committed the felony still stands, application of justice for the individual should in no means be set aside. Legislators, mental health specialists and the community are responsible for development of evidence based treatments to reduce the likelihood of the felon committing the same crime again (Kostas, Katsavdakis, 2011). Absence of an informed risk assessment practice identifying the risks that an offender poses to a community and find a diagnosis and treatment that minimizes the risk of the offender to the society (Nieto, 2005).

Myth and folklore have it that all the people committing sexual felonies are the same. This can be described as aptly wrong as not all people committing sex offences are the same. There are viable and reliable risk assessment techniques that assess what treatments are most effective or successful in risk reduction. Techniques that when implemented in the right way would ensure that the offender upon release does not end up committing the crime or does not end up committing another crime of a similar or varied nature from the crime that he was convicted for Henry (Henry, 2005).

Since the offender too is human there are several requirements that protect his civic and constitutional rights. This includes an annual examination of the individual's mental condition, an annually written notice from the department of mental health to a sexual felon of his right to petition the court for a conditional release. In addition the assailant is offered a show cause hearing; a hearing addressing the issue as to why the assailant should be held. The offender may also, request for a trial after a period of two years for determination if he should be held for further treatment or supervision.

It can therefore be concluded that release of this perpetrators only serves to increase the crime rates in society. With recidivism levels as high, the penal institutes should fairly understand the risks of receipt of these individuals back to society. Their receipt would simply mean an overall increase in crime rates and individually the complexity in which these crimes are committed, therefore, making the law inadequate in reaching the assailants (Henry, Kären, 2005).

The best way would be to create steeper laws which would discourage future perpetrators and which would be content to hold assailants to society in penal institutions. Assailants committing crimes like rape should be castrated to ensure that even if they were to be released to society, they would not have the urge to perform of repeat the crime again and would be deemed as safe to the general public at large. Castration should be among the major control methods that the government considers for such perpetrators. Life sentences too should be accumulated to serve as a scare to perpetrators along with execution for repeat perpetrators (Publications, 2001).

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