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Study: Public Misperceptions About Sex Offenders Skew Policy-Making

Public opinion toward crime is complex. Research shows that Americans strongly favor punitive measures to address criminal behavior while also demanding the rehabilitation and treatment of offenders. When it comes to sex offenses, it gets even more complicated.

A 2015 study authored by Christina Mancini, an Assistant Professor at Virginia Commonwealth University, and Kristen Budd of MiamiUniversity (Ohio) found that numerous misperceptions about sex crimes–such as the myth of “stranger danger,” the perception of abnormally high sexual recidivism, and offense amplification–have been the impetus behind laws passed by “get tough” legislators spurred on by a misinformed public. Full Article

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  1. Nondescript

    “public opinion has been a driving impetus in policy creation and additional sex offender restrictions,”

    Yeah but ,they very diligently created that ” public opinion/ perception” in the first place!
    It wasn’t the policy makers that started this nonsense. It was the MEDIA.
    Being that the mainstream news is the propaganda arm of the government, they created and controlled the narrative of the sexual deviant straw man until it took hold in the publics lazy mind.
    I remember the year leading up to the passage of Jessica’s Law in California, you could not turn on the 4,5 or 6 o ‘clock news without the first story being about a sex offender or the dangerousness of sex offenders. Day after day after day. Once November rolled around, and the brainwashed public voted for it ( if you even believe elections results are real) the sex offender stories on the news abruptly stopped. Gee why is that? Did all the offenders just stop offending after November 11th.

    This article is only half true. Saturate the public with an idea that will trigger emotions, say ” see, we are guided by an angry public, ” then become the savior with the solution.

    • David M

      Soooo true.

    • Son of Liberty Child of Freedom

      Hear hear – Hear Her Hear Her!!

      Nondescript once again Speaks Truth!

      If we delve deeper into recent Global History we can expose the Connection between the Los Angeles Black Dahlia murder of 1947 and The Dark Black Webb a detective weaved too enable her to catch just 1 person but in effect The She Webb Caught Innumerable Innocent Men, Women, Children.

      Her cause of action misguided in that for All the victims of the 1 single person she search for only delivered to them the victims no True Justice, for True Justice Recompenses^ to a Position & State of Wholeness. She only delivered to all types of victims past, present, & future the Position of Being locked, Rooted, & Cemented in the Aggregate³ of Redigesting Past Regrets and never moving forward on their Lives path. Similar to a gold fish in a Fish Bowl¹ within the Domicile of Evil, a Echo Chamber² where the The Conquest Ethic co-habits and gives birth to the illegitimate child named, The Avenger Ethic, nicknamed “Revenge”.

      ^ https://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/recompense
      ¹ https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fishbowl_(conversation)
      ² https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Echo_chamber_(media)
      Inside a Allegorical or figurative echo chamber, official Sources often go Unquestioned and different or competing views are Censored, Disallowed, or otherwise Underrepresented.
      ³ https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aggregate

      The question begs in the Echo Chamber, Be I asked! – Where is the Glory in that?

      They answer: Stop HIM, Shut him UP!!

      I posit the link to the LA weekly Mass Media Article : http://www.laweekly.com/content/printView/2160742

      “The state of California has required sex offenders to register since 1947, the year of the globally sensational Black Dahlia murder case. And Webb’s team, called REACT (Registration Enforcement and Compliance Team), keeps tabs on where they are living and whether they are in trouble with the law.”

      “Webb — an Edie Falco look-alike — did Not end up finding the Grim Sleeper in her long-shot [Con]quest. He wasn’t there, in all those files. Instead, through tantalizing coincidences and teamwork that tapped the memories of long-retired cops, LAPD found the alleged serial killer The Westside Rapist, a man who had slipped away from the cops in 1957 and went on to terrorize elderly women in Southern California for a generation.”

      But don’t listen to I, what do I know.

      I Speak Truth
      As Yehovah Lives, so should we

    • 1984

      The media is at the root of many bad policies and laws. And US media is so different than the rest of the world. Use to be able to rely on the truth of large and small media outlets. Just have to pay attention to who has the reins in hand. It is really hard to do with all the diversions and smoke screens. These guys are good at what they do. Manipulation of our country. And sex offenders make a great testing ground. Who in main stream is going to complain. It is changing here and there. Keep pushing back. If you take a step back you can see the next group that has been added to the list of who to hate. And they have come to our country for help.

    • New Person

      It was policy makers.

      SCOTUS defined sex offenders as a group that can never be rehabilitated – thus a public safety. And since it was not deemed punitive, then any law against a second class citizen cannot be deemed punitive as well. So they pile it on – despite what was specifically noted in the actual passing of the 2003 decision.

      1. Only convictions are to be on the registry. This implies dismissed convictions ARE NOT part of the registry.
      2. Probation like terms are not conducted such as restrictions to travel, presence, living, and employment as well as in-person registration.
      3. Registration is tailored to the conviction. (Except those pesky four states that deem lifetime registration for all offenses.)
      4. Because of the 80% recidivism rate, this is for public safety.
      5. Because of the 80% recidivism rate, all registrants can be seen as one group, not as individuals.

      The media ran with what the SCOTUS and other law makers made into law. Service to the state after your crime punishment is done is not punitive, according to the 2003 decision. Yet Slavery is prohibited (free, compelled service). Involuntary servitude (compelled service) is prohibited unless to punish a crime.

      So it’s apparent, the SCOTUS didn’t actually follow the law as well as manipulated the system by using only one stat : 80% recidivism rate, which was from a non-expert and was never substantiated scientifically.

      That’s all policy makers. Since that’s the law, the media abides. We have judges and lawyers spouting out that sex offenders cannot be rehabilitated and are more likely to re-offend. Again, that’s from the law, not media. Recall “frightening and high” phrase in many lower courts was deemed legit by the SCOTUS.

      Only until recently have we seen stories written about how wrong the SCOTUS was in using that stat and phrase by research work by Dr Ira and Tara Ellman.

      • Timmren

        Did SCOTUS know which were the 20% who never offended? No. They suspended the rights of all in the group, because they reasoned, it is an emergency, that is, high recidivism was apparently the problem. How can the government suspend rights of citizens? One way is through punishment. The other is marshal law:
        “The Suspension Clause of the United States Constitution specifically included the English common law procedure in Article One, Section 9, clause 2, which demands that “The privilege of the writ of habeas corpus shall not be suspended, unless when in cases of rebellion or invasion the public safety may require it.””
        https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Habeas_corpus_in_the_United_States
        Rebellion and invasion? Neither applied. So they came up with arguments to suport what they wanted to do, anyway. They took away the requirement for proof not only that you had committed a new crime, but under the weirdly unusual claim you were going to commit a crime by framing the issue as regulation, not punishment. They had no proof which were in the 20% or which were in the 80%? The 80/20 was actually false, but the real issue is the attainder. They used intuitive appeal to emotion, kind of a mockery of evidentiary reasoning.
        Nor had they proven an emergency by invasion or rebellion, or even an extrodanary turn of events. They simple ingored the involuntary servitude aspect and poo pooed the disabilities of registration. The rate of sexual crime is the same as it had always been, the rate had even been going down in in the new century. Nor had they proven that registration was the only or even an effective means to attack the stated problem of recidivism. Government has several options at its disposal but chose suspension of rights over non punitive initiatives, such as rehabilitation, education or social programs that might reduce the stated problem.

        • New Person

          someone else brought this up about the 80% recidivism rate…

          why was there only ONE STAT to go by? it’s quite apparent some information was willfully suppressed. There’s a plethora of research information by experts, but they went with one that did not come from an expert and was not substantiated. 80% is a very high rate and should have required a lot of substantiating, but the SCOTUS did not.

          You know what other case where information was withheld to promote something unconstitutional? The Korematsu case aka Japanese internment camps.

          • David M

            Very true! It was the solicitor general that lied about facts that led to the Supreme Court agreeing that Japanese enterment camps protected society because Japanese could be spies.

            Japanese lost rights that protected most Americans. The registry is just as bad as Japanese enterment camps and also built on lies and propaganda.

  2. Nicholas Maietta

    Policy-making should not be influenced by feel-good idealism and knee-jerk reactions but rather by empirical evidence proven by sound research.

    • New Person

      ummm… their empirical evidence comes from the 2003 Smith Decision by the SCOTUS. Although, we’ve come to discover it wasn’t proven evidence by sound research.

      The policy making can go away once SCOTUS admits they FUBAR the case based upon false facts that was not conducted by experts nor research was substantiated.

      Remember, the terrible policies being created by it are considered Constitutional.

  3. David

    “PUBLIC MISPERCEPTIONS ABOUT SEX OFFENDERS SKEW POLICY-MAKING” Who knew???? *eye roll*

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