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Book: The Sex Offender Housing Dilemma: Community Activism, Safety, and Social Justice

by Monica Williams (Author)

The controversy surrounding community responses to housing for sexually violent predators

When a South Carolina couple killed a registered sex offender and his wife after they moved into their neighborhood in 2013, the story exposed an extreme and relatively rare instance of violence against sex offenders. While media accounts would have us believe that vigilantes across the country lie in wait for predators who move into their neighborhoods, responses to sex offenders more often involve collective campaigns that direct outrage toward political and criminal justice systems.

No community wants a sex offender in its midst, but instead of vigilantism, Monica Williams argues, citizens often leverage moral, political, and/or legal authority to keep these offenders out of local neighborhoods. Her book, the culmination of four years of research, 70 in-depth interviews, participant observations, and studies of numerous media sources, reveals the origins and characteristics of community responses to sexually violent predators (SVP) in the U.S. Specifically, The Sex Offender Housing Dilemma examines the placement process for released SVPs in California and the communities’ responses to those placements.

Taking the reader into the center of these related issues, Monica Williams provokes debate on the role of communities in the execution of criminal justice policies, while also addressing the responsibility of government institutions to both groups of citizens. The Sex Offender Housing Dilemma is sure to promote increased civic engagement to help strengthen communities, increase public safety, and ensure government accountability.


Barnes & Noble


Join the discussion

  1. Tim Moore

    Yeah, actual killing of registrants by vigilantes may be rare, but general harassment and the slow steady violence of unemployment, underemployment and homelessness is not rare. And it affects not just SVP’s but even misdemeanor registrants. Why does focus always have to be on the most extreme examples as if it is the norm.

    • Trish

      It’s not about rarely killing sex offenders, it’s that it should never happen anyway! What is rarity anyway ? How many must and have lost life because of perverted ideology concerning crime and punishment? The government and its fellow civilian hypocrites always want/need to justify the roles they play in bringing these lives to ruin ! It is sickening and distracts from the true and more important aspects of life for the ex offenders and the rights of all parties……especially the ex offenders who have the right too receive fair justice in society ! The debt is paid, they are fellow humans, and all must follow the law without bias or prejudice! We the people must always see the best in humanity or we ourselves become the epitome of hypocrisy … taking the place of God who has a beautiful plan and purpose for all lives ! We as a whole of people must believe in the best of our brothers and sisters, even when things appear to be black/darkness in the human psyche and character flaws ! Some great people come from very bad backgrounds, it’s true some is hard to come to terms with and some questionable, but nonetheless, the shaping and molding can present amazing results!

  2. Matt Duhamel

    Great to see this new book! Prof. Williams is featured in my documentary film, NOT FOR RENT!

    I remember interviewing her about this very issue and remember her telling me all the research she has done over the years on the topic. Thanks Monica for bringing attention to this huge issue!

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