How does society treat people based on their criminal conviction history and how can we better understand the unique experiences of people who are convicted of sexual offenses? Why, in an age where second chances and demands to reduce mass incarceration have become mainstream, are people with these convictions often excluded from reform and relief efforts? In this episode of Amplified Voices, Jason and Amber speak with Emily Horowitz, a professor of sociology and criminal justice at St. Francis College, ahead of the release of her new book: From Rage to Reason: Why We Need Sex Offense Laws Based on Facts Not Fear.
During this conversation, Professor Horowitz details her own personal and professional journey, along with powerful stories from the years she spent interviewing people impacted by the registry. The discussion reveals a deep empathy that comes from being in close proximity to people who are experiencing banishment and stigma, as well as an exploration of how laws based on vengeance rather than justice or evidence create new forms of harm while failing to address the real and pervasive problem of sexual violence.
About Emily Horowitz, PhD
Professor Emily Horowitz teaches courses in sociology at St. Francis College. She is the founder and co-director of the Justice Initiative. Her scholarly research addresses the causes and consequences of mass incarceration, with a focus on the harms of conviction registries and banishment laws.
Her latest book, From Rage to Reason: Why We Need Sex Crime Laws Based on Facts, Not Fear (Bloomsbury Academic, 2023), explores the human carnage wrought by decades of draconian and fear-based sex offense policies. She is also the author of Protecting Our Kids?: How Sex Offender Laws Are Failing Us (Praeger, 2015), which was awarded a 2016 Choice Outstanding Academic Title by the American Library Association, and co-editor, with Law Professor Larry Dubin, of Caught in the Web of the Criminal Justice System: Autism, Developmental Disabilities and Sex Offenses.
Professor Horowitz frequently engages in advocacy efforts and public scholarship aimed at challenging myths and misinformation that lead to ineffective and draconian laws. Select recent news publications and media include The Real Monsters (a 2022 essay in Inquest: A Decarceral Brainstorm), a Reason article about the man wrongfully convicted of raping prominent author Alice Sebold (2021), a NY Daily News editorial about the Supreme Court hearings for Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson (2022), and participation in an Intelligence Squared podcast (2023) debating the sex offense registry