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Classification of sex offenders may be unfair

As readers of this Florida sex crimes blog might agree, allegations involving a victim of a purported sex offense seem to be regarded as perennially newsworthy by most media publication. Never mind that an allegation is an unproven claim against an individual presumed to be innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.

In fairness to those who cover the news, many readers might appreciate being informed of pending lawsuits, and media coverage makes it possible to follow the developments in many of those cases as they are tried. Yet the fact remains that alleged sex offenders may be afforded less than respectful treatment long before any conviction has occurred.

Recently, a family of a registered sex offender wrote an editorial describing another aspect of the unfair treatment that such criminal defendants might receive in the news. The editorialist observed that individuals arrested for an alleged sex crime are often equated with other career criminals who may have many non-sex crime convictions to their record.

The editorialist claimed that the distinction is significant, stating that sex offenders have a much lower recidivism rate than repeat offenders whose offenses include both sex crimes and other unrelated felonies. In the same manner, the sex offender registry doesn’t classify those convicted solely on sex crimes from other career criminals whose rap sheet happens to also include a sex offense.

As a sex crimes attorney might argue, the criminal justice system is ultimately intended to rehabilitate criminal offenders back into leading productive roles in society. That process might begin even in the sentencing phase, recognizing that sex offenders might also have a chance at reform.

Source: articles.orlandosentinel.com, “My Word: Forget broad brush for sex offenders,” Shana Rowan, July 14, 2013

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