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Florida lawmaker advocates for review of sex crime laws

A Florida lawmaker is calling for a potential overhaul of the state’s sex offender laws. Areas of inspection may include sex offender registration requirements, minimum sentences, parole and probation terms, community awareness and control, and housing options for individuals that have been convicted of sex crimes.

The lawmaker’s call to action is in response to a recent kidnapping and homicide of an 8-year-old Florida girl. Authorities have arrested a 56-year-old man, who happens to be a registered sex offender, for the crime.

Yet some readers may be questioning if the lawmaker’s response is narrowly framed. Authorities have yet to provide evidence that the man’s previous conviction for a sex crime matches the modus operandi of the instant kidnapping and homicide allegation. More to the point, the penalties for probation or sex offender database registration violations are already very severe.

For example, in some cases, a violation of probation or registration requirements may result in more jail or prison time than the original offense. In terms of community awareness, an online database of the residential addresses of registered sex offenders is already publicly searchable. The results are highly visible, on a platform similar to MapQuest or Google Maps. Specifically, users can search by geographic region, with results displayed on a map with pin drop markers corresponding to color headshots of offenders at the bottom of the search screen.

Lawmakers seeking to deter crime must examine a variety of factors. The issue is often more complex than simply increasing minimum prison sentences. As may sex crime attorneys might also assert, rehabilitation may also be possible for many offenders, as recidivism data indicates that sex crimes have lower repeat offenders than many other types of crimes.

Source: jacksonville.com, “Lawmaker calls for review of sex offender laws after Cherish Perrywinkle's death,” Matt Dixon, June 26, 2013

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