Unjust sexual offense laws: Insanity and Hope

NARSOL Executive Director Brenda Jones and former prosecutor Ken Abraham write for the Criminal Legal News website about what may be hopeful signs for the future of sex offense laws in the United States. Hope, they point out, comes in the form of recommendations from a task force in Illinois that spent two years examining that state’s sex offender laws.

On January 2, 2018, the Illinois Sex Offenses and Sex Offender Task Force published a report detailing its recommendations to the Illinois General Assembly on implementation and impact of that state’s registration and residency restriction laws. The task force had been established in 2016 with the ambitious goals of (1) reviewing evidence-based practices and research on registration of former sexual offenders; (2) holding public hearings for testimony on the above; and (3) making recommendations to the general assembly to “more effectively classify sex offenders based on their level of risk of re-offending, better direct resources to monitor the most violent and high-risk offenders, and ensure public safety.”… 

The report brought forth some quite refreshing recommendations, which will be taken up in the Illinois legislature this year. The two big contingencies for any of them were (1) funding and (2) accounting for different needs around the state. Those are very big “ifs,” which present a big challenge to implementation of the recommendations—14 of them in all covering offender management, assessments for treatment and management, use of the registry, and tailored restrictions aimed at public safety.

 Read the full article here.