Friday, July 20, 2007

New sex offender classification system, gateway to reducing further sexual crimes

More accurate risk test for classifying sex offenders was expected to be adopted by the Texas Council on Sex Offender Treatment earlier this month.
State’s current risk test is used to determine which sex offenders must publicly declare their crimes based on age, martial status, previous offenses and the sex of the victim. But the current risk test can be misleading and tend to fail to see more dangerous offenders. For these reasons, the new system will include multiple tests. This multiple tests will include psychological evaluations, which will be used to identify which offenders need supervision and to determine the possibilities that an offender will commit further sexual or other types of crimes.
Allison Taylor, executive director of the council, said the new test under the new system will give a better indication of which offenders belong in the high-risk category, which will include more women and fewer juveniles.
But the new test will be applies to sex offenders being released from prison since it would be almost impossible to re-evaluate all of the state’s 45,000 registered sex offenders.

In my opinion, adopting a new test for sex offenders is very important for the society. Sex offenders are an extremely heterogeneous mixture and come from all socioeconomic and racial groups. It is also important to test possibilities of committing later crimes since many sex offenders crossover to different victims and the most sex offending begins during adolescence. According to the 2000 Uniform Crime Statistics by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, juveniles account for a significant number of sexual crimes. And it is important to offer treatments as early as possible since the juveniles with sexual behavior problems are more likely to commit crimes. Like Taylor expected, there are women sexual offenders as well. Female sex offenders are largely unrecognized and neglected. But a 2000 study shows that females commit sexual offenses against children, biological relatives, and unrelated people.
According to the Texas Association Against Sexual Assault (TAASA), sex offender behaviors are extremely resistant to change. Thus it is very important to both control and punish behaviors are necessary in protecting public safety. There are regulations such as law enforcement, child safety zone, and sexual offender registration to monitor behaviors of sexual offenders. But I believe that the new test with the psychological evaluation will be more effective in preventing future crimes before they happen than current regulations.

For complete article see: http://www.statesman.com/news/content/region/legislature/stories/07/03/0703sexoffenders.html

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