Time For Stronger Measures Against Sexual Predators

There was another Amber alert in Florida yesterday. Yet another little girl dragged off. Has this been the year of the sexual predator or are we just hearing about more offenses because of the alert systems and 24/7 news?

A child advocate on the Today show last week said the very minimum a parent should do is go online and print your local registry of sexual offenders. So that’s what we did, to pinpoint the locations of the offenders in our area. If you have children, do it today.

State legislatures and local governments need to stop wringing their hands and begin taking stronger measures to maintain control over those who have been convicted of sexual offenses. How many little girls must be prey to the hardened, repeat offenders in their neighborhoods before this horror is taken seriously and these people are intercepted, so they do not hurt more youngsters.

It is time for universal adoption of at least three measures: electronic monitoring, voice tracking, and chemical castration.

Electronic Monitoring: The offender wears an ankle bracelet, which sends out a radio signal precisely showing the exact location. The offender is only allowed to leave their home for specific reasons and at specific times. A monitoring company tracks their movements 24 hours a day, and immediately reports any deviation from the allowed limits to their Probation Officer.

An Ohio official is suggesting taking this a step further, and implanting GPS chips.

While Fox earlier had suggested the use of electronic ankle or wrist bracelets to allow for passive monitoring of offenders, on Monday he took the proposal a step further, calling for a plan of implanting computer microchips into offenders so that they can be tracked and located immediately.

“People have these GPS chips put in their pets and – in some case – in their children, in the event they are lost or kidnapped,” Fox said. “I don’t see why the same can’t be done with probationees.”But Sheriff Richard K. Jones said it would first take an act of the state legislature to give courts the authority to order such implanting. Butler County currently has 296 registered sexual offenders, Jones said.

Jones on Friday launched a new program in which the sheriff’s office is now doing random, surprise spot checks on registered sexual offenders to make certain they are living at the addresses they have registered with local authorities.

Voice Tracking: A monitoring company pages offenders periodically during the day and night. A voice recording from the offender has been used to create a computer template which is compared to the caller returning the page, preventing illegitimate callers from responding. Calls are automatically rejected from cellular phones or using call forwarding. The caller must call back within a specified amount of time, and the phone number they called from is automatically recorded.

Chemical Castration: States need to implement and enforce hormone treatment for repeat sexual offenders. This is not a cure all, but it will help reduce or eliminate the sexual drive of individuals who cannot control where that takes them. Officials seem squeamish about this course of action. They need to think about the young girls who are raped and buried alive by hardened sexual offenders.

This Texas document discusses chemical castration:

Myth: “Castration cures a sex offender.”
Fact: Castration is not a cure. Castration only reduces testosterone levels and may be helpful in controlling arousal and libido. Physical or chemical castration should only be utilized as an adjunct to treatment and not in lieu of treatment. It should be remembered that deviant arousal is the physical response to a cognitive process (deviant thoughts). Deviant thoughts (impulses) and fantasies are precursors to deviant arousal.

Iowa is one of eight states that has implemented the treatment, but they have been lax in applying it.

The hormone therapy, called “chemical castration” by critics, is required for offenders convicted more than once of serious sex offenses as a condition of their release from custody. However, the requirement is waived when a judge or the Board of Parole determines the treatment would be ineffective.

The treatment is optional for those convicted for the first time of a sexual offense in which the victim was 12 or younger.

“We have done it, but it’s very rare,” said Gary Sherzan, director of community corrections in the 5th Judicial District.

Rusty Rogerson, superintendent of the state’s sex offender treatment facility at Mount Pleasant, said the only time the treatment was needed there, a physician couldn’t be found to administer it.

Officials say some physicians question the effectiveness or propriety of the treatment. Others are concerned about medical and legal risks, and about taking part in a procedure that is outside their medical practice.

Others have recommend extremely long prison sentences.

Whatever the cost, lawmakers need to act now to protect our children. What could be more important?

–James Jewell
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About Jim Jewell

I am a writer and consultant on faith and public life, active for many years in management and communications in the evangelical community. I now work as the director of the nonprofit practice at The Valcort Group (www.valcort.com). Everything on this blog, however, is my personal opinion and is not read or approved before it is posted. Opinions, conclusions and other information expressed here do not necessarily reflect the views of Valcort.
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