“Sex Fiends, Perverts and Pedophiles” by Chrysanti Leon— Dealing with Sexual Offenses

Leon, Chrysanthi. “Sex Fiends, Perverts, and Pedophiles: Understanding Sex Crime Policy in America”, NYU Press, 2011.

Dealing with Sexual Offenses

Amos Lassen

Crimes involving sex are considered by many to be the most heinous of crimes and almost every state in the United States has laws to punish sex offenders. Legislation for being especially hard on sex offenses is of high priority after a sex crime has been committed and the punishment is usually very harsh and long. Some Sexual crimes result in the offender having to wear a GPS for life and only being allowed to live in certain areas which are approved for that purpose. In this book we see clearly that not all sexual offenders are alike and the one policy for sex crimes can cause some to be so severely punished and those guilty of lesser crimes get the same kinds of punishment as those who commit much more dangerous crimes and by this, sexual offenders become pariahs of society.

I think we can all agree that prison is not necessarily the answer or all people. We learn here that we have reached the point where all sex crimes are lumped together and all perpetrators share the same punishments undermines public safety. We have a huge sexual offender population in prisons today and many will be released. When this happens, the offenders face barriers to the achievement of success and there is little help available. The blame lies on the institutions that are charged with helping them to find suitable employment and homes and this causes them to become marginalized. Those who work with rehabilitation are responsible for the fact that these offenders are never really integrated back into society.

The book contains an extensive bibliography and a historical overview of the situation as well as two supplementary chapters, one on research methodology and the other, a timeline on the contexts of sex crime policy.

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