Saturday, May 9, 2015

New Book! Protecting Our Kids? How Sex Offender Laws are Failing Us by Emily Horowitz, Ph.D.


This book is the best one I have read in 7 years. Every policymaker in America needs to read this book.  

If I had the $5,400 to buy 145 copies for every Virginia Legislator and the Administration I would! 
If you read only one book on Sex Offender Registries this should be it! 

Original Post:

I preordered this book two weeks into the 2015 Virginia General Assembly session that began in January and ended in February. 

This year was the first session in the 7 years I've been presenting facts and research during session that I walked away EXTEMELY dumbfounded and disappointed that Virginia’s 140 Legislators and our Governor willfully ignored every fact, our Constitution (retroactively placing citizens with 20+ year old convictions on a new VSP list-of-shame) and ignored every unintended consequence presented to them in regards to the two Myth-Fear-Hate-Based proposals HB1366 and HB1353/SB1074 that will become law on July 1st. 

The book arrived earlier this week and today I finally sat down to read it. 

                Introduction – Why Sex Offenders Matter
                1. Child Abuse Becomes a Social Problem
                2. Race and Poverty Matter
                3. Sex Offender Panic
                4. Sex Offenders are Different
                5. Case Study – New York
                6. Child Porn Panic
                Conclusion – Why We Need to Talk about Sex Offenders 

I have read a lot of books on Registries, Sex Offenders and Civil Commitment of SVP’s in the last 7 years recommending some of them to you followers and to Virginia’s Legislators (yes, I email them recommended reading). 

I wanted to share the first paragraph from the introduction: 

This book is made up of two narratives. First this book tells the story of how sex offenders have come to loom as greater-than-life monsters, by analyzing social, political, historical, and cultural context surrounding the emergence of extreme draconian sex offender policies and aw. Second it recounts experiences of convicted sex offenders and their families and how they survive in society that views them as the “worst-of-the-worst”. This book presents existing research, as well as new analyses of data and qualitative evidence, that documents how the laws themselves are not only ineffective, but promote profound and destructive fear and anxiety. This book also describes the experiences of sex offenders, from their perspective or perspective of their families, to highlight, in a way that research and data cannot, how these laws destroy their lives and families for no rational reason. 

I believe this book will be placed at the top of my recommended reading list when I’ve finished it. Not that Virginia Legislators care anything about facts, research or real-life examples of how labeling our citizens as lifetime Violent Sex Offenders does much more damage than good not only to the one who is listed on the VSP Registry but to those who love and support them, those who house them and those who employ them....not to mention society as a whole.

But I will recommend it anyway because willful ignorance has NEVER created valuable or just policy. 

Mary Devoy 

Being ignorant is not so much a shame, as being unwilling to learn.” ―  Benjamin Franklin