Wednesday, August 12, 2015

New Book! Sexual Predators: Society, Risk and the Law By Robert Prentky, Howard Barbaree and Eric Janus

I have read a lot of books on Registries, Sex Offenders and Civil Commitment of SVP’s over the last 8 years and I’ve posted about some of them ( , , , , ,  ) on this blog. 

There is always a stack of research books haunting me to read and I do my best to get to the bottom of the stack before the annual Virginia General Assembly begins in January.  

I preordered this book Sexual Predators: Society, Risk and the Law back in June and began reading it yesterday. I was worried it was going to be one of those books that would be “too scientific” for a regular person to read as a few others have been, but so far I’m really enjoying it. 

I’ve decided to post some notes I’ve taken about ‘Fear’ from Chapter 1. 

The power of fear has treacherous effects. 

Anger, fear and disgust predicate moral outrage. 

The fear of an immanent threat underlies moral panics. 

Moral panic ultimately degrades our principle of human fairness and our capacity for rational judgment. 

Fear (often whipped up by the media) can distort public policy and sabotage the most constructive laws. 

Fear leads to injustice and irrational laws.  

Instead of identifying root causes and best-practice responses, our public policy has been reactive, driven by fear and the political exploitation of fear. 

When fear trumps science, when it silences good faith discussion of policy, it is prevention that suffers the prevention of sexual violence. 

Too often policy-makers ridicule or ignore science, resulting in countless resources allocated to reactive legislation that is rarely held to account for its effectiveness in preventing sexual violence. 

Fear creates a broken social order based on mistrust, resentment and ill will. 

Fear creates a poisoned solidarity of diligence to surveil and punish which tears away at the social fabric of society. 

I look forward to finishing this book and I hope some of you will now plan on reading it too. 

Mary Devoy