Legal Responses to Sexual Violence
It may fairly be concluded at this point that virtually all discretionary decisions about sexual offenders are firmly, perhaps hopelessly, embedded in a quagmire of social and political logomachy. Indeed, the heat of political and social debate far exceeds the light that is cast on the problem of sexual violence. The age-old struggle, dating back to the Old Testament, between the visceral need to inflict punishment and the occasional recognition of the potential shortcomings of punishment is manifestly evident in the legislative ambivalence that has enacted, repealed, and reenacted sexual psychopath laws throughout the United States for the last half century. There is no evidence that anything has changed over the past 60 years. Indeed, all available evidence indicates that the pattern is alive and well. As we move into the next millennium, we find ourselves in the throes of profound social and legislative ambivalence regarding the efficacy of the predator laws that have swept the country for the past decade.
KeywordsSexual Violence Legal Response Child Molester Civil Commitment Preventive Detention
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