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Are Current Approaches Counterproductive?

April 4, 2009

Law & Psychiatry: Sex Offenders in the Community: Are Current Approaches Counterproductive?
Paul S. Appelbaum, M.D., American Psychiatric Association

This column examines laws aimed at preventing sex offenders from reoffending and court challenges to those laws. All states have enacted registration and community notification requirements. More than 20 states and hundreds of municipalities now restrict where sex offenders can live. In many states, public disclosure of registration information is not limited to predatory offenders, but instead includes everyone convicted of a sexually related offense. The author argues that draconian approaches will likely not achieve the goal of protecting the public and that they divert limited resources from other law enforcement needs.

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