To explain the persistent abhorrent perspective society holds of sex offenders, the concept of sex offenders, the evolution of salient sex offender legislation, and the relationships between sex offenders and social control with a focus on the current and emerging socio-legal issues are discussed. As one of the most vilified criminal offenders, sex offenders are inextricably related to social control as demonstrated by the disproportionately imposed legal restrictions they have experienced compared to offenders without a history of sex crimes. Public support of excessive punishments toward sex offenders has been bolstered by societal depictions that have induced perceptions of sex offenders as monstrous beings.
Aversions toward sex offenders unfold when it is perceived that the solidarity of society is dissolute and volatile. During these periods of perceived social disintegration, mass media emerges as a source that can contextualize the depraved actions of sex offenders, though the media have arguably perverted their role as an educator and contributed to misinformation. Education and revised evaluative assessments of sexual recidivism are suggested as approaches to redefine how sex offenders should be portrayed, as a heterogeneous group of individuals that vary in their amenability to rehabilitative treatment.
Navarro, J.C. (2019), "Sex Offenders, Policies, And Social Control", Rabe-Hemp, C.E. and Lind, N.S. (Ed.) Political Authority, Social Control and Public Policy (Public Policy and Governance, Vol. 31), Emerald Publishing Limited, Bingley, pp. 155-168. https://doi.org/10.1108/S2053-769720190000031011
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Copyright © 2019, by John C. Navarro