Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Should Sex Offenders Have Civil Rights?

An in-depth NPR audio report, about 50 minutes long, is available here.


New laws give government significant powers to track and penalize defendants convicted of sex crimes, even after they have served their time. In some states, offenders can be committed to mental hospitals after they are released from jail if the state believes they are likely to commit further crimes. Other laws require offenders to register with local police or publicize where ex-offenders live, presumably to safeguard young children who live nearby. Join us on this edition of Justice Talking as we talk about the rights of those convicted of sex crimes.

Interview with John LaFond

Host Margot Adler talks with lawyer John LaFond about how the justice system and individual communities have dealt with sex offenders throughout history.

John LaFond is a lawyer, researcher and scholar in mental health law and criminal law. He is co-author of Back to the Asylum: The Future of Mental Health Law and Policy in the United States, and co-author of Criminal Law: Examples and Explanations. He is also co-editor of the forthcoming Sexually Violent Offenders: Law, Science and Policy.

Report from Florida

Reporter Judith Smelser reports on the unintended consequences of sex offender registries - how they can hurt the families and friends of people who have been convicted of such crimes - with the story of the Pratt family in Rocklitch, Florida.

Debate on the Issue

Law professor Bruce Winick debates professor Ernie Allen on the effectiveness of current laws affecting sex offenders and what should be done to prevent future abuse.

Bruce J. Winick is Professor of Law and Professor of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences at the University of Miami in Coral Gables, FL. Winick has authored numerous books, the latest of which are Civil Commitment: A Therapeutic Jurisprudence Model, Judging in a Therapeutic Key: Therapeutic Jurisprudence and the Courts and Protecting Society from Sexually Dangerous Offenders: Law, Justice, and Therapy.

Ernie Allen is President and Chief Executive Officer (and co-founder) of the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children - . The Center's CyberTipline, called “the 911 for the Internet,” has handled 300,000 reports of child pornography and sexual exploitation, resulting in the arrest and prosecution of hundreds of adult predators.

During the debate, Mary Catherine Roper, a lawyer with the American Civil Liberties Union of Philadelphia, speaks about a current case where a newborn baby was taken from his mother because his father, who doesn't live with them, was convicted of a sex offense 23 years ago.

Also joining the debate, Staci Haines, founder and executive director of Generation Five, an organization dedicated to ending child sexual abuse within five generations, speaks about how her approach differs from that of the criminal justice system. Staci has been organizing and educating in the area of child sexual abuse since 1985. She is the author of The Survivor's Guide to Sex, a how-to book offering a somatic approach to recovery from sexual trauma and to developing healthy sexual and intimate relationships.

Finally, Kellie Greene, founder and director of Speaking Out About Rape, Inc. (SOAR) and a rape survivor, talks from a victim's rights point of view about how society should deal with sex offenders. She was a co-author of the Florida Sexual Predator Prosecution Act of 2000.

Interview with Steve Bogira

Stepping back for a broader look at how criminal justice is administered in one of the nation's busiest precincts, host Margot Adler speaks with author Steve Bogira about his new book.

Steve Bogira graduated from Northwestern University and has been a prizewinning writer for the Chicago Reader since 1981. He is a former Alicia Patterson Fellow. His most recent book is Courtroom 302, which tells the story of one year in Chicago's Cook County Criminal Courthouse, the busiest felony courthouse in the country.

1 comment:

Anna said...

For my brother David, a smile to his neighbor's kid turned into a nightmare, when he got accused of child molestation. He could not believe that he had been accused of such a heinous crime. David, himself a father of three loves children and treats every kid like his own, with same level of love, compassion and companionship. He had become an emotional wreck by the time charges had been filed. So I went on a hunt to look out for a proficient lawyer who could tackle this situation. Then my colleague told me about Douglas R. Lipton
, a criminal defense lawyer who upon hearing the circumstances, immediately took over the case. He got my brother acquitted of all charges and cleared the misconception that had spawned this mess. I would highly recommend him to everyone.

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