This paper explores the significant problem of sexual assault and sexual harassment in the United States. In order to decrease the incidence of sexual assault and sexual harassment, legislators have passed regulatory laws aimed to reduce recidivism amongst convicted sexual offenders. As a result, sex offenders living in the United States are bound by multiple policies, including registration, community notification, monitoring via a global positioning system, civil commitment, and residency, loitering, and Internet restrictions (Bonnar-Kidd, 2010).
These policies have been put in place to protect the citizens and effectively pressure offenders from recidivism.
Sexual violence in the United States exceeds the word of alarming. Every 98 seconds, an American is sexually assaulted. On average, there are 321,500 victims (age 12 or older) of rape and sexual assault each year in the United States. The most alarming fact is that out of 1,000 rapes, 994 perpetrators will walk free (www.rainn.org). Policies are in place to prevent and decrease these violent acts from accruing.
The most successful attempt to construct models of criminal process was established by legal scholar, Herbert Packer. His due process and crime control models set the standard for criminal process. The model that I will focus on is the crime control model (Roach, 1999). This model concentrates on minimizing crime in the community through increased police and government involvement. Crime control places emphasis on the power of the government to protect society with less emphasis on offender’s rights. The crime control policy that I will discuss to protect and prevent sexual violence is the Sex Offender Registration Notification Act (SORNA), which was established from the Adam Walsh Child Protection and Safety Act of 2006. This act also includes Meagan’s Law, The Jacob Wetterling Act, and The Adam Walsh Child Protection and Safety Act. These policies collectively are an example of the Packer’s Crime Control Model (www.justice.gov).
The above mentioned policies were established to inform, educate, and protect the children in society from sex offenders and pedophiles. However, these policies do not only protect children, it also serves to protect all United States citizens.
SORNA Extends the jurisdiction in which registration is required beyond the 50 states, the District of Columbia, and the principal U.S. territories, to include also federally recognized Indian tribes. This crime control policy encompasses the following key element:
- Incorporates a more comprehensive group of sex offenders and sex offenses for which registration is required.
- Requires registered sex offenders to register and keep their registration current in each jurisdiction in which they reside, work, or go to school.
- Requires sex offenders to provide more extensive registration information.
- Requires sex offenders to make periodic in-person appearances to verify and update their registration information.
- Expands the amount of information available to the public regarding registered sex offenders.
- Makes changes in the required minimum duration of registration for sex offenders.
The political process that sets the foundation for SORNA is the ability to serve as a public safety measure. In addition, more importantly if a sexually violent crime occurs or a child is molested, information available to law enforcement through the registration program about sex offenders who may have been present in the area may help to identify the perpetrator and solve the crime (OJP.gov). To protect the public from sexual abuse and exploitation the Federal government worked to implement stepped-up federal investigation and prosecution efforts to assist jurisdictions in enforcing sex offender registration requirements. Development of software tools, which jurisdictions will be able to use to facilitate the operation of their registration and notification programs that copy SORNA standards was completed. Lastly, they established the SMART Office to administer the national standards for sex offender registration and notification and to assist jurisdictions readily available access at the tip of their fingers (www.smart.gov).
Federal crime control effort traditionally have been directed at problems exceeding state boundaries concerned, with maintaining law and order in areas subject exclusively to federal jurisdiction or of national concern. However, states and localities have the primary responsibility for prevention and control of domestic crime, while the federal government’s role is limited. However, with the increase of crimes the federal government has increased its involvement (www.policyarchive.org). Although all crimes are important, federal government has focused the majority of thief efforts on countering terrorism and maintaining homeland security. They have recently been extending themselves towards gun control and juvenile justice system.
Lastly, I read a news article and the topic was “Capitol Hill’s sexual harassment policy ‘toothless,’ ‘a joke’” (www.politico.com). With that being said U.S. Congress is the law making branch of the United States Government. It has two houses, the House of Representatives and the United States Senate The job of the legislature is to ensure a safe and secure environment. They do this by creating laws; this is done through the federal, state, and local legislatures (Marion&Oliver, 2012). Going back to the article, the individuals on Capitol Hill making laws and enforcing policies are not even enforcing their own. Sexual Assault and Harassment training is something that these individuals are not doing. If we are enforcing rules from the top down and not following the same guidelines, how do we expect the little people not on Capitol Hill to follow in the footsteps of our leaders.
Out of 1,000 rapes a year, 310 are reported to the police. In order to increase the number of rapes being reported we need to focus on our crime control policies as well as our means to intervene when we see a sexual violent situation take place. We need to focus on training and prevention methods to ensure these sexual crimes are being reported and the perpetrator does not walk free. In doing so this needs to start at the top, Our United States President and trickle itself to the people of America.