skip navigation


Register for Latest Research

Stay Informed
Register with NCJRS to receive NCJRS's biweekly e-newsletter JUSTINFO and additional periodic emails from NCJRS and the NCJRS federal sponsors that highlight the latest research published or sponsored by the Office of Justice Programs.

NCJRS Abstract

The document referenced below is part of the NCJRS Virtual Library collection. To conduct further searches of the collection, visit the Virtual Library. See the Obtain Documents page for direction on how to access resources online, via mail, through interlibrary loans, or in a local library.


NCJ Number: 181920 Find in a Library
Title: Managing the Monstrous: Sex Offenders and the New Penology
Journal: Psychology, Public Policy, and Law  Volume:4  Issue:1/2  Dated:March/June 1998  Pages:452-467
Author(s): Jonathan Simon
Date Published: March 1998
Page Count: 16
Type: Legislation/Policy Analysis
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: This analysis focuses on new laws relating to sexually violent predators, sex offender registration, and community notification as representative of the new penology, which is a phase characterized by abandonment of the previous focus on the individual in favor of one emphasizing the group in which the individual is categorized.
Abstract: Statistical factors rather than characterological conceptions mark the group boundary in this new conception, which places a new emphasis on actuarial methods of risk assessment. The new focus is on managing risk rather than on transforming individuals regarded as abnormal. The new emphasis on managing risk and the increase in populist punitivism has led to the emergence of incapacitation as the main goal of penology. The new legal models for dealing with sex offenders illustrate how the new penology and populist punitivism are being merged in the creation of public policy. These laws transform the sex offender from an example of crime as disease back to an early conception of crime as monstrosity. In addition, the United States Supreme Court decision in Kansas v. Hendricks and the New Jersey Supreme Court decision in cases upholding Megan’s Law aid understanding of the new penology and reveal the degree to which its features are largely immune from constitutional limits established by judicial review. Footnotes
Main Term(s): Criminology
Index Term(s): Appellate court decisions; Corrections policies; Law reform; Public Opinion of Crime; Recidivism prediction; Risk management; Sentencing reform; Sex Offender Registration; Sex offenders; State laws; US Supreme Court decisions
To cite this abstract, use the following link:

*A link to the full-text document is provided whenever possible. For documents not available online, a link to the publisher's website is provided. Tell us how you use the NCJRS Library and Abstracts Database - send us your feedback.