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NCJ Number: 200099 Find in a Library
Title: Hare and the Tortoise: Dangerousness and Sex Offender Policy in the United States and Canada
Journal: Canadian Journal of Criminology and Criminal Justice  Volume:45  Issue:1  Dated:January 2003  Pages:43-72
Author(s): Michael Petrunik
Date Published: January 2003
Page Count: 30
Type: Legislation/Policy Analysis
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: Canada
Annotation: This paper compares the community protection approaches taken with sex offenders in the United States versus Canada.
Abstract: During the 1980’s, a community protection approach emerged in response to the perceived enduring dangerousness of sex offenders. The impetus of this approach was several high profile cases involving the sexual assaults and murders of young children by previously convicted sex offenders. Key elements of the community protection approach in both the United States and Canada are sex offender registration, offender tracking, community notification, and post-sentence sanctions that range from civil commitment to peace bonds and community surveillance. The author compares the way this approach has been implemented in each country and notes the relatively slower and more cautious approach adopted by Canadian officials versus the aggressive approach taken in the United States. Recent research in the United States has cast doubt on the ability of local authorities to adequately monitor compliance with registration and notification requirements. There is also some question as to whether the negative consequences of such requirements outweigh the supposed benefits of the programs. The author contends that while research has yet to uncover the best approach to community protection, Canada’s slower, more cautious approach is less likely to result in a litany of court challenges and may ultimately have negative consequences than the rapid and far-reaching approach of the United States. Notes, references
Main Term(s): Criminal justice system policy; Sex offenders
Index Term(s): Canada; Policy analysis; Sex Offender Registration; United States of America
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