MANDATORY SEX OFFENDER REGISTRATION
The purpose of this paper is to discuss mandatory sex offender registration, taking an ethical stand on this criminology/criminal justice issue. It must be noted here that the ethical position that is taken is formulated within the most current legal context of the issue, namely the context of Megan's law, stipulating that there not only be mandatory registration but also community notification. This law has wedded the two issues and to discuss one without the other would be to provide an incomplete assessment of the registration issue.
The discussion and formulation of an ethical stance on the selected issue is presented in five discrete categories. These are: (a) a historical overview of the issue; (b) a description of the current state of affairs as it relates to the sex offender registration/notification issue; (c) speculations as to the ways in which the issue will be addressed in the future; (d) a supported ethical stand on the issue; and (e) an exploration of the potential positive and negative consequences of the adopted stand.
Today, it is impossible to talk about sex offender registration without also talking about community notification of the fact that the sex offender has moved into the neighborhood. Regarding registration of sex offenders, this was originally mandated by the Jacob Wetterling Crimes Against Children and Sexually Violent Offender Registration Act (Department of Justice, 1997). However, an event happened on July 29, 1994 that would amend this act considerably, directly connecting sex offender registration to community notification.
On July 29, 1994, seven-year-old Megan Kanka, from Hamilton Township, New Jersey was walking home after playing at a friend's house. She had almost reached her front door when Jesse Timmendequas, 33, a landscaper who had lived across the street for about a year, invited her over to pet his new puppy.
When the little gir...