Are Community Notification Laws Justifiedare Community Notification Laws Justified

3301 Words Apr 30th, 2012 14 Pages
English 121
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November 17, 2009

Are community notification laws justified?

Introduction & Research Questions
Picture of Megan Kanka. Taken from Cal State, San Marcos’s University Police Department.
Are community notification laws justified? When talking about such a controversial topic, we must ask ourselves why community notification laws were created. Richard and Maureen Kanka thought that their daughter Megan was safe. The Kankas had lived for fifteen years in quiet, suburban Hamilton Township, New Jersey. A family of five, they worked hard, paid their taxes, believed in God, charity, and the goodness of others. July 29, 1994 was a tragic day in history. First-grader Megan Kanka, Richard and
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Among many fears, child sexual abuse is in my top five. As a result, I keep up on current events and notification laws.
Before I started this project, I was familiar with the severity of child sexual abuse. Through my Criminology studies at the College of Lake County, I know that one out of every four girls will be sexually assaulted before they turn eighteen. When I learned about this alarming statistic, community notification laws were brought up for discussion. These laws allow communities to be notified of sexual offenders who are about to be released from jail and the location of current convicted sexual offenders living in their neighborhood. Larger cities use databases that can be viewed by anyone who has access to the Internet, while smaller towns, which don’t have the ability to publish online, use paper publications to notify their community members. These laws exist to inform the community and prevent further child sexual abuse from repeat offenders. The question therefore remains whether community notification laws will ultimately be beneficial. When talking about the beneficial effects of community notification laws, we also have to consider the opposing viewpoint. The constitutional challenge to community notification statutes question whether the burden imposed by the law constitutes punishment of the offender after their time has been served. With these questions in mind, I would like to show how

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