Megan's Law - Protection More Important than Privacy Essay

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Megan's Law - Protection More Important than Privacy

In 1994, twice-convicted sex offender Jesse Timmendequas raped and murdered Megan Kanka, a seven-year old girl who lived across the street. In reaction to this emotionally-charged crime, Megan's home state of New Jersey ratified a community notification bill - dubbed "Megan's Law" - just three months later. This fall, a national version of the law went into effect, mandating that all fifty states notify citizens in writing of the presence of convicted sex offenders within their communities. Certainly, society has a responsibility to protect children from sex offenders, and many feel that Megan's Law is the best course of action. However, others feel that it is an unwarranted
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The facts seem clear: if an individual commits a sex crime more than once, it is likely he or she will commit the same type of crime again. Furthermore, Megan's Law is capable of halting these destructive patterns of reoccurrence.

Critics often argue that notification is a form of double jeopardy through which a criminal suffers punishment twice for the same crime. However, this is a gross misunderstanding of the law. The intent of the law is not to inflict additional harm on the offender. Rather, it is to provide a crucial service for the public. It is true that released sex offenders may be inconvenienced by Megan's Law, but this is merely a side-effect of protecting our children and not a deliberate method of additional punishment. And let us think about the individuals who are adversely affected by Megan's Law, for it applies only to those individuals who have committed multiple acts of violent molestation. Thus, Megan's Law is aimed squarely at those who pose a clear and present danger to their community, and it directly and effectively reduces the chances that these select "high risk" individuals will harm children.

Other critics argue that Megan's Law destroys the right to privacy of released criminals. However, as Americans, we are not endowed with an unconditional right to privacy. Roe v. Wade established that in certain cases privacy must be regarded as a right - in matters such as marriage, procreation, child rearing

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