Sexuality
Resources

 email page    print page

All Topic Reviews
269 Amazing Sex GamesA History of MarriageA Pocket History of Sex in the Twentieth CenturyActionAll the WayAmerica UnzippedAmerica UnzippedAmerica's Sexual TransformationAmerican EugenicsAmerican GirlsAmerican HookupAn Interpretation of DesireAnarchism & SexualityAnatomy of a BoyfriendAnatomy of LoveAnthony GoicoleaAnticlimaxArt and HomosexualityArt/PornAssuming a BodyAutoportraitBachelors and BunniesBecoming OrgasmicBehind the Red DoorBest Sex Writing 2005Better Sex Through YogaBetter Sex Through YogaBetter Than EverBetween Mom and JoBeyond Diversity DayBeyond SexualityBeyond ToleranceBig Porn IncBill HensonBodies in DoubtBody ImagesBonkBoys Don't CryBreasts - A DocumentaryBrothelBuying SexCase Studies in Communication about SexCase Studies in Sexual DevianceCaught in the WebCelibaciesChildren and SexualityChildren and the Politics of SexualityChildren with Sexual Behavior ProblemsChildren, Sexuality and SexualizationChristy ReportClay's WayClinical Manual of Women's Mental HealthClose toYouClumsyCold HitCollege SexComing of Age in AmericaConfessions of the Other MotherCybersexCyborgasmDare... to Make Love with 2, 3, 4... or MoreDare... to Try BisexualityDating: Philosophy for EveryoneDeadly ButterflyDebating Same-Sex MarriageDeep GossipDeparting from DevianceDesire, Love, and IdentityDigital DiariesDilemmas of DesireDirty MindsDirty StoriesDisorders Of DesireDisorders of Sex Development:Doing ItDoing ItDoing It Down UnderDown and Dirty Sex SecretsDude, You're a FagEarly Embraces IIIEmerald City BluesEmotionally InvolvedEnjoying Guilty PleasuresErotic CapitalErotic InnocenceErotic PassionsEthics, Sexual Orientation, and Choices about ChildrenEveryday PornographyEvolution and Human Sexual BehaviorExploring TranssexualismFade to BlackFagbugFaking ItFamilies Like MineFast GirlsFinal JeopardyFinding H. F.Fire on the Mountain DVDFor Lesbian ParentsFor The Bible Tells Me SoForbiddenFrictionFrom Disgust to HumanityFrom Shame to SinFuckologyGay, Straight, and the Reason WhyGender in the MirrorGender OutlawsGeography ClubGetting RealGetting the Love You WantGirls & SexGirls Gone MildGirls Gone SkankGLBTQGoddess WorshipGoing DownGood GirlsGood PornGood Sex IllustratedGreat Answers to Difficult Questions About SexGuide To Getting It OnHandbook New Sexuality StudiesHandbook of Counseling and Psychotherapy with Lesbian, Gay, and Bisexual ClientsHard to GetHardcore from the HeartHear Us Out!HeterosyncraciesHit & MissHomosexualitiesHookedHooking UpHow Sex Became a Civil LibertyHow Sex ChangedHow Sex WorksHow To Be GayHow to Do Things with Pornography How to Give Her Absolute PleasureHow to Have Magnificent SexHow to Make Great Love to a ManHow to Make Great Love to a WomanHow to Make Love Like a Porn StarHow to Think More About SexHypnography for MenHypnography for WomenHysterical MenI'd Rather Eat ChocolateI'll Be Your MirrorIf Men Could TalkImpotenceIn a Queer VoiceIn Praise of the WhipIn the Mood, AgainInsatiable WivesIntense Games DVDInvestigating Young People's Sexual CulturesIt's Perfectly NormalIt's Perfectly NormalItís Your HourJane Sexes It UpJock SturgesJust Between UsKama-Sutra--The Secrets to the Art of LoveKids Gone WildLegalizing ProstitutionLegalizing ProstitutionLet's Get This StraightLets Talk about SexLetters to Penthouse Vol. 50Likely to DieLittle ChicagoLoose GirlLosing Matt ShepardLoveLove and DesireLove and SexLove JunkieLove Lust DesireLove SickLustMad for FoucaultMagical ThinkingMaking American BoysMaking Babies the Hard WayMaking Chastity SexyMaking Peace with PornMaking ScenesMale SexualityMalefemaleMaster BreastsMating in CaptivityMedicalized MasculinitiesMelancholia and MoralismMenMental Health Issues in Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Communities MiddlesexMoney ShotMoral Panics, Sex PanicsMy Girlfriend Comes to the City and Beats Me UpMy HeartbeatMy Horizontal LifeName All the AnimalsNatural BeautyNerveNerveNew Sex Now DVDNightswimmingNone of the AboveNormalNormalNot GayNot The Marrying KindNot Under My RoofNothing PinkOedipus WreckedOn Being RapedOne Hot SecondOne Hour in ParisOpenOrgasmOrgasm Inc.OrgasmologyOrgasmsOver 100 Truly Astonishing Sex TipsOverexposedPeekPeriod PiecesPervPhilosophizing About Sex Philosophy of Love, Sex, and MarriagePin-up GrrrlsPINSPlease Don't Kill the FreshmanPolicing SexualityPolyamory in the 21st CenturyPornPorn NationPorn StudiesPorn UniversityPornifiedPornlandPornographyPornographyPornography, Sex, and FeminismPosition Of The Day PlaybookPray the Gay AwayPredatorsPremarital Sex in AmericaPrinciples and Practice of Sex TherapyPrivate Dicks - Men ExposedPrivate Practices DVDProblem GirlsPrudePsychopathia SexualisQueer PhilosophyRapeRape Is RapeRated X - A Journey Through PornRazmatazRecruiting Young LoveRedefining GirlyRedefining RapeRegulating SexRethinking Gender and Sexuality in ChildhoodRethinking RapeRunning with ScissorsSatan's Sex BookScreening SexSelling Sex ShortSexSex & Single GirlsSex (Ed)Sex and SpiritSex and the American TeenagerSex and the SoulSex and the Soul, Updated EditionSex and WarSex at DawnSex by NumbersSex DetoxSex Fiends, Perverts, and PedophilesSex in CrisisSex ObjectSex OffendersSex on the BrainSex PositionsSex Q & ASex, Family, and the Culture WarsSex, or the UnbearableSex, Therapy, and KidsSex, Time and PowerSextasySexting and Young PeopleSexual ArtSexual Boundary ViolationsSexual DevianceSexual DisordersSexual EcstasySexual EthicsSexual FluiditySexual IntelligenceSexual Orientation and Psychodynamic PsychotherapySexual Orientation and School PolicySexual PleasureSexual PredatorsSexual Teens, Sexual MediaSexuality in AdolescenceSexuationSexyBookShameShamelessShy GirlSlutWalkSmall FavorsSmutSocial Control of Sex OffendersSome Assembly RequiredSplit ScreenStir-FryStraight to JesusStrange BedfellowsStripped BareSurviving Sexual ViolenceSymptoms of Being HumanTalkTalk to Me FirstTechniques of PleasureThe Anthropology of SexThe BabiesThe Better Sex Guide to the Kama SutraThe Big Book of PornThe Birth of the PillThe Blue Moon Erotic Reader IIIThe BodyThe Breast BookThe Breath of Tantric LoveThe Busy Couple's Guide to Great SexThe Case of the Female OrgasmThe Chemistry Between UsThe Clitoral TruthThe Education of SophieThe Emergence of SexualityThe End Of AliceThe End of SexThe Erotic EdgeThe Erotic Lives of WomenThe Essential KamasutraThe Fate of GenderThe First Man-Made ManThe First TimeThe Gay Baby BoomThe Good Vibrations Guide to SexThe Happy Hook-UpThe Hite ReportThe Humble Little CondomThe Illustrated Guide to Extended Massive OrgasmThe Illustrated Story of OThe Love CureThe Madness of WomenThe Men They Will BecomeThe Mirror of LoveThe Miseducation of Cameron PostThe Moral Panics of SexualityThe Naked Truth About SexThe Nature of Sexual DesireThe New Erotic PhotographyThe New Gay TeenagerThe Notebook GirlsThe Only Girl in the CarThe Order of the Poison OakThe Origins of SexThe Other HollywoodThe Other PlaceThe Other Side of DesireThe Perils of MasculinityThe Perversion of YouthThe Philosophy of PornographyThe Philosophy of Sex: Contemporary ReadingsThe Pleasure's All MineThe Politics Of LustThe Porn TrapThe Pornographer's GriefThe Pornography IndustryThe Praeger Handbook of TranssexualityThe Psychodynamics of Gender and Gender RoleThe Purity MythThe Real Truth About Teens and SexThe Right to Be ParentsThe Secret Lives of GirlsThe Sex Addiction WorkbookThe Sex Lives of TeenagersThe Sex MythThe Shared HeartThe Sleep of ReasonThe Smart Girl's Guide to PornThe SurrenderThe Ten Minute Sexual SolutionThe Tenth CircleThe Transformations of GwenThe Transformations of GwenThe Trauma MythThe Ultimate Guide to Sex and DisabilityThe Vagina MonologuesThe ValleyThe Violence of CareThe Virgin BlueThe Virginity ClubThings Tom LikesThinking KinkThinking XXXToo Hot to HandleTransTransTransgender Children and YouthUltimate JudgementUltimate SexUndoing GenderUnlikelyUntangling the WebVirginVirgin NationVirgin Sex for GirlsVirgin Sex for GuysVirginity LostWhat Women WantWhat's Happening to My Body? Book for BoysWhat's Happening to My Body? Book for GirlsWhat's Happening to Tom?What's Wrong with Homosexuality?When Jeff Comes HomeWhen Sex Goes to SchoolWhen the Piano StopsWhere Do We Fall When We Fall in Love?Who Has What?Who's Been Sleeping in Your HeadWilhelm ReichWired for IntimacyWomen and Child Sexual AbuseWomen and MadnessWritten in the FleshZen Sex

Related Topics
Sex Fiends, Perverts, and PedophilesReview - Sex Fiends, Perverts, and Pedophiles
Understanding Sex Crime Policy in America
by Chrysanthi S. Leon
NYU Press, 2011
Review by Hennie Weiss
Aug 14th 2012 (Volume 16, Issue 33)

Focusing mostly on the state of California, Chrysanthi S. Leon analyses contemporary sex offender punishment based on a historical context in Sex Fiends, Perverts, and Pedophiles: Understanding Sex Crime Policy in America. In doing so, Leon employs triangulation methodology by using descriptive statistics, archival research and participant observation.

Leon starts by describing the various classifications and images of sexual predators, such as the monster (the dangerous stranger), the patient (with an amendable pathology) and the nuisance (the bothersome child molester). Leon then discusses fallacies (deeply held beliefs) of sex crime, such as the stranger fallacy (that sexual offenders are mostly strangers), the singular sex offender fallacy (that all sex offenders are alike) and the new law fallacy (that new, increasingly punitive laws will deter and prevent offenses).

Leon then traces the "sexual psychopath era" from 1930 to 1955 when the dominant theories in criminology included the "sex fiend", a deviant person with a compulsive sex disorder. During this period, sensational stories of child victims were covered extensively, which resulted in the creation of educational short films focusing on the dangerous and monstrous stranger as offender. The focus of the sexual psychopath era was on "...incapacitation, biological research, public education or awareness, and rehabilitation" (p. 29). Incarceration rates did not change much during this era, but sex offenders were no longer viewed as suffering from biological defects (as described by earlier researchers, such as Lombroso), but rather mental illness. Civil commitment was therefore utilized quite often in comparison to criminal sentencing. In 1947, as a means of responding to the needs and concerns of the public, California implemented the nation's first registration law.

Rehabilitation became the focus from 1950 to 1980 during the "rehabilitation era". Published material during this period focused on sexual behavior (the Kinsey study among others) while books were written portraying the struggling sexual offender protagonists trying to live a "normal" life. Treatment and discussions concerning levels of harm and dangerousness of offenders were assessed. Civil commitment was often implemented, as was the restriction of obscene material even though registration with police, the death penalty and castration were also used.

Did rehabilitation and civil commitment work to amend sex offenders? Leon states that some sex offenders were screened out of the process while the more "useful citizens" received rehabilitation. Psychiatrists greatly influenced whether an offender should receive rehabilitation or prison. Violent offenders were often viewed as too problematic for rehabilitation, while child molesters made up a large percentage of both the civil commitment and the prison population. Nonpenetrating child molester often received civil commitment. Focusing much on diagnosis, little rehabilitation or treatment actually occurred, and individual treatment was extremely limited, while many offenders viewed as a "nuisance" and those who committed misdemeanors were sent to prison due to the fact that they did not "fit" the rehabilitation criteria.

The decline of civil commitment also marks the end of the rehabilitation era, and the beginning of the "containment era". Leon therefore discusses sex offender policy from the 1980s to present day. Rather than focusing on civil commitment, the containment era is characteristic of penalty enhancements and strategies to prevent and punish offenders. This is done through incarceration, castration and execution, but also by expanding the range of offenses that are required to be registered (such as indecent exposure), allowing public access to the registry of sex offenders, and implementing banishment zones.

In order to increase our understanding of sex offenders, Leon states that more studies and knowledge development is needed. The increasingly punitive programs are often spurred by single-victim organizations focusing on particularly heinous cases, especially those involving young children. Leon states that some of these policy implications result in unwanted consequences. Many sex offenders cannot find housing, and are therefore living in motels and half-way houses together with multiple other sex offenders, or they are concentrated in high crime and high poverty areas. The restrictions also make it difficult for the offenders to find employment and receive treatment. 

Leon states that there are few changes in sex offending over the years. What is different in the containment era is the rate of incarceration, the implementation of longer sentences, and the belief in the predatory stranger (or bogeyman). The increased discretionary power and charging decisions of prosecutors (such as wobbler crimes that can be charged as either a misdemeanor or felony) and the removal of power from judges also serve to increase the sex offender prison population. Since the 1980s, Leon states that the focus of the containment era includes the notion that we should aid the victims and punish the offenders (rather than also treating the offenders). It would be interesting if she elaborates on how victim treatment is implemented to aid the victims as she gives examples of treatment for sexual offenders.

Leon ends the book by discussing how we tend to treat those who commit sex offenses as a particular type of people, rather than looking at their behavior. In doing so, we look at "species" rather than "conduct". The notion of the sex offender as a stranger also ignores the notion that sexual assault often takes place within families and by authority figures. The unintended consequences of policy implementations also result in creating an automatic pool of suspects (through the registry laws), while often causing much suffering to the families of the offender. Leon states that it is necessary to differentiate between sex offenders in order "...to guide discretion and to recognize institutional constraints and budgetary limits..." (p. 196).

The intended audience is scholars and students in criminology and sociology as the book seeks to explain the history and sociology of sex offender punishment, crime legislation, public awareness and public discourse. The book is well written and informative, but also rather technical. Therefore, a general knowledge of the criminal justice system, criminology and the implementation of law on the books, law in action and judicial decision-making is highly recommended.

 

© 2012 Hennie Weiss

 

Hennie Weiss has a Master's degree in Sociology from California State University, Sacramento. Her academic interests include women's studies, gender, sexuality and feminism. 

 


Share

Welcome to MHN's unique book review site Metapsychology. We feature over 7800 in-depth reviews of a wide range of books and DVDs written by our reviewers from many backgrounds and perspectives. We update our front page weekly and add more than thirty new reviews each month. Our editor is Christian Perring, PhD. To contact him, use one of the forms available here.

Can't remember our URL? Access our reviews directly via 'metapsychology.net'


Metapsychology Online reviewers normally receive gratis review copies of the items they review.
Metapsychology Online receives a commission from Amazon.com for purchases through this site, which helps us send review copies to reviewers. Please support us by making your Amazon.com purchases through our Amazon links. We thank you for your support!


Join our e-mail list!: Metapsychology New Review Announcements: Sent out monthly, these announcements list our recent reviews. To subscribe, click here.

Interested in becoming a book reviewer for Metapsychology? Currently, we especially need thoughtful reviewers for books in fiction, self-help and popular psychology. To apply, write to our editor.

Metapsychology Online Reviews

Promote your Page too

Metapsychology Online Reviews
ISSN 1931-5716