Stiffer Sentences for Sex Offenders Needed
According to the Texas Department of Public Safety, sex offenses occur every 1 hour and 3 minutes. The U.S. Department of Justice reports that 1 rape occurs every 5.6 minutes in this country, as of 2004. You may or may not be aware that most offenders do not spend a day in jail. These sex offenders are living among us. I will go over the statistics, how this affects us, and the need for stiffer sentencing laws. I believe if we do not make stiffer laws for sex offenders, we are making our family members prey for such predators. Many sex offenders are in the public when they should be in jail.
According to the U.S. Department of Justice 209,880 sex offenses were reported in the U.S. last year. I learned from the Texas Department of Public Safety’s Crime Report for 2004 that 67 sex offenses were reported in Abilene. This report also states that 15,673 sex offenses were reported in the state of Texas last year. Through researching this same report I discovered that 93% of reported sex offenses in Texas were committed against children. From the Texas Department of Corrections, I found that 57% of sex offenders in Texas are on probation and only 43% of sex offenders in Texas are in jail. This seems to be a national trend. According to a report released by the American Correctional Associaton, nearly 99,300 of 233,600 sex offenders are on probation or parole. This, too, is 43% living in our communities.
Now that we have the numbers, let me tell you how this affects us. Did you know that most people murdered by sex offenders are murdered by repeat offenders? Did you know that most repeat offenders are only sentenced to probation for their first offense? Carlie Brucia was murdered by Joseph Smith, a repeat offender. This was a senseless crime that ended a bright future of a young girl. Had Smith remained in jail for his first offense, Carlie may still be living among us.
There are 52 sex offenders in the 79605 zip code alone. This is not including the rest of Abilene. Of these, 5 are repeat offenders. 1 of which was arrested 4 times for molesting 7, 8, 9, and 10 year old girls. Each of these 4 times he only received probation. When he molested the 5th girl in 1996, (an 8 year old) he finally received a 20 year prison sentence. Don’t applause yet. Unfortunately, he was released in 2004 after only serving 9 years of his sentence. It bothers me, and should bother you that this man lives only 1 block from my children’s elementary school.
Now that we know the standard for sentencing, I propose drastic changes in the sentencing of sex offenders. I propose a minimum sentence of 25 years for a sex offense with no possibility of parole. This may seem drastic to many of you, but I feel that since a sex crime is a lifelong sentence for the victim, it should also be for the offender. With new laws, our family members can be better protected. Parents would no longer have to live in fear that when their children walk out the door, they may never come home again. Our safety and family’s safety must be the #1 priority in this country once again. The fact that the government has lost sight of this is very disturbing to me and many other parents.
Changing laws can help there be a bigger gap between the sex offenses committed. They can help us to protect our families. I hope that you are now more aware of the lack of laws protecting our families. Now that you have the numbers and how this directly affects you and your family; I hope that you, too, can see the need for stiffer sentencing laws. It is now our turn to stand up and do something about the need for stiffer sentencing for sex offenders. Write to your congressman, state representative, and governor to try to get these laws changed. One voice alone may seem weak in the middle of a crowd. However, all of our voices together can be strong and heard, even in a large crowd.
Gibeaut, John. “Defining Punishment: Courts Split on Notification Provisions of Sex Offender Laws.” ABA Journal. Mar. 1997: 36-37.
“Megan’s Law: Pointing the Finger of Blame.” Economist. 15 Feb. 1997: 27-28.
“Sex-Crime Laws Draw More Flack.” Christian Science Monitor. 13 Aug. 1998: 3.
Texas Department of Public Safety. “Crime In Texas: The Texas Crime Report.” 2004. <https://records.txdps.state.tx.us/soSearch/default.cfm>
Clayton, Susan L. “Most Sex Offenders on Parole, Probation.” Corrections Today. Apr. 1997: 16.