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Outrage Is Not Enough

PsycCRITIQUES , Volume 55 (5) – Feb 3, 2010


American Psychological Association
Copyright © 2010 by American Psychological Association
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Outrage Is Not Enough


<p>Richard Wright’s edited volume on the state of sex offender laws in the United States is steeped in a sense of outrage: over the reactive and unreflective ways in which such laws are promulgated, over their seeming invulnerability against empirical findings contrary to their assumptions, and over media and politicians who reap short-term gain while ignoring and minimizing long-term problems and unintended side effects. Sex Offender Laws: Failed Policies, New Directions generally succeeds in inculcating this sense of outrage over the breathtaking failure of current sex offender policies and laws. It works less well in accomplishing its second mission of providing new directions. Here, it offers a few useful ideas and resources, mixed with some serious missteps.</p> <p>The book is divided into three sections. The first section, consisting of four chapters, describes how and why current sex offender policies and laws have failed, summarizes empirical data on sexual assault, and provides a summary of sex offender laws and the politics that infuse them. This section has a clearly partisan, in-your-face style. While not shrill, too much opinion is asserted before the bases for it are covered. The introductory chapter is clear, the chapter on sexual assault provides a
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