Monday, December 05, 2005

WorldNetDaily: Mandatory life, no parole for child molesters?

That's what they're thinking of doing in Florida.

First, we had the spectacle of child molesters copping a plea, doing a minimum of time, then marking time in a halfway house (excuse me: Adult Diagnostic and Treatment Center; we have one in Avenel, NJ), then hitting the street and doing the same thing again. Then an Avenel graduate named Jesse Timmendequas killed another little girl (Megan Kanka) in the neighborhood where he had moved. (He has since been tried, convicted, and lawfully executed.) Megan's mother, Maureen, campaigned vigorously for "Megan's Law" to require future Jesses to register with the local police chief and to face notification of all his future neighbors--including all future Mrs. Kankas--whenever they moved from one place to another. This led to legal challenges, some of which the courts have ultimately rejected on public-safety grounds.

And what else could the courts, in good conscience, do? Here is the problem: Once a child molester, always a child molester. If any institution like the one in Avenel has achieved any single positive result, I haven't found out about it. And I doubt that Maureen Kanka would have succeeded had Jesse Timmendequas been Avenel's one and only failure, no matter how tragic that failure was.

The Wall Street Journal had this bottom line on Megan's Law: It's a stupid law, and the smart thing to do is to lock child molesters up and throw away the key. Which is what someone has proposed in the Florida Legislature. And it's about time. Megan's Law was a quick-and-dirty response to a nasty problem, a problem that the law can solve only by putting away the offenders where they can never touch a child again. And that goes for any other offense for which the recidivism rate--the rate at which they'll go out and do the same thing again, or worse--is greater than, say, seventy-five percent.

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