Florida is known for its tough sex offender registration and general sentencing laws. However, some Florida lawmakers do not believe that existing laws related to sex crimes are strict enough. As a result, many lawmakers are vowing to introduce bills during the next legislative session designed to punish convicted offenders more severely.
In particular, some state legislators are concerned that the rate of recidivism among sex offenders in Florida is far too high. They believe that punishing convicted offenders by locking them away for a longer time will reduce the rate of repeat offenses. One representative recently explained his motivation for such action in noting that, “We have to make sure we do all we can to make sure the laws in the state of Florida are going to be astringent and tough as possible to deter these types of criminal elements.”
However, numerous studies confirm that lengthy terms of incarceration are not as effective in reducing rates of recidivism as alternatives are. As we have previously mentioned, granting offenders access to adequate psychological treatment, transition assistance and alternative accountability measures is often a far more successful approach to reducing recidivism than longer incarceration periods are. This is especially true when it comes to holding low-level offenders accountable for their actions.
Locking low-level offenders up for longer periods of time will cost Florida taxpayers a staggering amount of money and is not likely to greatly reduce rates of recidivism in the Sunshine State. Before lawmakers introduce bills to toughen sex crimes law, perhaps they should consider more effective alternatives to this approach for the benefit of all Floridians.
Source: WTXL, “Lawmakers look to toughen up sex offender laws next yr.” Aug. 26, 2013