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Does the Punishment Always Fit the Crime: A Look at the Current Punishments and Social Consequences for Sex Offenders

Erica Patfield
Ohio Northern University

Throughout history societies have had crime, and punishments for them.  Societies have also had the unfortunate habit of ostracizing those convicted of crimes that are consider especially heinous and deplorable.  One group of criminals is that is particularly looked down upon is sexual offenders.  The very term makes those around shake their head is disgust and instills fear into the hearts of parents.  What is even more unfortunate than society’s ability to ostracize is the fact that many times we do so without proper knowledge.  People react based solely upon immediate visceral and emotional reactions.  The aim of this paper is to take a deeper look into the current punishments for those convicted of a sexual offense, and whether these punishments socially isolate them.  By utilizing theories from Charles Horton Cooley and Emile Durkheim, in concert with an interview with a local registered sexual offender the cause and consequence of the legislation in place will be examined.

North Central Sociological Association Conference, Chicago, IL