Mirror of Justice

A blog dedicated to the development of Catholic legal theory.
Affiliated with the Program on Church, State & Society at Notre Dame Law School.

Friday, August 28, 2009

Is it possible to protect our kids and human dignity?

The story of Jaycee Dougard is heart-breaking and, especially for parents of young children, a source of intense anxiety.  It also will shape the debate over how we treat convicted sex offenders.  This morning I saw one law enforcement expert appear on television to demand a "one strike and you're out" policy, presumably meaning that one-time sex offenders should be locked up forever.  As a parent, I sympathize with the "lock 'em up forever" sentiment, and undoubtedly there is something troubling about a convicted kidnapper/rapist being freed to do his despicable acts again.  At the same time, I'm not sure how a commitment to human dignity comports with such a draconian measure.  And the increasingly popular chemical castration option may be even worse.  On that front, be sure to check out John Stinneford's excellent article.  There are many layers to this story, even beyond criminal law -- e.g., what does it say about our society that three girls could be raised in a back yard for many years without anyone noticing?


Vischer, Rob | Permalink

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