Sex offenders are the subjects of a discourse suggesting that they are "brutish, disgusting, primitive freaks" who are destined for recidivism. This discourse has provided the rationale for myriad laws designed to control sex offenders. However, these well-intentioned laws create negative outcomes for both sex offenders and society. This paper examines dominant sex offender discourse and discusses evidence that contradicts the prevailing assumptions about sex offenders. In so doing, it questions the efficacy and benefit of current sex offender laws and suggests alternative ways the U.S. can address the problem of child sexual abuse.
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