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The Scarlet Letter of the Law: The Adam Walsh Child Protection and Safety Act of 2006
By Kyle O'Dowd
Did you see his name in the local paper?
Stole a tin of beans,
From a cut-priced grocery store.
The judge said he must pay,
So he put him on probation,
And the paper gave his name.
The Kinks, Did You See His Name?
Written by Ray Davies
From the album The Kink Kronikles
The protagonist in Ray Davies’ cautionary tale goes on to lose his job and take his life, illustrating the intractable conflict between punitive publicity and offender reintegration. From pillory to police blotter, methods for subjecting offenders to public humiliation tend to keep pace with evolving modes of public dissemination. It is not surprising, then, that authorities have harnessed the power of the Internet to disseminate information about lawbreakers. And given public attitudes toward sexual offenders, these individuals were destined to be the primary targets. Still, some states have been more judicious than others in their use of this mechanism, utilizing risk-assessment procedures that provide s
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