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Edited by Lawrence A. Dubin and Emily Horowitz

Caught in the Web of the Criminal Justice System

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Catalog No. 29774

Arguing for reform in the judicial treatment of people convicted of sex offenses, this book examines how sentencing policies are based on emotion rather than research.

Using the lens of harsh sex offense prosecutions of those with developmental disabilities, this book highlights the hysteria underlying our approach to sex offenses.

Increasing numbers of people with autism and other developmental disabilities are being convicted of sex offenses, resulting in draconian and public punishment. Yet even when evidence shows that people with these conditions often pose little threat to society, or lack a core understanding as to why their actions break the law, the "sex offender legal regime" doesn't allow any room to take the disability into account.

This ground-breaking book offers a multi-disciplinary examination of how unjust sex offense laws trap vulnerable groups such as those with developmental disabilities. Drawing on research, empirical evidence and including case studies, experts from the fields of law, ethics, psychology and sociology explore what steps should be taken in order to ensure that laws are just and take into consideration factors such as the vulnerability of the perpetrators. Investigating the consequences caused by public hysteria over sex offenses, this book highlights the judicial failure to protect defendants with developmental disabilities in the context of the unjust and hyper-punishment of all those charged with sex offenses. Proposing a new way forward based on research and evidence-based sentencing for sex offenses, and elimination of the sex offender registry, this book offers an informed and compassionate view that is essential for all professionals working in this field.

"In the past, when the unthinkable happened and an individual within the autism spectrum was charged with sexually-related crimes, parents despaired, clinicians and advocates stood powerless, and a train wreck of destruction followed. No more. This book is now our most powerful weapon to counter a system too rigid to understand, too self-righteous to be just, and too unforgiving to consider scientific facts and clinical knowledge."--Ami Klin PhD, Marcus Autism Center, Children's Healthcare of Atlanta and Emory University School of Medicine

Foreword by Alan Gershel; Introduction by Mark Mahoney and Afterword by Tony Attwood. Contributions by: Gary Mesibov, Melissa Sreckovic, Kenneth M. Mogill, Dennis P. Sugrue, Mark H. Allenbaugh, Richard Wollert, Alexander Skelton, Fred S. Berlin, Erin Comartin, Nick Dubin, Catherine Carpenter, John Douard and Pamela Schultz

352 pages. 2017


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