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Sex Crime Laws in Michigan: Making Everyone Feel Safer

Page history last edited by Deonnia Sanders 9 years, 11 months ago

Deonnia Sanders

December 13, 2010

Project 5

Sex Crime Laws in Michigan: Making Everyone Feel Safer

Every day women and children are being targeted by predators. Women and children are being watched, followed, and then attacked by these predators. These predators are sex offenders, they rape women and children and in the process they are taking away that person’s sanity. There are laws that are supposed to keep these predators off the streets but what helps is it doing when they let out? Even though there are laws that are supposed to protect individuals from sex offenders it is not beneficial for the victims for long.

There are sex crime laws that keep sex offenders off the street. These laws are intended to provide justice to a person that has been raped or apart of any sex crime. Rape is forced, unwanted sexual intercourse. There are several listing of sexual crimes that falls under the law. Criminal Sexual Conduct is one of the largest crimes; it has different degrees and has different means. Criminal Sexual Conduct in the 1st degree is sexual penetration that involves one or more of the following: intercourse, cunnilingus, fellatio, and anal intercourse. The victim has to be a minor or older, the victim must live in the same household as the sex offender, and the victim has to be related to the offender by blood or marriage, or the offender must be in the position of authority over the victim. When a person is raped then a criminal sexual conduct to the 1st degree has been committed (Sexual Assault Prevention and Awareness Center).

Criminal Sexual Conduct in the 2nd degree is having sexual contact intentionally touching intimate parts or clothing covering intimate for the purpose of sexual arousal or gratification. The same circumstance as criminal sexual conduct 1st applies to the 2nd degree. When a person has been molested then a criminal sexual conduct to the 2nd degree has been committed. Criminal sexual conduct to the 3rd degree is penetration and the victim has to be a minor or older, coercion, and the victim is incapacity. Criminal sexual conduct to the 4th degree is having sexual contact as listed in the 2nd degree, but unlike the first 3, assailant is employed by the department of corrections in which the victim is incarcerated (Sexual Assault Prevention and Awareness Center). For the first criminal sexual conduct the offender can be punished up to a life term in prison, for the 2nd and 3rd the offender can be punished up to 15 years in prison, and for the 4th degree the offender can be punished up to 2 years and a $500.00 fine (Sexual Assault Prevention and Awareness Center). Charges are heavier against the offender if the victim is a minor, the offender can get the maximum punishable amount of years in prison depending on the nature of the crime. Criminal Sexual Conduct is the legal term in Michigan for sexual assault or rape (Sexual Assault).

In the state of Michigan there is a statue of limitation on sexual offense. The statue of limitations is a legal period where the victim has a certain time frame to press charges against the alleged offender. If the sexual offense is to the first degree and punishable by life imprisonment, then the indictment can be filed at any time. Criminal sexual conducts to the 2nd degree indictment has to be filed within 10 years after the offense or by the victims 21st birthday. Criminal sexual conducts to the 3rd and 4th degree have to file within 6 years (NCSL).

Even though there are statute of limitations for sexual assaults, the victim still haves to live with it. Being a victim of a sexual assault plays a big role in the person’s life mentally and emotionally. They have to spend the rest of their lives. With the way Michigan laws are the victim will be a part of the same society as their rapist. It is a long and painful process for the victim after the offense. It is hard to tell but it is even harder to live with it, that’s why the law needs to be stricter with laws. After being a victim of a sexual assault, the victim has to learn to put the pieces of their life back together. Sometimes it can be really hard especially when the victim feels that they can’t be protected by the law.

It changes the victim’s mind set and how they view. The victims live in fear and on the edge. The law is suppose to be the solution in a crime like this but victims feel like they won’t receive the help they need from the law. It is hard for the victim not being able to tell and receive help for what happen. A lot of victims go there whole lives without saying anything. With the lack of trust that the victims have for the law, sex offenders come to get away with their crimes destroying more lives.  

Sex offenders are required to register as a sex offender so that society will know about sex offenders. The Michigan Sex Offender is a database that contains the names, addresses, and listed offense information of all persons in Michigan convicted of a sexual offense (Backgrounder). The database was established in 1994 by the Michigan Sex Offenders Registration Act (Backgrounder). The offender is required to register as a sex offender for 25 years or life. There are more requirements, sex offenders after they are released must: register, change their address when they move, verify their address quarterly, pay a $35 onetime fee to register, keep the law enforcement campus they are assigned to updated, maintain a driver’s license or identification card, and live, work, and loiter at least 1,000 feet of a school (Backgrounder). Any offender that violates one or more of the requirements will have a warrant for their arrest. Then there is the Public Sex Offender Registry. The Public Sex Offender Registry is a database containing the names, addresses, and listed offense information of the persons living in Michigan convicted of certain sexual offenses after October 1, 1995. Anyone under the age of 18 that commits a criminal sexual conduct offense to the first or second degree will be on the Public Sex Offender Registry until their 18th birthday (Backgrounder).

The law is not protecting society enough against these sex offenders. The law is allowing sex offenders to be more apart of society. As a result to this fewer victims make the decision not to tell. Victims refuse to come forward about their rapes. It is more than just fear of the offender why victims don’t report rape; Michigan laws are not strict enough. A sex offender that commits a criminal sexual conduct to the 1st degree can get at least 15 years in prison. But if the offender completes required sex offender programs and finish their education if they have not already they can get out, along with other programs. I believe that due to the high amount of sex offenders in Michigan, the law makes it were it is easy for a sex offender to be release to make more space in the prisons. So the law makes the sex offenders eligible for parole then just like that they are release and are among plenty of people to attack again.

Just like most criminals, when a sex offender is in prison they try to avoid getting caught, but that doesn’t mean they will not commit a sexual assault again. All that means is that they will try to avoid getting caught again. Prison doesn’t necessarily mean once they are in there they will come out a changed person. They learn how to commit the crime without getting caught, which puts everyone in society at risk. The laws try to make it seem as if the reason they are released early is because they have changed. Which is not the cases and when they are released they can do whatever. It is not fair to society, why does society have to suffer? It is bad enough society have to watch out for the offenders that are not caught.

One out of every seven women and about 550,000 women in Michigan has been raped sometime in their life (Kilpatrick, Ruggiero). A lot of people in Michigan have been raped due to large amount of sex offenders that are apart of society. A lot of women do not press charges because the laws and how they are not strict with sex offenders. According to the 2000 Census, there are about 3.8 million women age 18 or older that live in Michigan, and out of those women about 550,000 have reported being raped. That does not include the number of women that do not tell and the children that experiences it. As of November 1, 2010, there are 46,635 register sex offenders that are in the data base. 12, 364 sex offenders are incarcerated. 3, 342 of those sex offenders have violated one or of the requirements for the sex offender registry. Warrants for their arrest have been issued to some of them but there are a lot that haven’t even been arrest for the violations. The sex offenders are getting off to easy. The image below is a graph of the percentages of sex crime victims based on their age (Kilpatrick, Ruggiero).

 

 

 

The best thing to do is keep the sex offenders away. Start making the offenders serves their full sentence. When you are in prison for things like criminal sexual conduct to the first degree you should not be let out any time soon. That is rape and those are serious charges, so why let someone like that out. It is understood that there is a lot of sex offenders in Michigan, but that is Michigan’s law jobs to protect society from predators like them. It would also be a good idea to expand the prisons, it is also understood that it might be difficult to do with the economy being the way that it is but it can be done.

The laws also stop making sex offenders apart of society so soon. When a sex offender has been in prison for years and then just gets and be a part of society, it’s not good for the sex offender and the people that live in society. The law provides sex offenders with consulting when they are release but it only helps for so long.

More parole officers are needed to keep track of sex offenders when they are released. The parole officer will be there to watch their every move and make sure that they are not breaking any rules. That would help the problem tremulously. With more parole officers sex offenders will think twice about doing anything wrong.

With the increased amount of parole officers and enforced laws, the victims will feel more confident about coming forward about their rape. Victims then wouldn’t have to second guess the law systems and the outcome of everything. In order for more people to come forward they have to feel safe about the law.

More outreach programs for rape victims will contribute to the success of putting away sex offenders. Because of the laws a lot of victims feel that no one cares especially the law. If the law reached out to the victims showing them they are really here to protect they will be more open. If the victims are more open then more sex offenders will be put away. A lot of sex offenders know that besides the fear, the victim will not come out about the crime because of the law. That will be a step that will change the world for the better. What is the use of having laws when they are not being taking seriously?

There are so many things that can be done to reform the laws that apply to sex offenders. There are so many sex offenders that are a part of the society. With these charges the safety of people will go up. They will also show people that they can depend on the laws to protect them without worrying about the outcome. It is time that the laws are changed to improve the lives of others.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Works Cited

Rape in Michigan, A report to the state. Kilpatrick, D.G, and Ruggiero, K.J. 2003, medical university of South Carolina.

Sex Offender Registry, Backgrounder. www.michigan.gov/documents/msp/sor

Sexual Assault. www.tusculacounty.org

Sexual Assault Prevention and Awareness Center. www.umich.edu

 

 

 

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