Reconsidering Sex Crimes and Offenders: Prosecution or Persecution?

Laura J. Zilney, Lisa Anne Zilney

Research output: Book/ReportBookpeer-review

6 Scopus citations


This examination of our nation's sex crime laws and the social attitudes behind them argues that many citizens are being pursued as sex offenders for nonviolent and oftentimes consensual sexual behaviors. Cutting through the hysteria and hype, Reconsidering Sex Crimes and Offenders: Prosecution or Persecution? argues that while convicted violent sex offenders certainly should be punished, many laws targeting minor sexual offenses are outdated, overly severe, and too concerned with satisfying public outrage driven by distortions, misconceptions, and sensationalistic media coverage. Reconsidering Sex Crimes and Offenders is sure to challenge readers' understanding of who a sex offender is, how they should be treated, and how best to protect the community from such offenders. The book looks at how the legal definitions of certain offenses have changed over time and then explores a series of real-life case studies. Readers will discover how some citizens have been targeted and punished for consensual acts—including homosexuality, polygamy, and pornography. Additional coverage considers a number of highly controversial laws—from residency restrictions to the death penalty—and the media's role in fueling public support for them.

Original languageEnglish
PublisherBloomsbury Publishing Plc.
Number of pages169
ISBN (Electronic)9780313348587
ISBN (Print)9780313348570
StatePublished - 1 Jan 2009


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