Laws such as that of sexual predators, which are based off the assumption that to ensure public safety, people convicted of sex crimes be in jail beyond the usual sentence length or insisting they be committed to a mental institution, have raised many conflicts. I believe that laws of this nature are necessary to keep our citizens safe. As society evolves, law enforcement and legislators also have to evolve. On page eight of Psychology and the Legal System, Greene and Heilbrun (2014) state that mental health treatments have shown to lower repeat offenses. Mental health treatments are just one way that evolution has influenced our legal system and the treatments have great results.
Gene Beresin and Steve Schlozman are experts from the Massachusetts General Hospital Center for Law. They have published an article titled “Mental Illness and Society: Prisons, Rehabilitation and Prevention” on a website called Brains on Trial. In that article, Beresin and Schlozman (2013) stated that “research shows that for delinquent teens in treatment the rate of repeat offenses is about 25% lower than those who have not had mental health care.” That research was only conducted on teenagers, however; humans are humans. Requiring sexual predators to be committed to a mental institution will likely produce the same results, therefore making this law a good idea, theoretically.
In contrast, there is a dilemma I face when determining if laws such as these are fair and that is equality versus discretion. Equality, according to Greene and Heilbrun (2014), means that when anyone commits the same crime, they are to receive the same consequences as well. This idea is called determinate sentencing where judges may not apply their discretion, and equality is the only factor. For example, Person A was caught distributing child pornography and was then sentenced to seven years in prison. Person B was caught receiving child pornography and also sentenced to seven years….