Criminological Perspective on Juvenile Sex Offender Policy

Franklin E. Zimring, in The Safer Society Handbook of Assessment and Treatment with Adolescents Who Have Sexually Abused 

(March 2017)
Criminological Perspective on Juvenile Sex Offender Policy

The four sections of this article provide an empirical narrative of the known facts about juvenile sex offending and offenders and the misfit between facts and current policy:

  • The first and longest section of this article provides a statistical portrait of juvenile sex offenses and offenders.
  • A second section address three linked issues about the juvenile sex offender – whether he is a specialist or generalist in patterns of law violation, whether most or much juvenile sex offending is a product of clinical sexual disorders, and whether a sex offense by a juvenile predicts either future sex offending or the need for specialized and intensive treatment programs.
  • The third section of the article compares the assumptions in the report of a vocal and well-organized organization that called itself the “National Adolescent Perpetrator Network” that was published in 1993 with actual facts and should serve as a cautionary tale for sex treatment clinicians.
  • A fourth section contrasts the current policy framework in the “Amy Zyla” extension of reporting to juveniles portion of the federal Adam Walsh Act of 2006 with the facts about juvenile sex offenders and outlines two less outrageous policies that would improve the current worst-case regulatory policy in the United States for juvenile sex offenders.