Please join Stop Child Predators in support of the passage of Jessica’s Law, legislation providing for mandatory sentences and electronic monitoring for convicted child sex offenders.
Each year, millions of children fall prey to sexual predators. One in five girls and one in 10 boys will be sexually exploited before they reach adulthood, according to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children. Forty-four states have responded to this crisis by passing versions of Jessica’s Law. Today, we ask you to join the effort to convince lawmakers in New Jersey to do the same.
Despite efforts by state and federal lawmakers to manage sex offenders, challenges to preventing sexual crimes against children remain. One of the most formidable issues is a high recidivism rate, which means that sex offenders are likely to repeat their crime. This is why mandatory sentences are so important when it comes to protecting children from known child sex offenders, and is critical for two reasons: first, they are effective in keeping sex offenders off the streets and away from our children; second, they can serve as a deterrent to sex offenders who may otherwise recommit an offense.
Consider Jessica’s story, the law’s namesake. John Couey, a registered sex offender, abducted nine year-old Jessica from her Homosassa, Florida, home on the night of February 23, 2005, and repeatedly sexually assaulted her before stuffing her into garbage bags and burying her alive in a shallow grave behind his home.
Couey’s prior criminal record included twenty-four arrests, two of which were sexual assault of a minor. In each instance, Couey served less than five years in jail.
At the time of Jessica’s murder, Couey was a registered sex offender in Florida. Unbeknownst to local law enforcement, he moved from the registered address and was living across the street from Jessica’s home. Up until three months before Jessica’s murder, Couey was being monitored by GPS which showed that while being tracked had not committed another crime. Once the monitoring device was removed, however, Couey abducted, raped and murdered Jessica.
A judge sentenced John Couey to death in 2007, but had extended mandatory sentences been in place, Jessica may still be alive today.
Please sign the petition today and encourage your friends and family to do the same. Together we can call on New Jersey to protect our children by enacting Jessica’s Law and enforcing tougher penalties on convicted child sex offenders.
Each year, millions of children fall prey to sexual predators. One in five girls and one in ten boys are sexually exploited before they reach adulthood, according to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children.
Forty-four states have reacted to this devastatingly high rate of exploitation of children by passing versions of Jessica’s Law, and today we ask you to join the effort to make New Jersey the forty-fifth state to do so.
Long mandatory sentences for child sex offenders are the most effective for the following reasons:
1. Mandatory sentences increase the severity of punishment, and act as a deterrent to crimes, likely reducing the number of sexual crimes against children.
2. Mandatory sentences are a direct and immediate measure to prevent another crime from occurring. Kept away from the general population, sex offenders cannot commit another sex offense against a child during their prison term.
3. Longer prison sentences reduce the substantial burden placed on law enforcement to keep track of an increasing number of offenders.
4. A high recidivism rate among sex offenders merits tougher penalties to prevent the all-too-common re-offense. Convicted sex offenders are four times more likely than other criminals to be rearrested for a sex crime, according to a 2003 study by the Justice Department’s Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS). That statistic probably understates the risk of recidivism as it compares convicted sex offenders with other criminals rather than the general population, it examines only one-time sex offenders instead of the two-time offenders who are more likely still to repeat the crime, and it counts only re-arrests as repeat offenses, when others may have committed sex crimes without detection.
Of the released sex offenders who commit repeat offenses, forty percent perpetrated the new offense within one year of their prison discharge, and the majority of the children they molested after leaving prison were age thirteen or younger, according to BJS.
For all of these reason, we ask for your leadership on ensuring Jessica’s Law is passed in New Jersey this legislative session.