Sexual Offender Notification Schemes – A Product of ‘New Penology’ and Populist Punitiveness and Inadequate to Tackle the Issue of Sexual Offending
This submission examines the use of registration and notification schemes as a method of controlling sexual offenders and reducing incidences of sexual offending. It tracks the shift that has occurred in penological systems theory from notions of restorative justice and penal welfarism towards populist punitiveness and “new penology”. Specifically, it proposes that sexual offender registration and notification schemes represent a product of this altered penological approach and reject the basic tenets of the previous “modern penology”. However, it suggests that registration and notification schemes are not a holistic and efficacious approach to reducing and preventing sexual violence. It proposes that a restorative justice model premised on reintegrative, as opposed to disintegrative shaming would more effectively tackle the issue of sexual offending and recidivism. Though it is recognised that such an approach would be antithetical to certain principles of postmodern penological theory, this paper recommends that a conscious effort must be made in Ireland to resist the forces of globalisation and the influence of U.S. notification systems if the issue of sexual offending is to be tackled in the most effective manner possible.