The Good, the Bad, and the Incomprehensible

He pointed to an array of typical descriptors of sex offenders—“degenerates,” “sex fiends,” “creatures,” and “sexual psychopaths” (p. 543)—all of which, per Sutherland, highlight that sex offending is perceived as pathology or a dispositional “mental malady”—in turn, the only solution would be to “segregate such persons preferably before, but at least after their sex crimes” (p. 544). Here again, public opinion has not wavered, that is, most Americans typically attribute individual deficits—selfishness and moral depravity (e.g., Spencer, 2009)—as opposed to environmental or situational factors to sex offending.

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