"The author should be applauded for her brave, well-researched stance. A highly readable book for criminal justice and social science collections. Summing Up: Essential. All levels/libraries."
"In this masterful account of sex crimes and sex offender legislation, Professor Horowitz elegantly mixes the stories of those convicted of sex offenses with clear-eyed social analysis. Professor Horowitz argues that too many sex offenders are caught in a tangled web consisting of personal and social pathologies that sex offender registries make worse. Over six chapters, Professor Horowitz carefully examines and explains the hysteria, the myths, and the sense of moral panic that surrounds sex offenders. In tackling such a complicated and contentious topic, Professor Horowitz demonstrates that it is possible to write a book suitable for both academics and those genuinely interested in the vexing problem of sex offenders."
"My heart pounded as I read this book, it is that thrilling to see truth in print. In our admirable urge to protect our children, we have chosen the most destructive, least effective path possible—the path from concern straight to hysteria and cruelty. With Horowitz as our brilliant guide, we see how we got here and why we must turn back, for the sake of justice and our own precious kids."
"Dr. Horowitz makes a persuasive case for why the current rash of draconian sex offender laws in the United States violate civil liberties, create an entire class of pariahs and outcasts, and above all, fail to protect children. Her interviews with offenders bring reality, insight, and clarity to a subject usually blurred by panic and hysteria. She compellingly shows that portrayals of offenders as predatory, incurable monsters do not advance our understanding—and no matter how politically popular a set of laws might be, popularity does not translate into effectiveness. Dr. Horowitz approaches this topic as no one else has: realistically rather than sensationalistically."
"Popular wisdom holds that there is no criminal reviled more than the child molester, no criminal so incurable and incorrigible, and no laws too harsh to punish and deter such people. What happens when such popular wisdom is exploited by cynical politicians? The answer to that question, and to so many others, is provided by Professor Emily Horowitz in this ground-breaking and important new book. Applying rigorous statistical methodology as well as detailed case studies, Professor Horowitz proves that we have badly failed our children by creating a broad and undifferentiated legal category of 'child sex offenders' that violates sacrifices civil liberties without any corresponding gain in protecting our children. Far from the stranger in the van with the puppy, Professor Horowitz demonstrates that the vast majority of child sex offenders have close family relationships with the children they molest. Worse, the very initiatives that could help prevent and deter child sex abuse, such as social programs and health care, are opposed by the very politicians who will spare no expense on prisons and punishment. The good news is that we can, and must, do better."
"This book focuses on the panic and hysteria that surrounds cases involving sex offenses and the particular madness that surrounds sex offenses involving children. Professor Horowitz shows how irrational sex offender laws came into being, how ineffective they are at protecting children or preventing sexual abuse, and how they trample over the civil liberties and human rights of those accused and convicted of sex offenses. I am impressed at the calm and focused way she presents legislative history, follow-up research, and the climate of intimidation that now controls and limits discussion of what has become a pervasive national problem."
"Protecting Our Kids? skillfully weaves the personal narratives of 'sex offenders' with the policies that impose social and economic exile on this growing, undifferentiated category of people. In it, Horowitz not only describes and analyzes, but also moves readers to decry—and hopefully to change—a regime that fails to protect children from sexual harm while it damages offenders, families and communities, and the criminal justice system itself."
"What is it like to be remanded to a residential sex offender treatment facility for having played doctor at the age of 12? What is it like to be on a sex offender registry, all but unemployable for life, stemming from a first, only, and nonviolent offense? Brilliantly weaving interviews, vignettes, and historical narratives with social analysis, Horowitz takes us deeply into the world of America’s sex offender laws, with their special provisions and perpetual punishments: public registries, community notification procedures, therapy with lie detectors, residency restrictions, civil confinement—and, effectively, banishment. Tracing the effects of these draconian laws through stories of personal wreckage and familial devastation, she shows in searing detail how such sanctions are incommensurate and ultimately ineffective."