Dangerous Neighbors: Risk Control, Community Notification and Sex Offender Release
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This chapter uses community notification to examine the ways in which risk control in New Zealand, as in similar societies, drives a distinct strand of penal policy development. Community notification policy and practice has expanded across the advanced liberal democracies, far beyond the initial bounds set out in Megan’s Law in the United States in 1994. Using the case of New Zealand, where notification is not legislated, the chapter explores the way that communities are often informed about the presence of sex offenders in ad hoc and unpredictable ways, triggering a range of fear-based responses. Drawing from interviews with a range of leaders from communities who experienced de facto notification, the chapter considers whether the nuances of the community reaction, in particular the depth of insecurity and range of proposed ‘sensible’ solutions, are typical of lived experiences of risk control and regulation in neoliberal societies, and the way that they are becoming increasingly intolerant of risky individuals: those who threaten irreparable harm to vulnerable people.
KeywordsCommunity notification Sex offender release Post-sentence regulation New Zealand Megan’s Law Zygmunt Bauman Liquid modernity Sex offender Community
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