February 11th, 2009
03:00 PM ET

Rethinking Adam’s Law

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/images/02/11/walsh-john-bush-billsign.jpg caption="President Bush shakes the hands with John Walsh before signing the Adam Walsh Child Protection and Safety Act of 2006."]Editor’s Note: You can read more Jami Floyd blogs on “In Session.”

Jami Floyd
AC360° Contributor
In Session Anchor

The fear that sexual predators are hiding under every rock and around every corner has led to a nationwide effort to hunt them down and keep track of them – in most cases for life.

Put aside for the moment the fact that most children are abused by a family member and that in child abductions and murders fewer than one percent of the perpetrators are strangers. The more immediate concern is this: Our national obsession with sexual predators is actually getting in the way of effective law enforcement.

Good intentions have been clouded by bad information perpetuated by those who would gain the most — not the victims, but television talk show hosts hungry for ratings. Don’t take my word for it. Ask the people who know best — the police. Across the country police are pushing back against a federal law that requires all states to adopt stricter sex offender laws.

The Adam Walsh Act was named for the 6-year-old whose 1981 murder changed the way in which law enforcement looks for missing children. Adam’s Law was passed three years ago, after several horrible cases including the abduction and murder of 11-year old Carlie Brucia, and the case of John Couey who buried his 9-year old victim alive.

Of course state officials agree with the intent. But, in many cases their state laws are more effective. In other cases, Adam’s Law isn’t specific enough to each state to be effective. In many cases, it contradicts tough laws already in place.

Even Adam’s father, John Walsh, is calling for Congress to postpone the compliance deadline to give everyone a chance to work out the problems. And he’s right. Because states that fail to comply will lose some of their federal crime prevention funding — the very funding that helps them keep track of the predators that inspired the law in the first place.

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Filed under: Crime & Punishment • In Session • Jami Floyd
soundoff (6 Responses)
  1. Shawn

    "Put aside for the moment the fact that most children are abused by a family member and that in child abductions and murders fewer than one percent of the perpetrators are strangers."

    Was I the only person that saw this? Yet, you are talking about locking people up, killing them, or whatever. American's have blood lust like nothing I've ever seen. The country is ran by men with double Y chromosomes. They would rather kill you and your family then speak to you.

    February 12, 2009 at 9:52 am |
  2. barbara williams

    I saw on your show about the retention awards Meryl Lynch paid. I have one question why in the state of the job market today are they having to pay over and above what I am certain fair wages to retain employees. And smoking marijuana for medical purposes is a jailable crime. What kind of world have we created????

    February 11, 2009 at 10:40 pm |
  3. villaslinda

    Michael C = you are SO RIGHT! there is no cure and never will be-predators state it themselves!
    Castration is BS! its the sick mind of these individuals who didn't wake up oner morning to prey on children!
    I say they either send them to Guantanamo, take them out completely or open Alcatraz and keep them all together where they can prey on eachother!

    February 11, 2009 at 6:36 pm |
  4. villaslinda

    Damn, the shocking thing is the missing little girl in Florida has 44 predators within a 5 mile radius! whats wrong with this picture- is this a safe haven for the predators? it sure isn't for the children living there!

    February 11, 2009 at 6:32 pm |
  5. Irony

    Isn't that Mark Foley standing behind John Walsh? What kind of effective Federal Laws are necessary to keep child predators out of the House that would hold Representatives legally accountable?

    February 11, 2009 at 4:54 pm |
  6. Michael "C" Lorton, Virginia

    Why are we keeping track of individuals, who we know, are going to commit the same crime again--you are never going to cure them by any tracking system or medical treatment--everyone knows what has to be done--it is just that no one is willing to say---instead-the media glorifies it because their is money to made on it--my question is--–who is the real predator?

    February 11, 2009 at 3:04 pm |