the psychology of victims and punishment of offenders

Topic #1 

Search the Internet for stories about the Mary Winker case.

Note: You can search for “Mary Winkler” or “Wife Who Killed Preacher Set Free”.

Read a few of the stories and then discuss the questions below.

  • Was Mary Winkler a victim of battered woman’s syndrome? Why or why not?
  • Do you think she should have been set free? Why or why not? 180-200 words 

Topic #2 

Community notification has the effect of branding the offender as persona non grata. Some, including judges have argued that the law is unconstitutional because it amounts to additional punishment for sex offenders who have served their sentences and does not protect the privacy of the offender. Is community notification appropriate and more importantly do you feel it is effective in deterring future crimes? What psychological issues are brought up with this labeling for both the community and the released offender?

Keep in mind the case of Sidney Landau which is an example of Megan’s Law notification in action. Landau is a twice-convicted child molester. After being paroled in December 1996, he moved to the Orange County community of Placentia, CA (his parole required that he stay in this particular county). Police walked door-to-door distributing fliers with his photograph; schools were notified, and students were sent home with notes to their parents. Parents stood in front of Mr. Landau’s home with signs and bullhorns. Neighbors called police whenever he left his house; he was forced to move.

Also consider the following as an example of how the registry puts those listed at risk: Stephen Marshall fatally shot two sex offenders; he obtained their names from Maine’s sexual offender registry. 200 words 

Source: National briefing New England: Maine: Killer’s use of sex-offender list. (2006, April 18). The New York Times, A24. (InfoTrac® article # A144592296).



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