I've read a few blogs about the challenges faced by convicted sex offenders after they have served their time and are released from prison. One interesting point was that some offenders went to prison for a consensual sexual relationship with an underage girlfriend, or for sexting, or even for urinating in public (though I've never heard of that one before). The point is, not everyone with the title "sex offender" is the same. Some have done things worse than others and yet they all get shunned by society once they're out.
In Tennessee, for example, sex offenders are not allowed to visit public libraries in person. I can understand the reasoning, if you’re talking about an offender that abused multiple child acquaintances, but what about the 18 year old that slept with his 15 year old girlfriend? I don’t think one could say they have the same level of risk around kids. So then, it would seem that in some cases, we’re protecting kids and in others we’re just taking away the rights of ex-convicts.
On the other hand, I've heard the argument that recidivism rates for child sex offenders is relatively low, compared to other crimes. This is true, but statistics can be a tricky thing. Some research suggests that the rate of reporting offense is as low as 12 percent. So, is the recidivism rate low just because the new victims aren't telling? Perhaps, but what do you think? Should we continue placing restrictions on every sex offender that goes through the justice system? Could there be a varying level of monitoring for a convict, depending on the severity of the crime they committed?