Did Justice System Fail As Twice-Released Rapist Charged Again?


The justice system succeeded in keeping convicted rapist Bernard Jackson behind bars for 30 years; if new allegations prove true, the system also failed the public by letting Jackson out – twice, says the Kansas City Star. The twice-convicted sex offender has been charged in four more sexual assaults and is being investigated in five others – all of them strikingly similar to those that sent him to prison in the first place. “It's distressing for victims to see someone like that get out, ruin people's lives, get out and ruin more people's lives,” said Palle Rilinger of the Metropolitan Organization to Counter Sexual Assault.

Predicting future criminal behavior is an inexact science, but statistics tend to show that of all sex offenders, men like Jackson – who have been convicted multiple times of attacking strangers – are among the most likely to commit new sex crimes when they get out. “Past behavior is a good predictor of future behavior,” said Jill Levenson of Lynn University in Boca Raton, Fl. When someone has been caught and punished twice for the same behavior, that indicates he will not be deterred in the future by the same rules and sanctions, she said. For victims of sexual assault, going through the trauma of victimization and the criminal justice system only to have the system fail them is devastating, said a Kansas City-area woman who saw her attacker receive only a 30-day sentence. “It's like being raped over and over and over again,” she said.

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