To protect the public from sexual violence, the U.S. has enacted get-tough laws targeting released sex offenders. Many were inspired by high-profile cases in which children were raped and killed by strangers, a heinous albeit rare crime. Since 2006, we’ve interviewed leading experts and victims’ advocates about the impact of these laws. We’ve also spent time getting to know four Minnesotans convicted of sex crimes, in prison and since their release. In many ways, these men—Reggie, Ronnie, Tyrel and Michael—represent the complexity of the issue. Their crimes span a spectrum of sexual violence. All are felons. Each completed a sex offender treatment program. These men’s stories put a candid human face on the highly politicized issue of sex crimes, the damage they cause and some of their common roots. Reaching beyond the headlines and into the lives of real people, the documentary provides a nuanced examination of issues surrounding federal online registration laws, residency restrictions, Romeo and Juliet laws and the growing use of civil commitment.
Produced by 2 below zero’s Diane Richard and Todd Melby.
Broadcast on Minnesota Public Radio, Chicago Public Radio, WNYC New York Public Radio, WGBH Radio Boston, New Hampshire Public Radio, KUT Austin, Public Radio Remix, KFAI Minneapolis and others, 2010.
Funded by the Fund for Investigative Journalism and individual supporters of 2 below zero.