Closing a Loophole in the Punishment Zone
Closing a Loophole in the Punishment Zone
  • Kim Park Yeonhoo
  • 승인 2024.03.04 10:31
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Closing a Loophole in the Punishment Zone1)

The number of sex crimes against women is constantly increasing. According to the 2023 Sexual Crime White Paper released by the Ministry of Justice in September 2023, the number of registrations of personal information of sex offenders as of 2021 reached 114,420. The number of cases in 2020 was 100,935, indicating that sex crimes have been steadily increasing every year. Voices of concern about recidivism as well as fears about sexual crimes continue. On the Jan 1, a man in his 40s chased a woman home, committed sexual assault, and ran away. The police immediately arrested the suspect, who was wearing an electronic anklet, meaning that he had already committed a sexual crime. Korea is establishing a system to monitor and punish repeat sex offenders through various means such as electronic supervision, disclosure and notification of personal information, and registration of personal information. However, in the case of personal information disclosure and registration of personal information, sex offenders can register an address that differs from their actual residence, so the effectiveness of the bill is being questioned. As such, while punishment and sanctions are already in place, their limitations have raised concerns regarding the recurrence of sex offenses.
Accordingly, the government is introducing stronger sanctions. The Korean version of Jessica's Law, inspired by a Florida law in the US that restricts the residences of high-risk sex offenders, was passed in a Cabinet meeting on Jan 2. This applies to child sexual assault offenders or those who have been sentenced to more than 10 years in prison for repeated sexual violence more than three times and wear electronic anklets. The law can mandate that they stay in a court-designated residence for a certain period, rather than returning to the community after being released from prison. However, despite the introduction of such a strong sanction, there is concern about whether such legislation will be effective for sex offenders who have been released. In the case of sex offenders' rulings before 2010, it was found that sometimes electronic anklets or personal information disclosure mandates were not ordered due to the system's not being activated at sentencing time. Further, among those who have been released from prison, the law does not apply to those who were never ordered to wear electronic anklets. In response, Jeon Seong-gyu, director of the Korea Psychological Science Center, said, "There must be a legal limit to what can be managed by punishment. I think the state should continue to invest in the environment and systems that prevent sex offenders from recidivism when they return to society." This implies that the need to establish a system that not only punishes them but also the issue of preventing re-offending as they reintegrate into society eventually. As such, it seems that the law should be refined in a way that includes all those who are not covered by the current sanctions to completely prevent sex crimes.


1) Cho Jae-young, "They Said They Would Block Rule the Second and Third Cho Doo-Soon, but They Still Can't Block Them", MBC NEWS, Jan 8, 2024

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