according to Untouchable, most Americans think that sex offenders, and especially pedophiles, are incurable and therefore doomed to relapse: McKune c. LileIn which Anthony Kennedy, Supreme Court Justice of the Supreme Court, wrote in his opinion on the plurality of voices that there was a "frightening and high risk of re-offending" for these predators and that "the rate of recidivism of untreated offenders was estimated at 80%. "This statement has since been used in numerous legal verdicts as well as in support of countless national and local laws aimed at restricting the rights of those convicted of crimes against children. In so doing, it has become de facto wisdom, almost universally recognized as a basic truth about people who have child pornography or who abuse (or have bad relations with) a minor.

The problem? The only piece of evidence that led Kennedy to make such a bold statement is that of 1986 Psychology today article written by Ronald Longo, a counselor who ran a treatment program in an Oregon prison – and there was absolutely no statistical basis for his claim of "80%". Moreover, Longo himself has since rejected this figure.

Untouchable, a documentary on sex offenders written, directed and directed by David Feige – to be released January 15 on video and video-on-demand after winning the award for new documentary director Albert Maysles at the 2016 Tribeca Film Festival – do not give up this brilliant revelation then, halfway, which, in journalistic terms, is equivalent to burying the lede. Nevertheless, Feige's delay has little effect in neutralizing his impact, as he spends the early parts of his fictional film investigating incisively many aspects of the sex offender problem. From the victims and perpetrators to the activists who want to throw the convict and lose the key, it's a revealing look at a thorny topic that, at first glance, probably does not strike much as a very complicated or controversial topic. all .

The reason for the above McKune c. Lile The decision is so amazing is that, according to all accounts, the actual rates of recidivism of sex offenders are low. In studies conducted over three years by Connecticut, Alaska, Nebraska, Maine, the State of New York and California, the recidivism rate is generally less than 4% – which is down to scary and high penalty. In addition, most conclude that there is no correlation between recidivism rates and geographic proximity, which means that laws adopted to prevent registered sex offenders from living near schools, playgrounds or other child-centered areas generally have no impact; if the perpetrators are likely to search for prey nearby, it is often at home, in churches or places of education, where they know their targets. Yes Untouchable One must believe – and his statistical case seems reasonably solid – then it is a categorical rejection of the way we think and treat sex offenders.

This is not music in the ears of Ron Book, the powerful lobbyist from South Florida who, driven by the horrible sexual abuse committed by his daughter Lauren at the hands of their nurse Waldina Flores (seen, in a haunted movie, in home movies), has promised to ensure that his country enforces the country's toughest sex offender laws. These include 50-year mandatory minimum sentences for convicted persons (as well as driver's license notices), as well as orders that prevent them from residing within 2,500 feet of any high-density area. children. The result of this is that no sex offender lives in Miami Beach, and those who did so before the law was forced to settle elsewhere, often in homeless tent camps scattered throughout the area. metropolitan. Book, a fiery gentleman whose eyes shine with rage when talking about the issue – which is understandable given Lauren's unthinkable ordeal – makes fun of what he does not have any evidence Empirical supporting his measurements, since he says that "some common sense" indicates that if you move away predators from children, you reduce the risk.

The zealous passion of the book is moving, as are the interviews with Lauren, who has dedicated her life to protecting children from abuse. Untouchable do not downplay their grief or arguments, and it is hard to imagine that states with stronger laws are no better at fighting this problem. Still, the movie complicates things through a series of shots of offenders: Shawna Baldwin, a mother of two from Oklahoma whose teen dating with a younger boy has her on the registry; Clyde Newton, an elderly man who was convicted of touching his daughter-in-law; and 74-year-old John Cryar, an individual on the verge of divorce three times who is caught in child pornography and who admits to having lived all his life as a "secret pedophile".

As you can probably see from these descriptions, these three people are not identical; Shawna belongs to a different category than the other two (more deviant). Yet the US court system treats them as equals, restricts their travels, determines their place of residence and slaps them with the same label. Even sexting can now place teenagers in the registry, since nude photos of peers can, technically, be classified in child pornography. Through snapshots of this trio, as well as discussions with academic experts and Patty Wetterling, the mother of Jacob Wetterling, a missing and abducted man, who helped create the registry in the 1990s with President Bill Clinton, Feige suggests that our sex offender laws have abandoned re-education and punishment – which is a problem when these same laws cast a net on negligent young adults with legitimately dangerous pedophiles.

That does not mean that Untouchable is a sexual predator; On the contrary, Feige's documentary provokes sympathy for Lauren and other victims and gives a moving voice to the legitimate anger of her father, Ron, and often persuasive arguments about how strong legislation helps to protect people of the worst elements of society. However, this raises the question of how we define sex offenders and how we address the challenge of treating and reintegrating them into society. Indeed, as everyone agrees, they will leave the prison to settle in our neighborhoods by walking in the street. our streets and frequenting our favorite places. The answers are far from concrete. Yet, with clarity and open-mindedness that are not always present in discussions on the subject (where any suspicion of mitigation of crimes against children is a knell), he seeks to open a dialogue on a hot topic that supports, is much less open and closed than most suppose.