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July 12, 2023

Sociology Professor Publishes Latest Book

Emily Horowitz

On June 30, Bloomsbury Academic released From Rage to Reason: Why We Need Sex Crime Laws Based on Facts, Not Fear, the latest book by Emily Horowitz, pictured above, professor of sociology and criminal justice at St. Francis College (SFC), where she founded and co-directs the Justice Initiative, a program that helps those impacted by the criminal-legal system earn college degrees.

In From Rage to Reason, Horowitz demonstrates how current sex-offense laws in the United States — which are based on vengeance rather than justice or evidence — create new forms of harm while failing to address the pervasive problem of sexual violence. Analyzing sex-offense laws and false claims and sharing detailed narratives from those on sex-offender registries and their loved ones, she reveals the social impact and cycle of violence that results from dehumanizing and banishing those who have already been held accountable. According to Dr. Horowitz, “We all want to decrease the prevalence and impact of sexual violence. These draconian laws do not impact rates of sex crimes nor do they decrease recidivism. We need rational policies that make us safer, not banishment laws that solely exist to destroy lives and families.”

Praise for From Rage to Reason
Law professor Ira Ellman, of the Center for the Study of Law and Society at the University of California, Berkeley, writes that the stories in the book “bring home, more powerfully than could any standard analysis, the systematic and gratuitous harms generated by America’s unique program of government-sponsored shaming of people who have already been fully punished for a sexual offense.” Debbie Nathan, a prize-winning journalist and author of Sybil Exposed: The Extraordinary Story Behind the Famous Multiple Personality Case, writes, “This may be the bravest book you have ever read. Horowitz’s meticulous interviews with people on sex-offender registries return a modicum of humanity not just to them but, more importantly, to the rest of us. As she aptly describes, registries are utterly useless for preventing new sex crimes. All they do is sentence to social and civil death people who have already served their time of punishment and labored to repent.”

At SFC, Horowitz teaches “Sex Crimes and American Justice,” an upper-level seminar about U.S. sex-offense law and policy. After taking the course, student Tatiana Villa ’24 was inspired to apply for a scholarship to attend, in June 2023, the annual meeting of the National Association for Rational Sexual Offense Laws (NARSOL), where Horowitz gave the plenary lecture. At the conference, Villa spent time with attorneys and researchers working on this issue.

“After taking ‘Sex Crimes and American Justice’ with Dr. Horowitz,” said Villa, “I learned our current laws fail to address the causes and consequences of sexual violence. I was inspired to apply for a conference scholarship to learn more. Now I am even more determined to fight for effective and constitutional laws after I graduate law school.” Villa also noted that “the inspiring advocates and activists I met at the NARSOL conference proved to me how rehabilitation is not only possible, but extremely likely.”

Horowitz also is the author of Protecting Our Kids? How Sex Offender Laws Are Failing Us (Praeger, 2015), which was named a 2016 Choice Outstanding Academic Title by the American Library Association. Her scholarly research addresses the causes and consequences of mass incarceration, with a focus on the harms of conviction registries and banishment laws. She often appears in mainstream media as an expert on this issue, and this past year she participated in a debate about the sex-offense registry.

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