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But do these dangers warrant laws that put young people in prison?

Romeo and Juliet Make a Comeback Statutory rape is defined by the FBI as non-forcible sexual intercourse with a person who is younger than the statutory age of consent.

Georgia law, which has since been changed to classify this act as a misdemeanor carrying a maximum penalty of one year in prison, also required Wilson to register as a sex offender when he was released.

At 21 years of age, Wilson was released from prison when the court declared his sentence “grossly disproportionate to his crime.” Other states have made similar changes in an attempt to undo the harsh effects of exceptionally strict laws. Statutory rape laws are based on the premise that although young girls may want to have sex, they may not have enough experience or discernment to make a mature, informed decision.

“In many cases, they are enforced largely by how angry the parents of the younger party are.” In some states, offenders have spent years in prison for statutory rape in situations similar to Jamie Lynn Spears’ while other states have prosecuted only egregious crimes.

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For example, minors may be less likely than adults to understand sexually transmitted diseases, have access to contraception, and have the resources to raise a child if they become pregnant.Because the laws weren’t intended to punish two individuals close in age who engage in consensual sex, in many jurisdictions, an adult who is two or three years older than the minor will not be charged with statutory rape, or will be penalized less severely than a much older adult.These so-called “Romeo and Juliet” laws provide defenses and reduced penalties in cases where the couple is relatively close in age.The statutory rape laws vary greatly from state to state, with more than half of the states setting the legal age of consent at 16 (other states range from 14 to 18).For the most part, there is no single age at which a person can consent to sexual activity.It’s awesome to be home with my family and friends.” Prior to his court case and conviction, Dixon had been offered a full football scholarship at Vanderbilt University, which was revoked after his arrest.