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Concerns with adding juveniles to sex registry lists

A national practice since the late 1990s, sex offender registration and community notification for adult offenders has correlated with significant drops in the rates of sex offenses. Nevertheless, there remains significant debate over its actual social benefits. The same cannot be said, however, for juvenile sex offender registration, which is both economically disastrous and causes incredible hardships for children raised on the registry. This is because registration brings with it a number of disabilities both legal (e.g., exclusion from certain jobs, professional licenses or places of residence, and a requirement to carry certain identifications) and practical (e.g., the social stigma of being branded as a sex offender) that can affect the child well into adulthood. In fact, no crimes are averted through the juvenile registration process and the social costs far outweigh any potential benefits. Full Article (text) and Full Paper (pdf)

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  1. Tim Moore

    That is an interesting concept, registration is only regulatory when applied to adults, but punitive when applied to minors. So if you are 17 years and 364 days old, the registry can ruin your life, but wait a day to commit your crime and the registry then serves as a good deterrent. That is apparently what this author is saying.

    • David Kennerly

      “sex offender registration and community notification for adult offenders has correlated with significant drops in the rates of sex offenses.” Don’t you love that? If they would have done five minutes of research then they would have found that “correlation,” in this case, is clearly not the same as “causation.” None of the credible studies on recidivism give any credence to the idea of registries performing any role in the decline of offenses.

      • NPS

        When I took Psy 101 my professor emphatically stated, “the most important thing you need to know in psychology is that correlation is not causation!” She even made us repeat it three times so as to really make it stick.

        • Tim Moore

          Surely, if this author was in any way educated, that precept would have been repeated many times over in various courses. Indeed, it is kind of one the goals of higher education to get people out of the habit of thinking things like if “a and b happen at the same time, a therefore causes b”. But when many get out of college things get forgotten nonetheless.

  2. Sam

    I was watching judge judy yesterday, according to her men don’t mature/become mature enough to be considered an adult until their mid 20s if ever. I wish there were more judges like her making common sense decisions. Seems common sense doesnt mean anything nowadays though.

    “so you met her at a bar and she showed you an ID that said she was 22? That doesnt mean anything, you should have known she was only 14! Even if she has all the paperwork saying she is 22 and she turns out to be 14 its your fault for not knowing” -someone i went to highschool with who quoted the prosecutor.

    Not sure if he is still in prison. They gave him 15-45 years like 8 years ago.
    Even if you can prove you didnt know the actual age youre still at fault because all they have to prove is that youre over 18 and theyre under 16 in Michigan. Evidence that can discredit the victim or their story were also non admissible due to the SO laws Jennifer Granholm had enacted. This was at least true in 2007 for my conviction as well as in 2009 when he went away. Not sure how it is now though.

    Im not 100% sure where I was going with this other than that the laws should not just be black nd white ruining lives left and right.

    There are factors that should be considered, like in my case where prosecutor and the judge found the victim to be lying in all the reports, as was stated under the victims statement on the pre sentence examination.

    This section also had said that the victim had been fine with the jail time i had already done and didnt want to punish me anymore.

    This could not be considered though as she was 14(15 when i was sentenced) and i had just turned 19 and age was the deciding factor. So, she wasnt old enough to be taken seriously when it came to my punishment.

    Again not sure where i was going with this. I just dont understand how these judges and such determine anything. A 9 year old can be convicted as an adult for murder, a 17 year old can go to war, but until one of those happen most people will treat you like a kid until youre old enough to drink at 21 or when you have a family of your own.

    Im almost 30 now, still dont feel like much of an adult. My childhood feels like it never happened. Been working since i was 13, and have nothing to show for it. Second time ever having sex and i ended up in jail and put in a registry. College was a living hell because the police had nothing better to do, so i ended up dropping out.

    Im just now getting to taste what a normal person lives, going to work and coming home without being attacked or under constant threat to my freedom and IML starts and its got my world all fucked up again.

    Sorry my thought process is off, ive been out walking and thinking all day.

    • CR

      ===============
      Evidence that can discredit the victim or their story were also non admissible due to the SO laws Jennifer Granholm had enacted.
      ===============

      Has that law ever been challenged in court? Any law that forbids a defendant from introducing evidence that could exonerate him would seem facially unconstitutional.

      • Sam

        Im not sure, i had only learned of it from the court appointed lawyer, but he also could have been full of it. I havent heard anything in the news about it since and its been 10 years.

  3. David

    “… sex offender registration and community notification for adult offenders has correlated with significant drops in the rates of sex offenses.” However, “… no crimes are averted through the juvenile registration process ….” Wait, what?? How does the author make these two contradictory statements? How can the registration of someone 17 years and 364 days old avert no crimes, but the registration of someone one day older (18) have a significant effect on dropping sexual offense rates??
    Aaaargh!!! 😡 Poor logic, poor thinking, and poor writing drive me crazy! This author is an idiot!

  4. CR

    She either isn’t very smart, or she is being intentionally disingenuous in some of her claims. Perhaps it is because her focus in the area of criminal justice reform is juvenile justice. She is trying to influence positive results in her assigned area of focus. There’s nothing wrong with that. But making non-meaningful or unsupported distinctions between juveniles and adults doesn’t really help her case. She makes a lot of claims that should be supported by footnotes listing the source of the data or studies she refers to. She lists a number of references at the end of the document, but doesn’t indicate in the body of her paper which one applies to each of her claims.

    Even so, if her paper can be used to change the mindset around registration for juveniles, I’d see that as a win. Because educating legislators and jurists and changing their thinking with respect to former sex offenders, recidivism, and sex offender registration is an important strategy in the war to institute rational laws and to restore dignity and basic human rights to ex-offenders.

    It will not be lost on other researchers, even if she refuses to see it or elects to ignore it, that many of her arguments that apply to juveniles apply equally to adults (e.g., that registration is punishment).

  5. Sam

    Im guessing the prosecutor aactually placed it under rules of evidence.404 and my lawyer misconstrued it as the 2006 edit to sora

    http://courts.mi.gov/Courts/MichiganSupremeCourt/rules/Documents/Michigan%2520Rules%2520of%2520Evidence.pdf

    Which i didnt understand as my evidence wasnt talking about any other possible history or the character. Just the evidence that she had stated she was 18 and all of her accounts and everything with her name, picture etc also said she was 18. In addition to the messages she sent me before and after.

    Its gonna sound like a stupid excuse but i know the reason she had called the police to begin with was because my friends at the time had made fun of her weight and trolled her using my phone after i was asleep.

  6. The Unforgiven

    If sex crimes are down & public safety is improved because of a list, wouldn’t we want juveniles to be registered to help boost these numbers..thereby justifying the registry?

    • Tim Moore

      I am sure that is the reason for putting juveniles on the registry to begin with to catch them early and prevent future offenses as adults. This guy is really making a claim that the registry is regulation for adults, but somehow becomes punishment when applied to a legal minor. If you are going to justify registration just by good intentions, and collateral consequences be damned, then it doesn’t matter the age of the offender.

  7. JM of Wi.

    “We find that notification may actually increase recidivism. This latter finding, consistent with the idea that notification imposes severe costs that offset the benefits to offenders of forgoing criminal activity, is significant, given that notification’s purpose is recidivism reduction.”
    The above is part of the abstract of the sited study about which the author writes … sex offender registration and community notification for adult offenders has correlated with significant drops in the rates of sex offenses.

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