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General NewsNational

Life on the List

Does publicly posting names of convicted sex offenders actually reduce the number of sexual offenses?

Freelance writer Steve Yoder has written a very informative article about the history of the Nation’s sex offender laws, and outlines many of the consequences (and failures) of these severe laws. He makes the point that despite the fact that legislators “are increasingly adopting a ‘smart on crime’ approach grounded in research on what works, the legal treatment of sexual offenders is moving in the opposite direction.” Increasingly, more people are being added to the lists (as can be evidenced by the recent adoption of Proposition 35 in California) with no research showing that the public is any safer. Regarding Megan’s Law, he states:

“In the decade and a half since Megan’s Law was passed, public-policy researchers, corrections officials, and treatment professionals have begun to recognize the faulty premises and poor outcomes the law has created.”

Read his full article on the Reform Sex Offender Laws in Wisconsin website at: http://www.wisconsinreform.org/2011/04/life-on-list-by-steven-yoder.html.

Join the discussion

  1. JG

    Of course it doesn’t. All the list does is ruin peoples lives and banish them from living or working in the community. It is also there to be a public wall of shame which if anything actually puts sex offenders at risk from the community. Most people on the list either made a one time poor choice, or got caught up in something they shouldn’t have. They are not repeat offenders in many cases or a danger to the community. The list however doesn’t differentiate between a dangerous offender and public indecency. It completely destroys any hopes or chances at rehabilitation that the person might have. Forget about ever getting a good job ever again because it will be virtually impossible to ever find work in the Post-9/11 background check society. I have already been denied employment in my situation and my case is still in pending status.. What happened to innocent until proven guilty???

    • Veronica

      There was an episode of one of the Law and Order sirees where they kept harassing a convicted sex offender who was out on parole until finally he snapped and abused his granddaughter (or at least a young girl related to him).Sex offender registries have gone from being a means of identifying sex offenders in a community (obstensively so that people could keep their children away from child molesters). These laws have been expanded to include further and further restrictions and requirements.First people complained that sex offenders could live near schools. So they created “exclusion” zones around every school and daycare to a point where there’s only a few places that sex offenders can live. Then people complained about all these sex offenders living in proximity to each other, and that the few places where sex offenders could live were turning into sex offender “colonies.”Society gets what it wants, though. It doesn’t want Atticus Finch, it wants Inspector Javert.

  2. Tired of hiding

    The list is a useless muddled mess whose singular purpose is to maintain and cultivate a specter of danger hiding in the darkness ready to prey on children with it’s soulless evil heart. It is a feel good measure voted for people who are manipulated and scared out of their minds at the boggy man out to get them…Be that a terrorist, crazy shooter in Joker makeup or of course, the worst of ALL – SEX OFFENDERS!

    Just as the governments theory of bigger is better, the list, continues to grow and therefore to become LESS EFFECTIVE, as it is watered down with people who should NOT be on it. It has become and out of control monster that serves no productive purpose and only confuses those who check it and those on it.

    Perhaps in theory there is the potential in the idea BUT the way that it is implemented is a disaster. It doesn’t prevent any crime or keep any child safer. It only ends up diverting attention to real problems and destroying lives of those placed indiscriminately on it.

    It is time to stop the madness and make some major reforms to this travesty of justice.

  3. Dave R.

    My personal experience with the registry;

    I became romantically involved with an adult woman 4 years my senior. Although she was still married to her husband, he decided he wanted her back, and me out of the picture. Because her husband found I was on the registry, he concocted accusations that I was romantically involved with his teenage daughter, and I went to jail.

    There was absolutely no evidence against me and the teenage daughter recanted her allegations and also stated on court record that these allegations were made so that I’d go to jail and her parents would get back together, but the court and DA’s office refused to drop the charges. Facing several years in prison, and an incompetent, court appointed attorney, I was basically forced to take a plea deal. I would have never gotten a fair trial.

    Is this justice? Most if not RSO stand little or no chance in court, we are guilty until proven innocent, even when proven innocent, we will still be found guilty because of the RSO status.

    I say, stiffer penalties should be given to those that abuse the registry and use it for personal vendettas/gain. You’d be surprised how many use it for all the wrong reasons.

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