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Minnesota TV reporter asks tough questions about sex offender laws

As we’ve noted before at The Watch, local news tends to sensationalize and fearmonger, especially when it comes to issues involving crime, sex, kids, drugs or some combination of the four. So it’s worth pointing out when a local news reporter does great work. Here’s some praise for Dan Hanger, a reporter for Fox 21 in Duluth, Minn., for his recent provocative and challenging series on sex offender laws. Full Article

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  1. mike r

    Beautiful article. It’s finally happening that people are becoming aware of these draconian laws let’s just hope its not to late to see change. Have faith people.
    Also any time we see a negative or false report send the following to the reporter it will help educate them.
    I really wish the media and reporters would stop publishing or producing these reports and opinions from law makers about how great sex offender registration and notification laws or Megan’s law are. They are using false statistics and pure myths to further their personal agendas under the guise of protecting children. None of these failed policies have achieved any positive results in the US and in fact are destroying the lives of thousands of innocent children’s lives because one of their parents is on such a registry. As a reporter you should have enough integrity to investigate your story before you publish it and be sure that there is some credibility to it and not just a platform to exploite children for a law makers personal gaines or your own. Here are some facts from the leading authorities on this subject which indicate what a failure these registration and public notification laws are in the US. These laws are a waste of tax dollars and are a misplaced use of valuable law enforcement and gov. agencies resources.

    California Sex Offender Management Board (CASOMB) End of Year Report 2014. (page 13)

    Under the current system many local registaring agencies are challenged just keeping up with registration paperwork. It takes an hour or more to process each registrant, the majority of whom are low risk offenders. As a result law enforcement cannot monitor higher risk offenders more intensively in the community due to the sheer numbers on the registry. Some of the consequences of lengthy and unnecessary registration requirements actually destabilize the lifes of registrants and those -such as families- whose lives are often substantially impacted. Such consequences are thought to raise levels of known risk factors while providing no discernable benefit in terms of community safety.

    The full report is availible online at. http://www.casomb.org/index.cfm?pid=231

    National Institute of Justice (NIJ) US Department of Justice Office of Justice Programs United States of America.

    The overall conclusion is that Megan’s law has had no demonstrated effect on sexual offenses in New Jersey, calling into question the justification for start-up and operational costs. Megan’s Law has had no effect on time to first rearrest for known sex offenders and has not reduced sexual reoffending. Neither has it had an impact on the type of sexual reoffense or first-time sexual offense. The study also found that the law had not reduced the number of victims of sexual offenses.

    The full report is available online at. https://www.ncjrs.gov/app/publications/abstract.aspx?ID=247350

    The University of Chicago Press for The Booth School of Business of the University of Chicago and The University of Chicago Law School Article DOI: 10.1086/658483

    Conclusion.
    The data in these three data sets do not strongly support the effectiveness of sex offender registries. The national panel data do not show a significant decrease in the rate of rape or the arrest rate for sexual abuse after implementation of a registry via the internet. The BJS data that tracked individual sex offenders after their release in 1994 did not show that registration had a significantly negative effect on recidivism. And the D.C. crime data do not show that knowing the location of sex offenders by census block can help protect the locations of sexual abuse. This pattern of noneffectiveness across the data sets does not support the conclusion that sex offender registries are successful in meeting their objectives of increasing public safety and lowering recidivism rates.

    The full report is availible online at. http://www.jstor.org/stable/full/10.1086/658483

    These are not isolated conclusions but are the same outcomes in the majority of conclusions and reports on this subject from multiple government agencies and throughout the academic community.

    People including the media should not rely on and reiterate the statements and opinions of the legislators as to the need for these laws because of the high recidivism rates and the high risk offenders pose to the public which simply is not true and is pure hyperbole and fiction. You should rely on facts and data collected and submitted in reports from the leading authorities and credible experts in the fields such as the following.

    California Sex Offender Management Board (CASOMB)

    Sex offender recidivism rate for a new sex offense is 1.8% (page 38)

    The full report is available online at.
    http://www.google.com/url?sa=t&source=web&cd=1&ved=0CCEQFjAA&url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.cdcr.ca.gov%2FAdult_Research_Branch%2FResearch_documents%2FOutcome_evaluation_Report_2013.pdf&ei=C9dSVePNF8HfoATX-IBo&usg=AFQjCNE9I6ueHz-o2mZUnuxLPTyiRdjDsQ

    Bureau of Justice Statistics
    5 PERCENT OF SEX OFFENDERS REARRESTED FOR ANOTHER SEX CRIME WITHIN 3 YEARS OF PRISON RELEASE
    WASHINGTON, D.C.

    Within 3 years following their 1994 state prison release, 5.3 percent of sex offenders (men who had committed rape or sexual assault) were rearrested for another sex crime, the Justice Department’s Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS) announced today.

    The full report is available online at. http://www.bjs.gov/content/pub/press/rsorp94pr.cfm

    Document title; A Model of Static and Dynamic Sex Offender Risk Assessment Author: Robert J. McGrath, Michael P. Lasher, Georgia F. Cumming Document No.: 236217 Date Received: October 2011 Award Number: 2008-DD-BX-0013

    Findings: Study of 759 adult male offenders under community supervision Re-arrest rate: 4.6% after 3-year follow-up
    The sexual re-offense rates for the 746 released in 2005 are much lower than what many in the public have been led to expect or believe. These low re-offense rates appear to contradict a conventional wisdom that sex offenders have very high sexual re-offense rates.

    The full report is available online at. https://www.ncjrs.gov/pdffiles1/nij/grants/236217.pdf

    Document Title: SEX OFFENDER SENTENCING IN WASHINGTON STATE: RECIDIVISM RATES BY: Washington State Institute For Public Policy.

    A study of 4,091 sex offenders either released from prison or community supervision form 1994 to 1998 and examined for 5 years Findings: Sex Crime Recidivism Rate: 2.7%

    Link to Report: http://www.oncefallen.com/files/Washington_SO_Recid_2005.pdf

    Document Title: Indiana’s Recidivism Rates Decline for Third Consecutive Year BY: Indiana Department of Correction 2009.

    The recidivism rate for sex offenders returning on a new sex offense was 1.05%, one of the lowest in the nation. In a time when sex offenders continue to face additional post-release requirements that often result in their return to prison for violating technical rules such as registration and residency restrictions, the instances of sex offenders returning to prison due to the commitment of a new sex crime is extremely low. Findings: sex offenders returning on a new sex offense was 1.05%

    Link to Report: http://www.in.gov/idoc/files/RecidivismRelease.pdf

    Once again, These are not isolated conclusions but are the same outcomes in the majority of reports on this subject from multiple government agencies and throughout the academic community.
    No one can doubt that child sexual abuse is traumatic and devastating. The question is not whether the state has an interest in preventing such harm, but whether current laws are effective in doing so.
    Megan’s law is a failure.
    It is the definition of insanity to do the same thing over and over again and expect different results.

    • Robert Curtis

      Let me get this straight…after all the low recidivism facts on recidivism the truism is that having a Registry in any form is doing the same thing and expecting different results. That being the definition of insanity then it stands as a matter of logic that the sex offender registry is insane! So what does that say about the people and organizations that support the sex offender registry? Sanity also lacking there pray-tell?

  2. mike r

    From Justice Policy Institute.
    Estimated cost of SORNA .
    Here are some of the estimates made in 2009 expressed in 2014 current dollars: California, $66M; Florida, $34M; Illinois, $24M; New York, $35M; Pennsylvania, $22M; Texas, $44M. In 2014 dollars, Virginia’s estimate for implementation was $14M, and the annual operating cost after that would be $10M.

    For the US, the total is $547M. That’s over half a billion dollars – every year – for something that doesn’t work.

    http://www.justicepolicy.org/images/upload/08-08_FAC_SORNACosts_JJ.pdf

    • Jim

      Let us hear the media boast about that.

    • Timmr

      California didn’t adopt SORNA, so seems to me a moot point. California, apparently, agrees with you that SORNA is not worth the cost. I wonder, what is the cost of implementing PC290 and what federal funding, if any, is supplied to fund that? Probably not enough, since they can’t even keep the registry up to date. I don’t think the public cares, just as it is willing to fund more wars and prisons even if it means taking funds away from other things like higher education. For what? Go figure.

    • VSPSVS

      Come on, something worked at a high cost but it did get many and maintained many in office! It worked for them. Just joking.

      mike r, your right it does not work.

      For the US, the total is $547M. That’s over half a billion dollars – every year – for something that doesn’t work.

  3. Avig

    Kudos to mike r for his post of May 20th, he has definitely nailed it.

  4. mike r

    I agree timmer. I cannot find any statistics on the actual cost of registration for CA I’ve searched everywhere and found no annual cost for CA. We need this statistics so if anyone can find it post it with the page url so that we may cite it.

    • Timmr

      Yeah, maybe no one has done that study. I imagine one would have to look at the expenses of each local jurisdiction and all the State agencies related to 290 enforcement and add them up. Although, it is is hard to believe the State hasn’t estimated that in order to apply for special federal grant money for sex offender enforcement or funds from the legislature for that purpose. It’s probably buried somewhere and doesn’t get enough hits to show up on Google or you would have to know the exact title of the study.

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