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The system for punishing sex offenders is broken (Opinion)

Think “sex offender,” and you probably picture a creepy guy who likes to lure children to his van with candy. But that’s not the whole picture. The sex offender registry, which currently stands at over 850,000 registered sex offenders, is comprised of many people who should not be lumped into the same category as violent sex offenders and pedophiles. People like teenager Zach Anderson.

The 19-year-old had sex with a teenage girl he met through a dating app. The girl said she was 17 – above the age of consent – but was actually 14. Anderson was sentenced to 90 days in jail, 5 years’ probation, and 25 years on the sex offender registries in both Indiana and Michigan. The 14-year-old apologized for lying, and her mother even went to court to say that Anderson should not be put on the sex offender list. But the judge was not lenient. For the next 25 years, Anderson will have restrictions on where he goes, what he does and how he lives his life.

Cases like these are making people start to reconsider the way the sex offender registry works, and whether it’s time for a change in the law. Full Article

Join the discussion

  1. Q

    This article raises allot of good points about the registry, like the statement by Patty Wetterling, where she says that the list was originally meant to keep track of the worst offenders, but because of the states unbridled push to place everyone they possibly can on the registry that it doesn’t function the way it was intended to function. The lawmakers sure held her in high esteem when she hatched and realized this idea by way of federal funding, but now that she is calling for reforms hearing her name is a rarity.

    It’s nice to see more and more articles pointing out the shortcomings of the registry, and there are many, but disturbing to see the bureaucrats and elected officials continually pushing for more numerous and more stringent laws designed to oppress registrants as a class of people; they peruse this as though they have never heard any of the truths now known about the total ineffectiveness of the registry in it’s present form (it used to work, until they fixed it).

    Their actions have turned the registry into a money shredder that is useless as a tool to keep track of dangerous people as originally intended.

  2. G4Change

    Awesome op-ed!!!!! The author simply hits it out of the ballpark! Great read.

  3. Thomas

    Hi I was hoping someone could get help or guidance in where to get help with the way a sex offender treatment treats there people ny friend is getting driven into financial ruin and losing the only people he has cause they are tired of the issues arising from it

  4. Chris

    I am rather concerned with people that can’t deal with the lifetime requirement, the consequences of possibly not being able to find work, a place to live, or have any rational structure to their lives as a result of the stigma connected to a registrant. I was listening to forensic psychologists describing the ultimate behavior characteristics of individuals who feel they are being unfairly persecuted or feel there is no other way out, and that they might “copy cat” the recent Virginia shooting. A lifetime requirement only increases the risk as time passes. I really think it’s time for people to understand and appraise what possible effects the registry is having on a very large number of people now in the U.S., and whether the risk is worth taking, in requiring offenders to be subject to these consequences for a lifetime. It may be time to dial back and recalculate the risk, perhaps providing an out after a few years for good behavior. I don’t necessarily think all “victims” want this to be a lifetime concern particularly either. The “automatic” sex offender registry part of the sentence from the Judge may be an unwanted, additional caveat for the ultimate safety of society.

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