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Reform the Sex-Offender Registry

In 1972, at the age of 21, Phillip Garrido had his first arrest. The charge: sexual assault of a minor. Four years later, he kidnapped and raped Katherine Callaway, a crime for which he received a 50-year sentence in the federal Leavenworth Penitentiary. During his trial, Garrido testified to masturbating while sitting outside middle schools and going on drug binges. After serving 11 years in federal prison and an additional seven months in Nevada State Prison, he was released in 1988 to parole authorities in Contra Costa County, Calif. For much of the next 20 years, as befitting a convicted sexual predator placed on sex offender registries, police and social workers often dropped by Garrido’s house. … The story of how Garrido went undetected for so long ought to raise serious questions about one of the least controversial and most widely adopted criminal justice policies: sex-offender registration. Full Op-Ed Piece

Join the discussion

  1. Eric Knight

    Weekly Standard writer comes out AGAINST the registry!

    http://www.weeklystandard.com/reform-the-sex-offender-registry/article/2000492

    Writer: Eli Lehrer (bio: http://www.rstreet.org/people/eli-lehrer/)

    There are a few mistakes; for instance, registries did NOT cause drop in rapes. Correlation in this case is incorrect. Other recommendations such as civil commitment were mentinoed, but all in all, a good piece in a conservative website by a respected constitutional writer.

    • Timmr

      “Since widespread adoption of the registries has correlated with significant drops in rape and child abuse, there’s good reason to suspect they’ve helped to fight crime.”
      Later on this statement seems to contradict that: “Notification laws do nothing to change offenders’ behavior.”

    • Q

      The below statement is just parroting the standard propaganda. Numbers can be manipulated to reflect whatever anyone wants. Notice how sources are not cited?

      “Since widespread adoption of the registries has correlated with significant drops in rape and child abuse, there’s good reason to suspect they’ve helped to fight crime.”

      I think this author knows a little, but fails to see the bigger picture. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. Nobody can prove the effectiveness of the registries; however, proof of the ineffectiveness is all over the place and in plain site. The Garrido case is just one more example in a long line of examples of the ineffectiveness of the registry. LE and social workers went to his house several times and found nothing.

  2. ab

    Okay I get it, people want to keep better track of the worst offenders or civilly commit them. Unfortunately none of these practices target the source problem. Anyone who believes it is impossible to understand why some people find prepubescent children attractive, what drives someone to expose themselves in public, or rape a person should be in a profession that isn’t concerned about these questions.

    I dislike repeating the same facts over and over again, but reforming the registry will not ever help solve anything that happens prior to a law being broken. Under no circumstances do I foresee “teaching people not to rape or murder or rob a bank” as a workable solution. Although I absolutely can see the natural erosion of factors, circumstances, and situations that begin people down paths towards such activity being a viable front end option. The last resort should be law enforcement action and prosecution for anything illegal.

    Do individuals who dress provocatively invite less than benevolent attention? Of course they do. The question that needs answering is; why do some people feel the desire or need to violate the provocatively dressed person? What other things in life could have occurred that would have lessened or prevented the development of this need/desire?

    Those who target others for any purpose (including television demographics, clothing styles, shoe brands, and everything else) do so very specifically. So what made Jaycee Lee the ideal target of Phillip? In asking this question I don’t want general facts that were considered, but the extremely detailed and specific things which made the kidnapping a must do. Granted some of these might be so personal that they could have only been confirmed by Phillip after he had Jaycee. No person except Phillip knows what made the 11 year old Jaycee so attractive or over the 19 years everything that made him keep her around. Maybe she knows some things, but until both sides of the story are released in full gut wrenching (offensive detail) no one will be able to learn the most crucial elements that made everything progress as it did and this is the primary reason nothing has yet prevented in large part the creation of new victims. I don’t care if 50 trillion trillion trillion reasons exist that could potentially lead hours, days, weeks, months, years, or decades later to the commission of an illegal act. All 50 trillion trillion trillion reasons ought to be fully known and understood or else nothing will change.

  3. Q

    “An extensive body of research shows that the only thing accomplished by public notification over the Internet is to harm property values in the neighborhoods where offenders live.”

    And what about murder and assault? What about vandalism? Etc, etc, etc.

    This author is just one more stupid individual proposing a hodge podge of changes; some good, and some bad. The state uses single one-off cases like the garrido case to remove our rights and generate fear. It’s also done with so called terrorist attacks which are many times one offs by mis guided people as a result of some usually illegal and morally wrong government policy or action. Our leaders are retards!

  4. mike r

    Actually our gov officials are masters at manipulations of the ignorant masses. Itsike they got a masters degree in manipulation and corruption.

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