PA: When facts aren’t facts – A look at the effectiveness of sexual offender registries

The passages of sexual offender registries have grabbed headlines as steps toward public safety against unchanging “predators” who are being released back into society.

The registry laws themselves have cost billions of dollars and generally are passed with overwhelming support. But do they work? Full Article

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Great article. The truth is coming out slowly. The question remains, when will legilslators and the courts listen?

If we can find enough lawmakers who will realize that the registries do not work and are very expensive, maybe there is some hope in the future. I just don’t know if I’ll live long enough to see it happen.

This may not be exactly on topic here, but has any one seen the SMART web site where they claim “Research has demonstrated that repeat offenders account for a disproportionate amount of crime and that offenders released from prison are arrested at rates 30 to 45 times higher than the general population (Rosenfeld, Wallman, & Formango, 2005)”

They also say “Unfortunately, recidivism remains a difficult concept to measure, especially in the context of sex offenders. The surreptitious nature of sex crimes, the fact that few sexual offenses are reported to authorities, and variation in the ways researchers calculate recidivism rates all contribute to the problem.

This can be found at

The write up goes on to say that that most sex offenses are not reported so the real reoffense rate is much higher. Can anyone point me to studies that debunk this?

I just checked from your link….and, over time, my eyes glazed over. The real recidivism rate for sexual offenses seems to be between 3~5% over 5 years and falling off after than.

Many of the numbers are very, very suspect…I don’t want to take the time, (I have another life), but there are 40 million minors between the ages of 12 and 18 in the United states…upwards of 50% will have sex this year….so they are missing 20 million arrests.

Numbers are cruel things…they had better hop to it to arrest all these people!! Now…

The truth is that America is just stupid about sex…everyone loves talking about it, everybody loves wagging a shaming finger…I am sorry, that’s the truth of it.

Even if you took their worse numbers, 13% molesting girls after 10 years (which I don’t believe)…the Headline could more properly read:

Flash! 87% of men who Molest Girls have committed no new sexual offense over the past 10 years.

Let us reward them!

This is also the truth…the real truth.

Best Wishes, James

Just going through the report by Roger P. ( he looks to be a paid contractor for SMART to write tough on crime propaganda ) …

30-45 times more likely to be arrested for a NON-SEX CRIME, is Roger P’s claim. Not even sex crimes. We are talking about sex crimes, after all.

Roger P goes on to imply that even though registrants are getting arrested for all these non-sex crimes, even miniscule violations like for those on parole, maybe not meeting a curfew, maybe going outside of a certain radius( and I can think of many other small crimes) , that these crimes really are likely sexual in nature. As if stealing food could really likely be sexual in nature…Roger P’s evidence for this is not to examine if there was sexual motivation for these small violation type crimes which would likely disprove his case, but he looks to a study on murder and kidnapping, a study I could not locate using google. In the opinion piece, Roger P. claims when registrants commit murder or kidnapping, it usually is sexually motivated. This is a Red herring. I know the rate of registrants committing murder or kidnapping is so low, like .000000000000001%, that it certainly does not make the case for Roger P’s implication that non-sex crimes other than murder and kidnapping, of which the vast majority are small-time violations, are likely to be sexually motivated. If time permits, more…

The registration is harsh. It use to be the registration was only for pedophiles. I originally thought those who had intercourse with minors. It’s not. The registration has people with crimes from a 18 year old boy having sex with his 17 year old girlfriend, flashing, a male adult molesting a female adult, other sex crimes that deal strictly with adults, and some things you have to just shake your head at. I can’t be specific. A guy that believed it was consensual only had Megan’s law because the adult female was 10 years younger than he was. Otherwise he just would have paid his dues, and been done with everything. Megan’s law is now used as a plea bargain tool. Plea for probation of 5 years and registration for life or go to trial with possibly x amount of years in prison. I feel is totally wrong. It doesn’t allow for everyone to be removed after a certain time. Registration is punishment in an of itself. I’m sorry, but lifetime registration is ridiculous especially for those who hasn’t re-offended in over ten years and has no will or desire to do so again. I had an offender once tell me lifetime registration only tells him once an offender always an offender, so why not just go out there and do it again like they expect? Get it over with and commit suicide in prison. I told him to beat the system, and not play their game. He’s gone straight. My own circumstances give me front seat view of what really happens with people on Megan’s law. It makes you and your family a target. Your scared no matter where you live. You hope and pray no one decides to mess with your vehicle or property. I’m sorry having to replace 7 tires in 6 months because they got slashed is ludicrous. In no uncertain terms, I got the message move. I can’t due to restrictions, and reduced finances for replacement of those tires.

“An update to Pennsylvania’s 1996 registry law in 2011 included that the ‘Legislature found that … sexual offenders pose a high risk of committing additional sexual offences, and protection from this type of offender is a paramount government interest.’”

This, from what I read in another article, is based on a lie that was used in Carr or another SCOTUS case that suggested the recidivism rate was 40%. However, based on 2003 Bureau of Justice Statistics data, sex offenders have the low recidivism rate of 5.3% — The DoJ places the recidivism rate at 3% to 10%. Not only that, based on the decision in the 2014 SORNA case regarding juveniles, the 2011 presumption of recidivism language would violate an offenders’ due process rights by utilizing an irrebuttable presumption.

These laws are about two things. 1.) Politicians getting or keeping a job and, 2.) States getting strong-armed by the federal government with the threat of losing federal law enforcement grant money.