Don’t Just Get Kids Off the Sex Offender Registry. Abolish It (Opinion)

Recently the New Yorker published a major article about juvenile “sex offenders.” The story, by staff writer Sarah Stillman, is far ranging, moving and important. Stillman writes about many young people who were caught doing anything from playing doctor to sexually coercing another person (usually another child). Convicted for sex crimes, some of these youth are incarcerated and subject to lifelong sex offender registration—a kind of social death sentence. Full Opinion Piece

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I am in complete agreement with this piece. It is lengthy but well worth the time to read. I have long been concerned that the movement to keep youthful offenders off the registry would leave older registrants earmarked as unable to be rehabilitated and used as the “cash cows” for the legal/prison industrial complex. The authors caution against “incrementalizing” and losing sight of the need to totally abolish the registry.

great article , I wish more people could understand this , or even try to understand

This is a well written, well reasoned article, however, I am concerned that its recommendations, if followed, will cause a schism in the RSO movement. If that should occur, this movement will be divided and conquered. I believe that we can support those advocating on behalf of youth while advocating for adults at the same time. This is not a zero sum game. That is, a “win” by those advocating for “youths” does not reduce the effectiveness of those advocating for “adults”. We can achieve both through incremental change, which can be made permanent, as compared to revolutionary change, which is often later eroded.

Incrementalism or revolution, both meaningless words when it feels like the ship is sinking and only some are manning the buckets or jumping ship to swim to other countries in increasingly shark infested waters. Hope they make it and come back with help. All the while that ocean of laws looms closer and closer.