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Sex Offender Registration – Why Fear Isn’t Smart Policy

As momentum around criminal justice reform builds nationwide, sex offenders are one population that is consistently left out of the conversation. Full Editorial

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  1. ab

    Registration for sex offenses or offenses under any other categorical umbrella are not smart policy. Initially someone might believe monitoring certain individuals and having them update various facts with local law enforcement if said facts change or periodically, would be reasonable. Except long term all monitoring and periodic updates communicate is an inability either voluntarily or perhaps not on society’s part to effectively address root problems. Another way to think about it is because no one knew what precisely would work they went with whichever first ideas felt right.

    Regardless of what leads any person to commit an offense legally classified as a sex offense merely incarcerating that person won’t address the cause(s). If lucky the process proceeding being incarcerated, the term of imprisonment, and threat of further punishment after for not following supervision conditions and laws might scare most people into compliance. However even with sex offenses no evidence has ever shown these measures to have any impact on new first time offenses. So if person 1 rapes someone, gets caught, is prosecuted, and years later goes on to be registered in a community somewhere none of this reduces the chance elsewhere that person 2, 3, 4, 5, 60946…etc, will eventually commit a first time rape. Currently no pre first offense measures are available to divert an eventual potential victim or offender from becoming either from a social/community approach without law enforcement involvement. Alone this fact is a primary reason registries for any offense won’t ever outright prevent new first time offenses. Current policy is akin to fire fighters showing up at a house on fire, putting the fire out, and afterwards requesting better equipment to fight the next house fire. While better equipment seems reasonable the fact that the fire fighters have no apparent interest in making houses less likely to catch fire is at minimum puzzling.

    • Timmr

      I don’t remember even knowing about registration before I committed my offense, so how could that be a deterrent? Probably it was because the media never potrays it like it is – as a punishment, what with the loss of jobs, restrictions, etc. When it is mentioned at all, the only people one believes are on it are serial rapists. So if they portrayed it as the punishment it is, it might discourage some from committing crimes. Although, if it is widely admitted that it is punishment, then they have to admit it is unconstitutional. The people who favor any registry have shown a great willingness to be stupid. I doubt many could grasp the concept that committing of sex crimes can be dealt with by means other than the cage and shackle.

  2. 1984

    I am happy to see more people, who are educated, are taking interest in this topic of injustice. And these people are willing to take on political injustice with an objective view. That takes some fortitude. Fortitude is something most our politicians have lost or never had. Who wants to be voted out of their cushy job, over sex offenders or humane rights? Arm bands really are not that far away. Keep pushing back. Each added voice only makes us louder.

    These stand up authors should be recognized and supported by at least citing their work. Sophie Day is one of these people.

  3. David

    “More than 90% of those who sexually offend are known to their victim. In fact, the stricter our laws become around sexual offenses and those who commit them, the more likely will a victim be discouraged from reporting abuse at the hands of a friend or family member, fearing the repercussions of registry and notification.”
    Yes, this is true, it is actually happening, and is the direct effect of the SORs and all the many add-on punitive laws.

  4. Tired Of Hiding

    Since the current laws do nothing to assure the safety of children and simply punish endlessly those who might have been caught in a sting or committed a “victimless crime” like peeing on a tree and provide a false sense of security by diverting the attention from those who might actually harm children, the only logical conclusion we can draw based on the evidence is that these laws are put into place to allow child abuse.

    The sex offender registry has been proven time and time again to have no effect on child safety and actually are counterproductive for the stated reasons. Why do law makers want to prepetucate lies unless it helps their political careers?

    Easy to answer, the sex offender registry gives them a TOOL to use to manipulate the population’s fear and that is the payoff for those who continue to force these counterproductive and harmful laws – PERIOD!

    These politicians not only do not care about the safety of children but they in fact KNOW this from the studies and statistics and yet lie to the very people they are supposed to represent and protect.

    Shocking right – well, not really. If you know anything about how politicians “think” you can easily understand that this registry is the perfect tool to be manipulated and abused by those soulless uncaring and evil politicians who think of no one except themselves.

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