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Are sex offender registries reinforcing inequality?

Public sex offender registries are at the forefront of what I’ve described in my research as a “war on sex.”

Offenders convicted of sex crimes are now singled out for surveillance and restrictions far more punitive than those who commit other types of crime. More than 800,000 Americans are now registered sex offenders. Tracking them has created a booming surveillance industry. Full Article

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  1. ab

    Of course sex offender registries reinforce inequality across the social and racial spectrum.

  2. T

    Yes it’s reinforcing inequality, registrants are getting rigged in the system as a form of punishment after they’ve already been punished, and they’re getting harassed and humiliated by the public because of what they’ve done, and be exposed in the media to create hysteria. This is just like the “war on drugs” epidemic except this is “war on sex” that feeds to mass incarceration. Our politicians have played the world’s greatest Jedi mind trick on us about how dangerous, evil, and incurable registrants are because of recidivism through propaganda.

  3. AJ

    That’s easy: yes. Next question. Digging deeper, I think the easiest way to attack residency and presence restrictions is to compare recidivism in States (or counties or cities) that have them to States (etc.) that do not. Boom, done. No need for any deeper studies or panels or grants. The data are right there waiting to be used.

  4. Gary

    Retroactive registration for sex offenders before the enactment was past are unconstitutional and the U.S. Supreme Court should rule in favor of our constitutional rights. The retroactive laws are not regulatory but are absolutely punitive in nature.


  5. Gralphr

    The fact the laws are mirrored after how Germany treated the Jews (minus the gas chambers) shows it is indeed punishment and reinforcing inequality. Besides being like Nazi Germany, its also pretty close to the old Jim Crow laws. You can call it Jim Crow 2.0.

    • Timmr

      People under the Jim Crow laws needed a book called the Green Book for short. It helped them avoid towns, gas stations and restaurants where they would be persecuted. Now registrants need to look at the 50 state guide to registry laws in order to safely travel.
      It didn’t surprise me to hear that blacks are discriminated against for sex crimes like they are for other crimes. Thanks for the article. I never believed the registry is colorblind. Now we are finding out another truth about never never land.
      All the pretty little myths about the registry come tumbling down.

  6. Eric

    I completed a sex offender treatment program, and the overarching emphasis was that having a healthy social life was the key ingredient to not reoffending. So I have finally found a girlfriend, things are going very well, she wants me to stay the night at her house (how wonderful), I call the police department to be sure every thing is cool–but everything is not cool, they say I have to register her address with them–so I ask, “Will her address come up on the public registry?” The answer is yes! “But she has rental properties, and that could seriously hamper people wanting to rent their.” “To bad!”. So I am not able to have a normal relationship with a woman–the single thing the SO therapist said was crucial to success is stifled by the registry. Yes, I would say it reinforces inequality.

    • New Person

      collateral damage.

      I think you have a point about your therapist stating one thing and the law negating all of that. That would imply the law is retributive.

      • Timmr

        When I went to therapy years ago, the program was approved by probation. 15 years ago there wasn’t all these residency restrictions and you were an anonymous dot on the map. Still, the approved therapy program on the one hand urged you to developed family and community connections. At the same time the registry was there to isolate you. Law enforcement were giving us a double, conflicting message.

        • New Person

          Timmer, I think you can use the Snyder case as those restrictions are retroactive. = )

        • Timmr

          Good point, the therapy given at that time, as an cooperative operation of probation or parole and the therapy provider, was tailored around the laws and situations that are in existence at the time. The therapy is done to increase your chances of not re-offending. So if they change the laws on you, they are essentially making it more difficult to stick to your non-re-offense plan. I don’t know about you, but no one spent anytime training me to handle the slew of laws that came out in the following years. I am sure they didn’t even expect them. The shame barrier was difficult enough to break though at that time. (I feel that only through protesting these laws am I gaining any self respect and sanity back.) Therefore, the new laws are not regulating your conduct for the betterment of society, but working to make your path bend back towards prison while undermining past so called regulations that actually did do some good.

        • New Person

          Your reasoning leads its way to a retributive action after the fact.

          Surely falls in line with Snyder.

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