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Are Sex Offender Registries Too Strict?

[Newsweek]

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.

In my work on sex offender registries, I have found that black men in the U.S. were registered at rates twice that of white men—resembling disparities found in the criminal justice system at large. However, these findings speak to the scope of the problem of American sex offender registries, as approximately 1 percent of black men in the U.S. are now registered sex offenders. My research suggests that inequality is deeply tied to sex offender policies.

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  1. Harry

    “…surveillance and restrictions far more punitive…” The word ‘punitive’ is showing up more.

    • Need courts understanding

      Until the courts agree with that, especially SCOTUS, it will take the masses to continue to drive that thinking about punitive.

      • Harry

        I agree, however, the more it is mentioned it will become a household, word even at the courthouse.

  2. AJ

    I agree that the mere mention of “punitive” is helpful to our cause. As more hear the truth about recidivism; the truth about the major threat being within the family, friends, etc.; the truth about the overwhelming, undisputed harm the registries cause our society; and the truth that even the government itself finds the registries ineffective, the public opinion will change. Public opinion is indeed shifting. Politicians follow public opinion. I don’t know that means anything will be repealed, but perhaps fewer new laws will be enacted. Perhaps. But yes, it is only going to be resolved by SCOTUS. Thankfully they have many cases at hand to use (Snyder, hopefully Muniz, plus a couple others petitioned). I strongly feel they will find in our favor.

  3. Stephen King

    I am a tier 2 registered sex offender I find that the sex offender registry is in violation of someone’s civil rights it gives out personal information for any Identity Thief who wants to get your identity along with people who want to bully you and harass you and threats that I have received are numerous. I pled Nolo contendere to one count of indecent assault which is equal to unlawful sexual contact the facts of my case were never revealed because the lawyer I retained was not a criminal trial attorney but was a Civil Trial attorney dabbling in criminal law so from the beginning I had no chance. They need to repeal the restrictions and the level of people that end up on the registries a level 2 as I am is no different than the level one the only difference is the charge. Since my release I’ve had no problems I’ve been openly gay my entire life and have never had any previous convictions nor any conviction since my release and no convictions will be in my foreseeable future. People need to understand that fear is lack of knowledge they should get better educated to know about what being on this list really is about.

  4. Edward Bronston Jr

    The registry is cruel and unusual and enacts double jeopardy for the sole purpose of allow different agencies to abstract sanctions on individuals who committed one crime. Furthermore jurisdictional challenges of the registry also can be challenged in regards is it federal or state if it’s federal how can they impose sanctions for a state offense if it’s state how can another state governor another state’s sanction i would love to be apart of this movement 9377272728 i which to speak with someone who is in the position to bring about change not only against the registery but all laws unconstitutional weather civil or criminal thanks for creating a page to give me voice

  5. Lovecraft

    This article is just….wow. An RC is getting kicked out of where he is staying by the doc, cant maintain a job anywhere because no business wants him to register there, and cant stay with family due to stigmatizing everyone. Then there is this: Mike claims an official told him to “‘re-offend and we can help you.’ That means going back to jail. That means I have to go back out there, commit a case to go back to jail. Just to have a place to stay,” he said. So I guess now we have an argument for reoffense rates being artifically inflated. Im sure no offical would admit to doing this, but if this doesnt show how messed up the situation is with the registry I dont know what does.

    http://m.nbc12.com/story/36144480/ex-con-feels-hes-being-forced-to-re-offend-asks-state-to-step-in

  6. Matt Duhamel

    As a filmmaker, public speaker and registrant, I’m very interested in learning about social rejection and social ostracism. A few months ago I had the chance to interview Dr. Kipling Williams (Purdue), the leading researcher on this subject. I learned about “outcasts” in ancient times. Shaming has been part of human nature for thousands and thousands of years. In current times, the registry is the tool of choice for shaming and out-casting. The registry needs to be eliminated!

    “In Ancient Greece the Athenians had a procedure known as “ostracism” in which all citizens could write a person’s name on a shard of broken pottery (called ostraka) and later place it in a large container in a public location. If an individual were to have his or her name written a sufficient number of times, they would be subject to “ostracism” and banished from the city for ten years. This was normally practiced against individuals who had behaved in a manner that was in some way offensive to the community.”

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