Cruel and Unusual: The Case Against Registering Kids as Sex Offenders

[Impact Justice]

America’s kids have racked up some big wins in the nation’s most august court. The victory lap began in 2005 when the Supreme Court banned the death penalty for juveniles. (Roper v. Simons, 543 U.S. 551 (2005).) In 2010, the Court barred mandatory life without parole for juveniles, except those convicted of murder. (Graham v. Florida, 560 U.S. 48 (2010).) Two years later, the Court eliminated this exclusion, reasoning that a mandatory sentence of life in prison without the possibility of release violates juveniles’ constitutional protections against “cruel and unusual punishment.” (Miller v. Alabama, 132 S. Ct. 2455 (2012).)

The justices’ decisions in these and other cases were based in large part on a body of research that has established important cognitive and other differences between children and adults, especially in the areas of reasoning and impulse control. (See, e.g., Kayla Pope et al., Developmental Neuroscience and the Courts: How Science Is Influencing the Disposition of Juvenile Offenders, 51 J. Am. Acad. Child & Adolescent Psychiatry 341 (2012).) These studies provide a sound empirical basis for concluding that juveniles are less blameworthy for their criminal conduct than adults, and thus less deserving of the harshest punishments.

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Registering kids is certainly cruel. They either don’t really understand what they did is wrong, or in the cases mentioned in the article, didn’t really do anything wrong, and absolutely would not have been aware that what they did would be frowned up to this level.

But lets not gloss over the fact that the same issues these kids are effected by equally translate over to adults having to register. Being 18+ at the time of the offense certainly doesn’t make things any easier to live life.

For a nation that hangs its hat on how just it is, we certainly has a lot of cruelty directly backed by the government.

While it is indeed horrible that they want kids on the registry, is it any worse than making adults register, possibly for life, only to be be harassed for the rest of their lives? Is it right to have such draconian laws to the point of where the families of said offenders face banishment due to something out of their control? Is it right to continue punishing a man in his 60s for a mistake he did when he was 23? You don’t have to bring up children on the registry to see its cruel and unusual punishment for everyone regardless of the age.

Interesting people still think at the magical age of 18, everything is all adult and no longer child, yet adult can go under 18 or well beyond 18 depending on the person. Science does not agree with 18. 18 is based on schooling, nothing more or less.

From the article:
These studies provide a sound empirical basis for concluding that juveniles are less blameworthy for their criminal conduct than adults, and thus less deserving of the harshest punishments.

Harshest punishments is alluding to the registry. Again, is the intent civil or punitive?

How can registries be cruel and unusual punishment for juveniles if they are not punitive? Last I checked, the governmental bodies all claim it’s merely civil. Civil is not subject to cruel and unusual punishment scrutiny.

I so hope some judge holds it as cruel and unusual punishment…because then we’re at least all agreeing it’s punitive!

In reading this I had the horrible notion of my little boy, about to turn 6, being on the registry and ostracized at such a wonderful innocent age. In a way he and my daughter are ostracized without yet knowing it because we have elminated my participation in school events. Thank God, my closest childhood friends’ kids are about the same age as mine and they are “besties”. Today was the first day of school, the first day of many I will not share with them. It is heart breating to say the least.

To think of my kids being on that web site? Forget it. They’d chase me to the ends of the earth before those government hacks come near them and I’d support the efforts of any parent who would hide and protect their children from such cruel insanity.

To force anyone, especially children, to register is yet another indicator of just how screwed up this nation has become. We have completely lost our moral compas and lack a sense of direction and decency.

Edit: It occurs to me that anyone advocating or engaged at any level of child sex offender registration should be charged with child abuse and punished accordingly.
From the politician to the cop, from the web developer to the web host, they’re equally guilty.

The reality is that every kid has done some type sexual exploration on another kid, hence that every kid can end up on the registry.