ACSOL Board Members Unravel Sex Offense Policies, Offer Hope for Registrants


In the form of new scholarly articles, two ACSOL board members discuss the large gap between sex offense realities and sex offense policies as well as offer hope for registrants and their families. In the first of the articles, sociologist Emily Horowitz uses a timeline of key political events, legal milestones and research findings to identity how and why there is a gap between sex offense realities and sex offense policies. In the second of the articles, law professor Catherine Carpenter provides hope to registrants and their families by highlighting recent state and federal court decisions that recognize that sex offender registration laws constitute punishment.

“We are pleased to share with the public the scholarly works of two key members of the ACSOL board,” stated ACSOL President Chance Oberstein. “Both of these board members will supplement their scholarly works at this year’s ACSOL conference on June 15 and 16 in Los Angeles.”

Horowitz is Professor and Chair of the Department of Sociology and Criminal Justice at St. Francis College in Brooklyn, New York. Carpenter is the Honorable Arleigh M. Woods and William T. Woods Professor of Law, Southwestern Law School in Los Angeles, California.

Moral Panic – Emily Horowitz – Dec 2017

Signs of Hope – Catherine Carpenter – Dec 2017


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I found this troubling to read from Carpenter’s paper:

“We are witnessing cringe-worthy outcomes that have produced a swollen registry because mandatory registration is not predicated on individualized risk assessment, but instead is based solely on a predetermined legislative scheme as to which crimes warrant registration.”

Who is to say that registration based on “individualized risk assessment” will be any better than mandatory registration? Especially if the individualized risk assessments are based off of highly flawed actuarial tools that are limited to all but 10 “risk factors?”

On page 6 of Carpenter’s paper, she notes that “prior convictions, not current dangerousness, land people on a sex offense registry.” Again, none of Karl Hanson’s tools measure “current dangerousness.” The Static-99R, for example, does not measures anything current (unless you were *just* released from jail). And none of Karl Hanson’s tools measure ‘dangerousness.’ Only risk of recidivism from release.

Carpenter cites Hanson at least three times in her paper (at footnotes 84, 88, 89). While it might be nice to see risk-based registries as a more fair alternative, I fear that it might lead to a slippery slope–not unlike the Minority Report–that will, once again, take many years to undo. We should all be exposing the fact that no test can predict human behavior while it is early, rather to be confronted with a statistical phrenological mess many years down the road.

Maybe focus on the fact that registries have not been proven to prevent crime. So why should they even exist at all?

I agree that they weigh “Risk assessment” with or without Static-99 or 99R way too heavily! No one can predict who will or will not re-offend. All these predictions scare me because the state uses their doctors as puppets to appear in court and recite the dangerousness of someone according to these tests, which includes an hour of talking with the accused- not knowing anything about their background, their life, their relationship with family members or loved ones.

We do live in a world of Minority Report.

So I have a sort of general question. This is based on my understanding of things, and so please correct me if I misunderstand anything. I committed my crime back in the early 1990s, and my lawyer advised me to take the deferred adjudication route, telling me that it would all go off my record if I kept my nose clean for 10 years of probation. So I did, and about halfway through my probation, all of the Megan’s Law stuff was put into place, and somehow (I think it’s through a technical implementation of a never ending statute of limitations on my charges) they applied the requirement to register for life retroactively to me.

Then the International Megan’s law came in, and now, not only am I simply treated as having been convicted as a technicality, now it’s announced to the world, to other sovereign nations as if it’s true, as if I were convicted in a court of law for the crime. I’m not even sure if these other nations have anything like a deferred adjudication in thier law, but if they do I’m pretty sure they would have a hard time believing that there was never an actual conviction (adjudication) against me. I mean, it’s hard to beleive or understand how this is just, or legal, or how a nation can do what it’s done to us. I think there’s a pretty good argument right there to make the United States government prove and document how this morphed from a technical slight-of-hand legal categorization to where they can now announce something as true that they as much as admit is not.


I’m in Texas too. Committed my crime in 92′ went to court in 94′, got off probation in 04′. Next January will be 25 years since my court date.

Dustin, the comment regarding the Tiered Registry is lame! Now, I certainly don’t agree with the Static 99, but if your arrested multiple times etc, you certainly pose a higher risk. I would avoid jumping to conclusions and remember that a lot can change before 2021! As already noted in my readings, a Static 99 isn’t really that valid if 10 years or more have passed/and your crime free. So, lets be proactive rather than reactive. If everyone had that negative attitude, this website wouldn’t exist and we would still be banned from parks!

Of course they can easily assess ANY persons risk at sentencing to be high/danger to reoffend. The problem is not that they deem someone dangerous, but that there is no reassessment after the initial judgement. If people are going to be put on a list, and especially a public one , reassessments should be made at 6 month intervals with the burden of proof being on the government. People are committed to mental hospitals all the time because they are a danger to themselves and/or others, but the vast majority don`t stay there for life.

The registry is useless as it is right now. I was put as a tier III (not based on any psychological examination, but the charge). I have been out nearly 11 years now, crime free, married with children of my own, yet I’m considered the worst of the worst with no way off (actually here in Indiana I can petition now, but they don’t give any information as to how to get this into court). So now, I’m a 41 year old man considered the worst of the worst due to something from when I was 22. All tiers should have a way off and its really pointless to give people life on the registry when they still have to function in society. I went to school and received a Bachelors degree and have worked the whole time I’ve been out, but I can tell of the many times I had a offer letter rescinded for a job, not based on a conviction, but due to being on the registry itself. Anyone who thinks the registry isn’t a punishment meant to make people fail and end up in prison due to breaking the law is a complete fool.

It SOR was always INTENDED as punishment that IS why the Whetterling act evolved the way it did. The pretext of the act stated the intent was civil, but it was a thin veil disguising indentured servitude to databases. A database is a machine. Humans are now formally legally indentured to the machines. Our leadership from both parties have secured their public futures by appearing to provided a modicum of security when they actually do not. The required data maintenance is in reality mainly administrative yet extensive. Most importantly the machines are being used to impose affirmative disability most of the time the disability imposed is unreasonable yet imposed anyway.