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Should the Sex Offender Registry Be Abolished? A Live Debate.

Should the sex offender registry be abolished? Watch a live debate at the Soho Forum between Emily Horowitz, a sociologist at St. Francis College, and Marci Hamilton from the University of Pennsylvania and CHILD USA. Video

Emily Horowitz was the Featured Speaker / Keynote Presenter at the 2017 ACSOL Conference and will return as a speaker / presenter to the 2018 ACSOL Conference.


NY: “All Sex Offender Registries Should Be Abolished”: Reason/Soho Forum Debate

Join the discussion

  1. Tom

    This would have been a great debate if the person who was in favor of registration stayed on topic and answered the questions as of her. She successfully tried to control the subject and not answer the question.

    • AlexO

      So what data do you have to support the need for the registries existence?

      Nasser and Sandusky

      They’re behind bars for the rest of their lives and weren’t registered prior to their crimes, so the registry wouldn’t have saved a single one of their victims.


    • NYLevel1

      Isn’t it strange we never ever see or hear of the ‘Great’ Sex Offender treatment doctors in New York running thriving businesses practices like Krueger and Martinez participating in these public debates?

      • Registry keeps me separate from my partner

        As I’m still on probation here in NY, I have to attend court-mandated therapy. The therapy there is so useless that I’m seeing a private counselor on the side.

        Besides the fact that the therapist is a reactionary who basically disdains anyone who complains about the system to instead enjoin them that “if you work hard and eat right, you will be successful”, there’s an average of 12-15 people in a session. For one hour. Once a week. One time we had 26 people in a session. Oh and he strongly discourages people from doing individual treatment as a supplement (and emphasizes that it’ll cost more).

        What that means is that, at best, you get maybe 5 minutes every couple of weeks to check-in and get told to work harder “Be your bosses best friend, if someone’s working 10 hours, you put in 11”.

        My private therapist emphasized when we started treatment that it’s important to have a good rapport, and that if her and I didn’t have that, it’s totally okay to find someone else.

        Therapy can be incredibly empowering and rehabilitative, but we as a society have to be willing to take it seriously. NYC, at least, is not.

        • NYLevel1

          Hi I have been through this in NYC no longer on probation and did not do ‘court mandated’ which is a huge racket. How can we chat? like to help

  2. Plain as Day

    Obviously Marci Hamilton was not directly debating each topic that was on the floor. She was repeating the lies and she was fear mongering. She will run for political office.

  3. Robert Curtis

    I was inspired by Emily on all fronts. Courageous leaders like Emily and Janice have heroically stood their ground against emotionally driven lies…how inspiring! As Church Hill once said, “don’t give me the coward who fights knowing he’ll win but give me the courageous that dares to fight when he’s sure to loose!!!” Emily won in the end but she may have walked into the debate thinking it could easily have gone the other way.

  4. Harry

    Marci Hamilton is highlighting another meth. Her reasoning for justifying the registry for sex offence crimes over other crimes is that is “that kids are targeted by the perpetrator”, which, is few cases yes, however, is not the norm as most are situational.

  5. steve

    Violence against women is a very bad thing but every time she said “ they all have a 150 vicitims” I wanted to punch her in the mouth. Fear mongering at it’s finest.

    • That does not help Steve


      Even stating such retribution in physical action does not help or give credence to reforming SO laws.

      • steve

        It’s sarcasm, but I would still punch her in the mouth. (not in a physical sense..)

  6. TS

    Here is the follow up to this debate if you are interested in some light reading:


    It addresses much of what has been commented on here. Very interesting reading.

    • TS

      From the follow up:

      “So, who won? Surprisingly, the audience voted for the abolition of registries. Prior to the debate 39% voted in the affirmative, 22% in the negative, and 39% were undecided. 72% of the audience closed ranks around Dr. Horowitz after she razed the hastily constructed fortress of feelings about the registry. 16% sided with Ms. Hamilton and 12% were still undecided.”

      Rational thinking presented thoughtfully will articulate the argument against keeping registries and help to counter the emotional points (e.g. 80%, etc). Do not counter emotion with emotion, but stay above the spray pattern as they military says and calm in your counterarguments.

      • New Person

        I think the audience got fed up with Marci trying to talk down Emily and her resources she was citing, implying they’re not facts and credible.

        Marci was trying to work over the public with scare tactic and not delineating the difference between recidivism and previously non-convicted sex criminals. She kept on about Sandusky, et al, but neglects that they are not part of the recidivism pool.

        Recidivism records the re-offense of a sex crime. Emily kept on this train of thought and supported it with resources from Dr.’s. And then always comparing to other groups of recidivism rates.

        A big problem with Marci was she kept saying sex criminals are a different beast from murderers, arsonists, etc. The moderator also caught her perplexed when he asked if arsonist should be on the registry since they kill children.

        Also Marci calls the supposedly 150’s victims and calls attention that it should raise recidivism rates. One, those occurred before being caught. Recidivism counts after they’re caught. Two, that recidivism counts to that one individual, not the whole population.

        Then Marci scoffs at the nearly 1 million on the registry like they don’t matter. It’s just 1 million people out of 230 million in America. But that’s who Emily is trying to help get back into society than get ostracized. Earn a PHd, yet the only job you can hold is to sell coffee makes no sense.

        • United States of Oppression

          It is not just a million registered citizens and myself that are affected by the registry. It is also my sister, my brother, my parents, my girlfriend and last but not certainly least my girlfriend’s children. They all risk the chance of discrimination, being bullied or God forbid being assaulted. If you take that into consideration there are millions of people who are under the boot of these “civil” laws.

        • New Person

          @ United States of Operation,

          I whole-heartedly agree that it’s more than the million on the registry that are affected with the registry. Yet people like Marci will lead you to believe the million registrants aren’t worth the time. I wonder if she would like to tell that to the faces of all of the families she just intimated that their family member isn’t worth being around society as they will only create 150 more victims.

  7. JoeHillsGhost

    Completely missing from the call to “think of the children” was any consideration of the registry’s effect on the children of registrants.

  8. NYLevel1

    Hey Marci Hamilton! 17 children were killed two days ago by a non-registed sex offender never accused of sex crimes. So, how does your theory work? Have 17 children been killed this year by sex offenders or sex crimes being committed?

    Marci Hamilton, is this how your platform is ‘protecting’ children?’ Marci Hamilton, if you really, really care about children you are not doing a good job. 17 were just killed.

    • The Unforgiven

      BUT…at least “one” was saved from registry laws, so there’s that.

      • NYLevel1

        Slaughtering children with guns is not a sex-crime
        Showing your genitals is a sex-crime

  9. Marty Vestal

    The registry is unjust! Thousands of non violent, no contact, first offenders are on this horrendous list, adding years to their time already served inside, away from their families. Children are unjustly hurt and victimized by the loss of a beloved parent in their activities!!!!!!!! America is still in the dark ages when it comes to the criminal “justice” system! We have mass incarceration, laws giving prosecutors too much power, and judges too little or even none! People with mental illnesses suffering behind bars at the hands of a cruel nd inhumane system! Where and when does it end?? Despicable! And I have young grandchildren!

  10. CR

    “Thousands of non violent, no contact, first offenders are on this horrendous list, adding years to their time already served inside, away from their families.”

    The registry is unjust for every person who is on it, not just for the ones you mentioned. It hurts all of them and their children and families, not just the children and families of the ones you singled out.

    What all registrants have in common is that they were all sentenced to a punishment for their crimes, and most are required to register for years or for life, even after they’ve served their sentence.

    The registry does not serve public safety. It only serves to shame, ostracize, and even outright banish registrants, subjecting them to onerous reporting requirements and an ever-growing number of restrictions, an incomprehensibly vast array of complex laws that vary from one state to the next, and from one municipality to the next. It keeps many registrants from finding housing and work, or relegates them to work that is far below their abilities. And it puts the registrant and his/her family at risk of vigilantism.

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