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NJ: Science and Law Evolve Together, Sex Offender Registry Case Reminds Us

This is how law and social science are meant to intersect. The case reminds us that, as our knowledge of human behavior evolves, our approach to legal issues will evolve as well. Full Article


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Here’s another link you can use that you don’t have to subscribe if you want to read the article:

This case is about juveniles and their protections. It is a huge win to override the idea that sex offenders cannot be rehabilitated. It was denied at a lower court as the defendant provided five experts in the field, reiterating low recidivism rates for juveniles. On appeal, the NJ Supreme court sided with the defendant, 15 years after his adjudication. The NJ SC was specific in its scope for the decision only pertaining to juveniles.

People do not stop growing or learning when they get older. People go to college after they’re 18. People go back to college long after their 20s. People go back for their masters or doctorates in their 30s. People learn on the job in order to pass certifications or thresholds to move up in the company or the world.

Why are adults being discriminated against? Can’t adults make mistakes and learn from them too?

What’s odd about this case is there exists a NJ Dept of Corrections study that spans 21-years on the NJ registry. 10-years prior to Megan’s Law and 10 years after the implementation of Megan’s Law. The report denoted there was no difference in recidivism rates and concluded the registry was useless.

Link to that study:

I don’t know how that science isn’t bandied about more often and utilized in courts. Apparently, science is being censored by the law, or the law purposely is using false science, namely the 2003 Smith v Doe decision.

Great study, and to my knowledge there is not a single study that proves to the contrary. We need to get this study into the hands of ‘Mike R.’ and others they are filing lawsuits, maybe even the Florida Action Committee and NARSOL.

I found this link because Mike R posted it. =)

When a study, conducted by government officials, states that Megan’s Law “had no demonstrated effect on sexual offenses,” you have to wonder just HOW something can have NO effect. Could it be that the registry *created* sex offenses, but the government-funded researchers had to sugarcoat its findings to cover all the bureaucrat’s asses?

Here is a quote from a law review article by Professor J.J. Prescott. Prescott has a law degree and Economics PhD from MIT. Prescott states:

“What is surprising is that, in the face of all of this criticism, virtually no reliable empirical evidence exists to support claims that [sex offender post release] laws are effective at reducing sex offender recidivism, notwithstanding decades of scholarly effort. Admittedly, it is very difficult to establish statistically that a legal or policy innovation has ‘no effect’ on a particular outcome. Even so, a scholarly consensus has emerged – something very rare indeed – that these laws fail on their own terms, despite decades of research in which the initial goal for some researchers must have been to quantify the extent of the benefits of these laws. Instead, many have now adopted the view that these laws may in fact increase recidivism by exacerbating the risk factors of individuals subject to these laws.”

Useless unless you consider the rulings in Doe were used to justify any use of a database by government.

If a government can indenture citizens to a database then it can do most anything with it. Including uses that have purely political advantages.

Great study, and to my knowledge there is not a single study that proves to the contrary. We need to get this study into the hands of ‘Mike R.’ and others they are filing lawsuits, maybe even the Florida Action Committee and NARSOL.

Would love your thoughts, please comment.x