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National

Kat’s Blog: The Registry: A Valuable Public Safety Tool?

If you have a few minutes, read Florida’s Sex Offender Registration and Monitoring Triennial Review 2018 (www.oppaga.state.fl.us). Even if you don’t live in Florida, it’s an interesting slog thru what governmental bureaucracy thinks is important when it comes to the registry.

The highlight of this auditing monstrosity is the attached letter at the end of the report from Fl. Dept. of Law and Enforcement to the coordinator of the Office of Program Policy Analysis & Governmental Accountability, stating “the registry is a valuable public safety tool”.

I read the report in its entirety. I didn’t find any evidence of a valuable public safety tool.

What I did find was much to the contrary.

Here is an audit that divides folks into categories with labels, either you’re a “sexual offender” or a “sexual predator”. In an age where we are all about political correctness, those labels don’t make registrants feel any safer. We are “the public”, aren’t they concerned for our public safety?

The audit notes that there are more than 73,000 “sex offenders” and “predators” in Fl. but that the majority “don’t live among the public in Fl.” Instead, the audit notes, many live in other states or have gone back to prison. First of all, registrants take umbrage with leper-like statements such as “don’t live among the public.” Certainly, some registrants have been forced into homelessness or living on the fringes of society because they are on the registry, but there are just as many that have reintegrated back into society and are doing a damn fine job of living. And “gone back to prison” is a scare tactic used to encourage the public to believe that a registrant has repeated a “sex offense” when in fact they may be back in prison on a non-related probation violation or some other ridiculous technicality.

No, this isn’t sounding like a public safety tool at all.

Online maps, banishment laws, timelines, demographics and registrants fees are included in the audit. Map legend icons designate locations where registrants live as blue roofed houses for “sex offenders” and red roofed houses for “sexual predators”. And, believe it or not, there are teeny tiny tents for transients. Where’s the public safety tool for registrants that have to live in tents, for those who can’t find housing because of all the registry rules, regulations and boundaries?

One sentence of the report did contradict the audit’s findings. According to the U.S. Department of Justice’s Sex Offender Sentencing, Monitoring, Apprehending, Registering & Tracking Office (SMART), “research shows residency restrictions don’t decrease and are not a deterrent for sexual recidivism” and other research also indicates “no significant decreases in sex crimes following implementation of residency restrictions.” OK, we’ll allow that governmental dept. to keep the SMART moniker.

Registrants and their families are “the public”. A public registry that puts registrants, their spouses and their children in danger every day, is not and never will be a “valuable public safety tool.”

 

Join the discussion

  1. Will Allen

    Anyone who thinks the Registries are a “valuable public safety tool” is clueless.

    I do think it SEEMS like the Registries would be useful. But that is just really, really shallow thinking. A simple illustration of that is say that you have one neighbor who is Registered and one who is not. Who has committed more $EX crimes? And forget that, who has committed more dangerous crimes, period? Who is more dangerous?

    You don’t have the first clue. I’m sure people think they do but we have limitless evidence from actual reality that they don’t. So, should you treat either neighbor differently? Be more or less guarded of one neighbor instead of the other? Not if you’re smart.

    But what Registry Terrorists/Harassers think is that they will just not talk to the “predator” and they’ve improved their safety. Obvious nonsense. Or they will just keep the “predators” out of their schools and then safety has been improved. Stupid.

    If the Registries were only worthless, they would probably be okay. But of course they are much, much worse than worthless. They have demonstrably been the DIRECT cause of innocent children being murdered. Those children are dead because of the Registries. Is that valuable public safety? Not sure how. I guess the terrorists would say that it is because if the Registries did not exist then some multiple of those children would be dead. But that’s more nonsense of course.

    It’s a problem when big government tells people that I’m an “offender” or whatever other names they want to call me. And then they don’t provide me with dossiers of my neighbors so I know what names to call them. That’s unacceptable. Anyone who supports that or the Registries is not a fellow American of mine. They are not people for whom I need have concern. They are enemy combatants in war. They must be treated like any other terrorists who cannot mind their own business or leave other families alone.

  2. Eric

    Beautiful rebuttal, and thank you for pointing out the conclusion that, “No significant decrease in sex offenses has occurred since the implementation of the registry restrictions.” That sums it up.

    • Will Allen

      Unfortunately, it says “residency restrictions”, not “registry restrictions”. I expect the NOT-SMART office, and all other big government people banking $$$ from it, fantasize that the Registries work great.

  3. Timothy D A Lawver

    A file on a database alone can only serve to inform the viewers imagination about what the perp may have done. The individual pages are an incomplete one sided reference. My doc page makes no mention that a jury trial was demanded, nor that DNA or other biological evidence was missing because someone else testified she cleaned the area. It one reference in SMITHVDOE03, is worthy consider WI v Constanteneau. But the advantages of the databases outweighs need for liberty.

  4. KH

    The main purpose of this registry is supposedly to help monitor their whereabouts. But because of this registry, no one will rent to an S.O. making the registry pointless. Some of the people on this registry unintentionally or unknowingly committed a crime. Not all of them are predators or violent or pedophiles. This registry allows an S.O to be bullied and repeatedly punished. They have already been judged and sentenced and are trying to live a good life. I am a firm believer that the sex offender laws in this country need to be seriously re-evaluated. Especially with the more recent crimes that are going unpunished because “we don’t want to ruin their lives”. Those recent offenders should be punished and some of the others that are or have been probably shouldn’t have been. As a female, I would much rather know about where the violent and repeat offenders of ANY crimes are located and not just every person who urinated in public or committed a crime unknowingly. I hope I see the day where someone figures out that this is just plain wrong and finds a way to change this.

    • Will Allen

      Yep. I really believe that today the main point of the Registries is to intentionally create an underclass of people whom everyone can marginalize. People living in the U.S. are big fans of trying to show that they are “better” than someone, anyone else. I really, really believe that is a key motivation in life for most people living in the U.S. They feel little and they just have to find a way to feel better about themselves. They also don’t want to have to work hard and compete against other people. So they are happy to take anyone out of the competition pool that they can, by any means necessary. They aren’t the best of people.

      One point of contention with you though – a person listed on the Registries is not an “S.O.”. I’ve seen people call them “Registered Person”. Personally, I like “Person Registered for Harassment, Restrictions, and Punishment (PRHRP)”. Very accurate.

  5. Dustin

    Can anyone point to one single instance where the registry has prevented or had a role in solving any crime whatsoever? I regularly Google the term “sex offender arrested” and 98% of the hits are only for registry or parole/probation violations. Of the ones that aren’t, the status of the person as a registrant is never known until after arrest. Now and again, I’ll see where a registrant gets hit for CP possession, but always because of those entrapment stings, and often the registrant was specifically targetted either by LE or vigilantes.

    Despite what they say in public, any LE officer will tell you in private that it’s worthless. There’s nothing in it not available in NCIC or state counterparts, or easily found through minimal diligence of routine investigation. At most, it gives LE a list of people to harass if looking for an unknown perp and to date, has never resulted in arrest as far as I can tell. Even if there are exceptions, that’s what, one or two cases out of how many MILLION? And can it be said that those exceptions would have been unsolvable but for the registry? I seriously doubt it.

    Some clown in Australia is pushing for an American-style registry out there. Interesting are the comments on this article, particularly Middle-aged Mama (absolutely spot-on):

    https://www.smh.com.au/national/why-australia-should-not-have-a-public-register-of-child-sex-offenders-20190109-p50qcy.html

    Bottom line, the registry is absolutely useless for “public safety.” Amending, tiering, anything done to it to try to make it anything but is like an exercise program to strengthen your appendix – a lot of effort for an organ with no function. The smartest thing to do is just get rid of it altogether so no damage is done if it gets inflamed.

    • Will Allen

      Amen to everything you said, especially the 2nd paragraph. Personally, I don’t ever allow law enforcement to speak to me so in my case the Registries are actually hindering any investigations, $EX crime or not. If I “see something”, I’m not going to say anything. Not ever. So good job there. (As an aside, all people should turn off AMBER alerts on any phones or other devices you have. Those people don’t want help from a “$EX offender” after all. Don’t worry about car crashes, burning homes, or whatever either. No one wants you or your help.)

      I hope people know that I oppose the Registries waaaaaaay more than about anyone. But I do see why the Registries SHOULD be useful. If someone living next door to you has committed a crime, why wouldn’t you want to know? Surely it would not decrease your safety to know!! And that’s all fine and good except that obviously it doesn’t really help to know. So you don’t need to. Then add on top of that all of the damage that the Registries do to all of society and it truly is a bunch of idiocy. I really don’t think that smart, informed people support the Registries. It is obvious that idiots do, but what about smart people? I really wonder.

      • Dustin

        Amber alerts are another waste of effort and money. Oddly enough, the registry is the first thing consulted when one is issued and it has never panned out.

        Personally, I could care less about anyone’s past and/or what they were convicted for. In general, I think those that have done time don’t want to do any more. Yes, there are those that are mentally ill and those that are just plain stupid or jerks; they’re pretty few and far between and easy enough to identify.

        Former 8th Circuit Chief Judge Donald Lay hit the nail on the head in his dissent in Morrisey v. Brewer (1971):

        “The denial of due process in parole revocation simply mirrors society’s overall attitude of degradation and defilement of a convicted felon. It is sad 20th Century Commentary that society views the convicted felon as a social outcast. He has done wrong, so we rationalize and condone punishment in various forms. We express a desire for rehabilitation of the individual, while simultaneously we do everything to prevent it. Society cares little for the conditions which a prisoner must suffer while in prison; it cares even less for his future when he is released from prison. He is a marked man. We tell him to return to the norm of behavior, yet we brand him as virtually unemployable; he is required to live with his normal activities severely restricted and we react with sickened wonder and disgust when he returns to a life of crime.”

        He was just talking about convictions in general. I wonder what he’d say now about the registry and all associated with it.

        • Will Allen

          I’ve heard that AMBER alerts haven’t worked. Those types of alerts seem like a good idea to me but I haven’t looked into it. I do ignore them though and I think all Registered People should.

          Does LE really waste time questioning people who are listed on their glorious Registries? I have read articles from time to time that have mentioned that. But I’ve been listed for a couple of decades and they’ve never tried to question me about any crime. I wish they would because I’d love to waste their time and keep them from solving actual crimes. That would be perfect. Only problem is that I wouldn’t talk to them so how much time could I waste? Not enough.

          I don’t dig into people’s pasts either. And oddly enough, Nanny Big Government (NBG) only tells me about a person’s past if there was a $EX issue. Nothing else is relevant apparently. Personally, I don’t care if NBG is not aware of a person’s past transgressions. I’m going to assume that a person has or could do anything. Works very well.

          The Registries are for harassment and ostracizing. That is all. F all people who support them. Make them pay every day.

    • Notorious D.I.K. / Kennerly

      Anecdotally, one runs across claims that a mother who was suspicious of a guy down the block had her suspicions confirmed by checking the registry with ostensible horrors thus averted. Even if there were cases of its utility in fulfilling its stated goal these instances must be weighed against the demonstrated damage done to registrants and their families, roommates, friends, etc. not to mention the questionable constitutionality of putting people on a hit list after they have paid off whatever debts they are said to have owed to society.

      • Will Allen

        Even those cases are stupid. Do these mothers only care about $EX crimes like everyone else? If not, then they probably will end up wanting to do a background check at some point, in some way. Again, unless they are okay with people who have only “accidentally” killed children in the past or whatever. Perhaps they like raging alcoholics who have gotten drunk in the past, driven their girlfriend’s children to school, and “accidentally” murdered one on the way in a car crash?

        Further, most of the people who are listed on the Registries are good people who will be good people for the rest of their lives and never do anything illegal. Compare that with a person who has committed many crimes and never been caught. Plenty of them. Or someone who will commit crimes in the future.

        The whole idea that you can tag someone and then need to avoid them for the rest of their lives is just beyond stupid. It is something that only truly stupid, vapid people could think was necessary or normal. I meet people every day. What do I know about them? Nothing. Do I need big government to hand me a dossier on them just in case I might start to form a relationship with them only to discover a year from now that they are scumbags? I don’t need that and big government couldn’t do it even if they tried.

        Stupid. And as you said, the Registries are not even close to worth the problems that they cause ALL of America. Not even close.

        • someone who cares

          Will ~ I totally agree. One will NEVER know if someone will commit a crime. That is why it is always so laughable to me that employers do background checks to avoid hiring someone who has a record. There are so many people who are first time offenders, and they will be hired because at the time of the hiring, they don’t have a record. That can change in an instant, and you ALWAYS take a risk. I honestly think the risk is lower if you hire someone with a record since they have been to jail or prison and most likely don’t want to go back. But, to each its own. Just like with “Sex Offenders”. The ones the public should fear are those who either have not been caught yet, or those who will become sex offenders and are not on any registry (like teachers, clergy men, monks, etc ). The ones on the registry, for the most part, would be foolish to repeat their offense. It is funny to see people trust teachers, clergy men etc because they believe they will NEVER commit a sex crime. Wake up America! Stop falling into this hype of fear mongering and trust your own judgement rather than what you are being fed by the media or politicians. Stop being Puppets!

        • Will Allen

          someone who cares (January 10, 2019):

          I can say for certain that your comments apply to me. Obviously there is always a time when a person was one of the “perfect” people and had not committed any crime. And afterward do people ever say anything other than, “We are totally shocked, we had no idea!!”? Perhaps 1% of the time.

          I was working for a large company when I was arrested and everyone thought I was just fine. People still do, no one can tell one way or another. Which is why the Registries are stupid. When I was raising my children, I never looked at the Registries and still don’t to this day. I don’t need Registries. I’m going to protect my children from everyone.

          And I completely believe that MOST people who have been arrested are less dangerous than people who have not been. I know that for a fact in my case. Before I had any consequences, I didn’t worry about it. I know I thought if I was arrested, it would be minor and I’d just deal with it and be fine. And compared to many people, it was minor (e.g. they offered a plea with no jail time). But the consequences were enough that I decided that I wasn’t going to accept them again. THAT is what keeps me from committing a crime. The Registries absolutely do not. In fact, the Registries really, really make me want to commit crimes and hurt people. Really. The Registries have definitely killed most empathy that I had for people. And made me only worry about my family and friends.

          I paid dearly for what I did. Today, I’m not accepting any more consequences. Big government and the harassers lost their moral high road with regard to that. They may think that they can harass me today without consequence but nothing will go by without a response. If they even suggest putting me in a cage, there will be retaliatory consequences. They’ve already lost this war and they need to retreat before they suffer more. But apparently they aren’t very smart.

      • Dustin

        If that mother were suspicious of somebody (presumably because of something he said or did), why consult the registry in the first place? It’s a rehash of the same old reasoning – 95+ percent of sex crime is committed by non-registrants, so why be so paranoid about them?

        And what if the suspicious person is a pyromaniac? Or a drug addict? Or a gang/mafia member? Or a human organ trafficker? Or in the Witness Protection Program? All of them would act suspiciously and would be a threat. There are no registries for them, last I saw.

        A new point I saw on the Australian papers recently – odds are registrants have done time and don’t want to go back to prison. That seems perfectly in line with the FACT that new sex crime is committed by non-registrants. While writers and supporters of idiotic SO laws/rules like to think it’s because of them, the truth is that was always the trend well before those laws/rules were written.

        Laws can only deter crime and deal with it after commission. Laws cannot prevent crime. If they could, crime would have been eradicated a long time ago and there’s be no such thing now. The only way to prevent all crime across the board is complete totalitarianism, and history is riddled with the failures of that approach. Arguably, our own government is using registrants to test totalitarianism on a smaller scale, and expanding it by making the public think it’s necessary.

        It’s pretty sad when people subordinate their own instincts, experience, knowledge, and opinions of someone they do know to a government classification of a person who has never met or spoken with the one who assigned a particular designation, probably according to the criteria set by legislators. Freedom of thought is on its way to becoming a thing of the past.

        • Will ALlen

          Regarding your last paragraph – I don’t think people are subordinating to a “government classification”. They are reading that a person they know raped a child (just to use the worst example, I guess). So I can certainly understand that might make a person really wonder what they know or think about the person.

          But, I find it funny that I’ve never personally used the Registries. I’m just not worried about it. I know that any of my neighbors might be a very dangerous criminal that Nanny Big Government (NBG) has no idea about. I wouldn’t mind knowing about any crimes (or bad thing in general) that any of my neighbors has done in the past. But, I don’t need to know. And NBG won’t tell me either. They will only tell be about $EX … and that is probably the least useful thing of all for me. So that alone is BS.

          But really, I don’t need to know. I protect my family from everyone. And if I find out that a person has done something bad in the past, I don’t judge them harshly. I usually look at them as more needing and deserving of a stable, good person and friend like me.

          Lastly, I have known plenty of people who were supposedly very good friends with me, have found out years later that I am listed on the Registries, and stopped associating with me. The reason that they stop associating with me has never had ANYTHING at all to do with safety. Anyone who would know the situations and disagree with that is an idiot. The reason that they stop associating with me is because it is not PC to do so. That is the key, and often only, reason.

          So I’ve seen first hand, many, many times that the true reason the Registries exist is so that people can harass families and ostracize them. That is the real and main effect of the Registries. Public safety, protecting children, etc. are lies.

  6. Bluewall

    Only way this possible can help anyone is if they put everyone on the Registry.. The entire population of the United States, DNA tested, and tagged. DNA collected at birth..

    • Will Allen

      I do support a law that would require everyone born in America to give a DNA sample (at birth) to the government. THAT would be extremely useful in so many ways. If we were ACTUALLY serious about reducing and solving crimes, instead of just harassing people, we’d definitely have that conversation. But we aren’t serious. Which is exactly why we have Registries.

      • Bob

        Have you read the immortal life of henrietta lacks. I hope we still own said DNA. Also, wouldn’t it be a privacy concern if say the insurance companies got that information and changed your coverage, or life insurance coverage becuase of gene issues?

      • Dustin

        @ Will Allen, re “Regarding your last paragraph …”

        No one is reading that a person “raped a child.” If anything, the statute only lists the statute(s) under which the person was convicted. The circumstances of a specific offense are unknown and the (numerous) blanks are the product of imagination and responded to accordingly, justified or not (more often not).

        How often does someone see a name on the registry then run down to the courthouse to pull up the case? Seldom enough to call it never, I’m sure. Maybe a Google search at most, but that presents two more problems: How many facts were buried or exaggerated to make a better story? And what if the story was archived or otherwise not available because the incident happened XX years ago? Both tow along the lines of why a tier system only makes an already useless registry more so.

        • Will Allen

          I hear you but the example was not really the point. And I do know that on some Registries you will read things like “rape of child under 13 years of age” or whatever. That can’t be that great no matter how lying big government is trying to twist it.

          But again, that was not the point. You said, “people subordinate their own instincts, experience, knowledge, and opinions of someone they do know to a government classification”. I don’t think most smart people do that. Most smart people realize that the person they know very, very likely did something illegal. Then if they care they can ask the person or check it out. I don’t think most smart people just blindly subordinate what they know to what some “government classification” is telling them. What they are subordinating to is the truth and reality of what likely did happen (e.g. you know a person and then you find out that he/she actually did molest a 5 year old).

          Those are the smart, loyal, decent people. Of course most people aren’t like that. I’ve known many, many people who are simply too weak to not be PC. They literally are too weak to handle it. So good to get away from them regardless.

        • Dustin

          @ Will:

          Disagree. Many intelligent people do exactly that, but intelligence is irrelevant. Yes, most reasonably intelligent people can distinguish who the real threats are on the registry on an individual basis, but those same people aren’t inclined to do so for registrants as a whole.

          The registry and SO laws based on it play to emotion, not logic. Many registrants have lost friends and family members not because of their circumstances but because of the pressure from others to disassociate. I remember reading about a woman in Arizona who was fired because her husband (who had never been to the place she worked or met anyone she worked with) was a registrant. She ended up suing the company that fired her. Don’t know if she won or not. Hope she did, but not optimistic because it’s Arizona.

          Take another look at the Dear Abby thing we raised hell about over at your site last month. Abby recommended taking the classification descriptions to the letter writer’s mother to convince the mother she was out of her mind for wanting to spend the holidays with her registrant relative. Reread the comments, all made with absolutely no knowledge whatsoever about the registrant or his offense beyond the tier assigned to him. Most disturbing (to me, anyway) are those who dismissed the mother as a senile old bat.

          I stick by my remarks. While most may be convinced that a particular registrant isn’t a threat to anybody, they’ll still defer to the wisdom of our all-knowing government’s classification and tiring system. [/sarc]

        • Will Allen

          Dustin:

          I think maybe I’m being confusing. And we are talking all around each other. So I won’t say much more.

          I do remember that Dear Abby nonsense quite well. That showed very well just what a bunch of awful dumbf*cks most people living in the U.S. are.

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