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No Havens for Registered Persons: Why “Most ‘Sex Offenders’ Per Capita” is a Meaningless Statistic

[sosen.org – 7/1/19]

A Patch.com article entitled “Sex Offenders: How Illinois Ranks On Registry,” published June 27, 2019, proclaims that Illinois ranks 25th, smack dab in the middle of the list for most registered persons per capita. The article cited ASecureLife, a private website that reviews (and promotes) various security products. In turn, ASecureLife cited the stats from the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children.

The statistic has no real meaning, quite frankly. In 2011, Indiana, the state next to Illinois, endured the tragic murder of Aliahna Lemmon. The media focused on the trailer park where Lemmon resided because many registered persons resided in the same park; the media made it a point to dig up Aliahna’s grandfather’s sex offense. The person who eventually confessed to the murder was the babysitter with no prior sex offense arrest and was not on any sex offense registry. In June 2019, NY child Patrick Alford, Jr., went missing; the news media reported, “Convicted sex offenders living nearby were sought, but nothing panned out.”

While we like to turn our attention to people on the registry during these tragic cases, studies have shown that most sex crimes occur in the home by someone known to the victim, and rarely will that person have a prior criminal record. That is why “sex offender sweeps” and focusing on concentrations of registered persons in a certain area do not lead to any unique threat to children.

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  1. Bob

    Thank you for including this article. We all are going to need to know these arguments, not for the people we encounter on a daily basis, but for showing politicians this not useful for their constituents.

  2. Eric

    What this article confirms is that the sex offender registry is so bloated, that so many various offenses land people on the registry that the registry is not working as it was intended. The people suffering under its oppression the most are those who are following the rules, registering each year, allowing compliance checks, and bowing to the shame and humiliation of it. The many not following the rules seem to get away with it because there are just too many people on the registry for LEA to effectively mange it. They don’t seem to really know who is homeless, who is in violation, who has left the state. They only know who is complaint and following the rules so they focus on them and cause problems in their life, like when the sheriffs came to do a compliance check on me and I wasn’t home, I was at work, so they went to my apartment manger and asked her all kinds of questions. How shameful. I was doing exactly what I was supposed to be doing and got humiliated and exposed for it. This registry has to end.

    • samiam

      You report being shamed and having your life ruined. I’ll say the registry is working as intended.
      If it results in, if it ever resulted in increased public safety, then a registry would be required for all criminals. There is absolutely no reason not to.

      • Eric

        @samiam…That is some brilliant reasoning there. If shaming and humiliating approximately one million people, if rendering them homeless and unemployed should perhaps stop one perceived affront then it is well worth while, and we should extend it to all the masses for all short comings and failings of the rule of law. I like your thinking, perhaps public pillories and floggings would increase the affect of humiliation. I was naïve in thinking excessive punishment might lead to disillusionment and loss of civic pride, that stable living, employment, and a second chance could promote obedience. Thank you for helping me see the errors of my reasoning.

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