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ACSOL’s Online EPIC Conference: Empowered People Inspiring Change Sept 17-18, 2021

General News

The Inequity of Sex Offender Registries

There are more than 900,000 people on the sex offenders registry and growing, but studies show that the sex offender registries do not reduce recidivism and prevent sex crimes and laws restricting where offenders can find housing and employment make it almost impossible for many on the registry to reintegrate into society, ostracizing them and essentially creating a life sentence for those who have already paid for their crimes and in some cases, first time offenders.

Guy Hamilton-Smith, a legal fellow for the Sex Offense Litigation and Policy Resource Center at the Mitchell Hamline School of Law, joined The Takeaway to talk about sex offender registries. Listen to the Full Interview

Note: Guy Hamilton-Smith was a Speaker at the 2019 ACSOL Conference

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Interesting that even in an evenhanded interview like this one on NPR, the host when talking about someone she knows being victimized and desiring retribution so clearly just assumes the registry is part of someone’s punishment. The nuance of collateral consequences, while WE talk about it a lot, is entirely lost in this conversation because it’s completely non-intuitive. Even with well educated journalists.

Kudos to Guy. Thanks for being a good spokesperson.

E, You sir hitt the mail in the head. The ” nuance ” of distinguishing a collateral consequence from direct consequence is the grey legal area non lawyers can’t figure. The NACDL has made issue of it on many occasions, but common folks could care less, especially for sex offenders. As a fellow citizen you need to understand you are living in indentured servitude to a God damn government database. Plain and simple. I’m in the same boat. Most cannot even wrap their heads around that one, to include anti registry advocates. Free men in a free society are paid… Read more »

Sir, I love your passion but I have to say that I have a hard time following your posts often. Maybe you could spell things out with a little more detail? Help us dummies? Talk to us like we don’t know what you are talking about.

@Tim in WI:
I’m with @Will Allen on this one. The handful of times I try to read your posts, my eyes glaze over. I smell a whiff of a good message in there, I’m just not inclined to parse the peculiar syntax and capitalization to figure it out.

Will Allen, AJ, most folks have a hard time understanding the true nature of a database. It is a machine programmed by humans There are many many iterations of this particular machine. Without a database no computers could be PERIOD. FIRST stop referring to it as a “registry!” Sex offender registry = sex offender database. By calling it “a registry” you distort truth. It is a machine and we are all indentured to them ( SOR) databases. We don’t just have our photos and personal data STORED on them, we are compelled by Law to maintain the data compiled… Read more »

@Tim in WI: I don’t have time right now to really parse and think about this comment. But I’ll try to say some sensible things about it. I understand 150% what a database is. I don’t get your obsession with it. Computers do not need databases. They can function just fine without them and do tons of useful things. A computerized database is nothing more than a better way to store data (philosophical discussions aside). Before computers, the law enforcement criminals surely Registered people by just writing the information on paper and storing it. Now they just write it into… Read more »

@Tim in WI You wrote: *** FIRST stop referring to it as a “registry!” Sex offender registry = sex offender database. By calling it “a registry” you distort truth. *** In today’s atmosphere, we can classify this scheme as “doxing”. Doxing in California is considered a form of cyberstalking. Cyberstalking is a subset of stalking. California Penal Code 646.9 is an anti-stalking law. The registry harasses people convicted of a sex crime under penalty of law to update their own personal information to be “doxed” for any person to treat the convicted (or non-convicted for those who cases are dismissed)… Read more »

@Tim in WI: I would write a whole bunch in retort, but I’d mostly be parroting what @Will Allen said. I will say that the claim, “most folks have a hard time understanding the true nature of a database,” is baseless and without data to support it. Even if it were so, I’m not most people and I understand databases quite well, tyvm. (Ahh, the good old days of dBASE.) That said, let’s look at a couple definitions: —>Database: a usually large collection of data organized especially for rapid search and retrieval (as by a computer) ( Note that nowhere… Read more »

Who takes the worst of their flock and advertises it to the rest of the world? Good for short term political gain but bad for the bottom line. This no rancher or farmer in their right mind would do so. A destructive moronic public policy plain and simple.

We’ll never be in the clear or have true peace thanks to the rabble-rousing lawmakers who believe they’re appeasing the “will of the people.” We’re a product and unwarranted fear is the commodity they’re exploiting. Until that cycle is thwarted, I don’t see an off ramp – besides death.


I t is not the database itself. It is their USE & misuses by government actors ( and private firms)I point to. I know everyone is infatuated with bells and whistles. Love makes you blind. SOR is unconstitutional precisely by rendering human subservient ( just a bit) to machine. That is were it starts ( subservience to some) but the notion will grow and expand. One may not dispute a state’s sovereign right to maintain a database of convicted bad actors. One may however confront the accuracy, efficacy and intent underlying it’s promulgation. Affirmative disability and restraint IS AND… Read more »

CR, Registry – an official record – fine. This ” registry” is not just an official record. It goes way beyond! 1) Voter registry – so you may vote ( or not) 2) SOR databases – so registrants may not. Period! Huge difference between promoting liberty and working anti liberty. states could have opted to build individual pages of offenders ( as the SOR does now) But demanded registrants interface and update their pages themselves ( like FB does by individuals volition) instead of hiring SOR agents to do so. However IF that option had been selected the registrant would… Read more »

AJ, CR, New Person, Will Allen. Who collects data points without intend to use it for presentation of some side-by-side else why bother collecting in the first place. Some states refer to it properly. State X’s database of child molesters and kidnappers. The sex offender registry term is a misnomer used to distort underlying intent and appear less big brotherish. It is far more than a list, log, or merely an official list. It goes way beyond that, far beyond in that registrants are indentured to the upkeep of other information ( not conviction). To have a list of official… Read more »

@ Tim in WI, Mike R tried to use the involuntary servitude aspect, but the GA sidestepped it by refuting it with legal involuntary servitude with jury duty and military service. Yet I don’t think it was presented correctly as the registry is only applied after conviction and only to one set of criminals. Jury duty and military service are applied to all citizens, but the registry is not. Road work is applied to those under custody, but the registry is applied to those that are no longer under custody. Compound that with direct verbiage of Involuntary servitude is prohibited,… Read more »

@New Person…I like ur thinking..Please keep posting as I will keep reading..

I agree he has good ideas to confront the issue. But to conflate registering for the draft: a one time registration the permits you to serve your nation’s defense works liberty – so that you may be a soldier.
Registering to vote – so that you may vote.
SORNA purpose and intent is a database to impose affirmative restraint. So you may not attack, or to go chuch, or live in a neighborhood, keep employment, use Fb, have surveillance cameras that capture minors in anyway etc, etc.

Would love your thoughts, please comment.x