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National

PA: Five Cases Could Significantly Reform Pennsylvania’s Sex Offense Registry. The State’s Attorney General Is Pushing Back

[theappeal.org – 1/7/20]

Josh Shapiro has warned that changing the state’s sex offense registry requirements threatens public safety. But experts say his fears are unfounded and the registry provides little to no public safety benefit.

The Pennsylvania Supreme Court is expected to rule on five cases this year that could change how the state treats people convicted of sex offenses, and could ease the state’s sex offense registry restrictions, commonly referred to as Megan’s Law.

But in a December opinion piece, state Attorney General Josh Shapiro warned that if the court were to “dismantle” the state’s sex offense registry it would “put the public at risk,” and Pennsylvania could become a “safe haven” for people convicted of a sexual offense.

“A loss [for the state] in even one of [the cases] would be a loss for children’s safety across our state,” he wrote in the Morning Call, an Allentown newspaper.

Shapiro’s assertions that the state and its residents would be in danger if the registry goes away is not born out in fact, said Kelly Socia, a professor of criminology at the University of Massachusetts at Lowell.

“The research that we have shows that there is very little evidence registries help to reduce sex crimes,” Socia told The Appeal. “It’s not just that they aren’t preventing sex crimes but they are not reducing sex crimes at all.”

“I don’t think the public should be concerned if the registry goes away,” he said.

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  1. David

    “Obviously, the sex offender registry is a public safety resource” that is “a crucial part of protecting the public” says Pennsylvania’s AG Shapiro. So if such resources are really so important, why hasn’t AG Shapiro, pushed for the creation of a DUI Registry? Or a Domestic Violence Registry? Or a Drug-Dealer Registry? With all those crimes having much higher recidivism rates, such registries would obviously be important as “public safety resources.” He should be honest and say that the State’s S.O. Registry is merely a “perceived” public safety resources which actually harms the public by providing a false sense of security and distracting parents from very real risks.

    • Will Allen

      Obviously, $EX Offender Registries aren’t needed or significantly beneficial at all. It is obvious. It is trivial to prove.

      The list of ways that the Registries harm the public is very, very long. Most people can’t think darkly enough to even acknowledge it. Meh.

      Only corrupt, criminal regimes have $EX Offender Registries.

  2. Tim in WI

    The Wetterling Act came before Megan’s law. The Wetterling Act established the registry and was the first time in human history free men were the indentured to database machine maintenance by law. Can a database predict the future? No, at least not accurately. The presumption that it could was always flimsy at best.

    • Will Allen

      Hey, could you help me understand your obsession with this better, lol? I’m just curious.

      Is your issue with the “database machine” because it is now on computers? Or would you have the same issue if it was all just recorded on paper? Because surely this is not the first time that a government kept a database of “bad guys”.

      Also, unless the Registry Nazis are really, really stupid, they should never be saying that Registries “predict the future”. All the Nazis should ever say is that Registries list people who have been convicted of something. That’s it. Unless they are really dumb.

      Only corrupt, criminal regimes have $EX Offender Registries.

    • New Person

      I just want Dr Ira and Tara Ellman’s research work to be recognized and codified in law. That way it puts onto display the audacity of the SCOTUS for perpetuating scare tactics and the infringement of liberty among those who have already paid the debts to society.

      I recently read that the Obamacare mandate to pay in if you chose to opt was then considered a tax, but now is unconstitutional – because you can’t force someone not to buy a product. It was Chief Justice Roberts who did the mental gymnastics of calling it a tax. If that can be overturned, then surely we can re-visit this carelessness of Smith v Doe with today’s context and technology.

  3. M C

    I work at a business where we have on average about two break-ins a year and sometimes we have caught them and sometimes we have not. Every time, they have been a meth addict. They never get much of a punishment and I almost always find them re-arrested for doing the same damn thing days after law enforcement cuts them loose. 5, 6, 7, 8+ offenses for the same thing and they aren’t on any registry. If they have that many convictions where they were caught, just imagine how many they haven’t gotten caught doing? Why isn’t there a registry for these people? These are the people where a registry would probably actually work to help catch them doing the same thing again and again. Instead, they get the slap on the wrist because they need drug abuse ‘help’ that they don’t really even want so they send them off to drug programs to get clean instead of to prison. Two months after starting treatment, they are back stealing stuff for more meth.

  4. Harry

    The major impact with the registry going away Mr. Josh Shapiro, is there will either be a lot cops out of work or cops have put on their bullet proof vest and go out beat streets for real crooks.

  5. mike r

    Hopefully rational minds will prevail. I am glad the justification and facts are finally being presented somewhere and it appears are forcing a court to finally address the elephant that has been in the courtroom for years now..

    • James

      Wow. The AG has enough nerve to say sex offenders are dangerous. Can I say hes a f*ucking idiot. He needs reelected to fill his pockets with Federal Money. Sex Offenders are easy targets, basically a HATE CRIME AGAINST ONE INDIVIDUAL GROUP OF PEOPLE. The AG was the one that arrested me in a sting operation and they made up a fictitious person and then they say on criminal complaint that it’s a real person. How corrupt can you get in this Commonwealth. Basically when they do these sting operations the falsify criminal documents to put people in jail and ruin people’s life. We need to start a movement.

      • Will Allen

        Yeah, I agree with the AG. Sex offenders are dangerous and they belong in prison.

        But People Forced to Register, especially ones who have never been in prison for even a single day, are not any more dangerous than any average person on the street. Except for the increased crime and dangerousness caused completely and solely by the Registries.

        Complete difference.

  6. kat

    There’s plenty of scholarly proof that the registry doesn’t make the public safer.
    T
    AG Shapiro should “put up or shut up”. If he’s got some proof to the contrary, something that the rest of us don’t know about, by all means, put it out there. let us read it. If not , he should just shut up already.

  7. TnT

    Agree .. 100 percent …. these registries do not protect or prevent anyone from crime , it only makes our neighborhoods more unstable , Many families suffer in America from these registries , In America once you serve your time for a crime you should never have to pay or your familes pay a price for life , It is unconstitutional and should never be seen as nothing less , The registries create crime ! In all ways and aspects , Who ever doesn’t see this, is Ignorant . I am not from this state but will keep a eye on whats going on and hope the courts fix these unjust laws & registries . That disables who ever is on them with no way off in most cases & retroactively put on them with no due prosses , these politicians get away with applying to thousands of Americans in most times with little to nothing to support the convictions they keep applying to our citizens in most cases retro actively ….years after a conviction has been served . So unjust to continue to apply punishment’s after a person has served there time for what ever conviction it maybe . There are many young people on these registries who will suffer for life because of these registries .
    Good Luck Pennsylvania !

  8. Tim in WI

    Will,
    There is a distinction, a stark necessary distinction to be made between good gov. having a database of known convicts and the plain human indenture to the machines upkeep. One in its necessary existence requires zero input from defendants after conviction, while the plain indenture commands input even when directly imposing unconstitutional affirmative restraint on foundational liberty. The first packs zero jurisdictional punch while the second swallows jurisdiction and sovereignty whole. All fifty bought in, all 50 pay the cost in loss of self governing.

  9. David

    ❓❓ I’m trying to search for any news of the court’s decision. Can anyone provide me with one of the names on any of the cases that might allow my Google news search to be more effective? For example, “Josh Shapiro, plaintiff v. Commonwealth of Pennsylvania”, etc? So I could simply Google “Josh Shapiro”?

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