The Juvenile Law Center released today a comprehensive report focused upon individuals who are currently required to register due to their conviction for a sex offense that was committed when they were children. According to that report, there are more than 200,000 such individuals including people who were convicted when they were only 8 years old.
The report points out that children on sex offender registries are four times more likely to report a recent suicide attempt as compared to their peers. The same children face residency restrictions, which can result in the children being prohibited from living with their parents and/or siblings.
Also according to the report, registration is more likely to impact the nation’s “marginalized youth,” including youth of color, low-income youth and LGBTQ youth. This is a significant issue in California where 76 percent of registered youth are youth of color as compared to only 24 percent of white youth.
The report includes maps of the nation as well as charts and lists that demonstrate issues facing youths on the registry in different states. For example, a national map shows that 42 out of 50 states require youths to register. A bar chart shows that there are only 8 states that end registration when the youth reach a designated age (Kansas, New Hampshire, North Carolina, Idaho, Maryland, Missouri, and Arizona). And a list portrays that there are a total of 6 states that require youths to register for life with no opportunity for modification (Florida, Montana, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Virginia and Wyoming).
According to the report, there are 23 states that charge youthful offender initial registration fees of $10 to $250 and 8 states that charge youthful offenders annual fees up to $250 although some annual fees can be waived if the person is unable to pay. In addition, the report includes a list of 9 states that impose employment restrictions on youthful offenders (Alabama, Idaho, Iowa, Louisiana, Michigan, Mississippi, Montana, New Hampshire and Tennessee) while 10 states impose residency restrictions on youthful offenders (Iowa, Michigan, Minnesota, Montana, North Dakota, Ohio, Rhode Island, South Carolina, South Dakota and Tennessee).
The report concludes with a finding from “leading researchers” that youthful offenders are harmed due to registration. Based upon that finding, the report recommends that all youth registration be eradicated.
“Against this backdrop, the time is now to set a targeted policy reform agenda to roll back these harsh registration laws,” the report concludes.