Is the Tide Turning Against Public Sex Offense Registries?


On June 8, the American Law Institute, arguably the most prestigious non-governmental law reform organization in the country, concluded its national meeting.

One of its agenda items was to have its thousands of elected members—top federal appeals judges among them, who enjoy lifetime appointments after being confirmed by the United States Senate—vote on a draft of the revised chapter of the Model Penal Code for sex crimes. The Model Penal Code, first codified in 1962, helps guide legislation as well as interpretative decisions by courts.

ALI’s membership voted to approve the most recent draft, which included seismic proposed changes to state sex offense registries.

Perhaps most importantly, the approved draft states that these registries should be limited to law enforcement access for law enforcement purposes, as is the case in virtually every other country besides the US.

Currently, the identifies of people registered as having committed sex crimes can be searched on public online databases, along with a slew of other data including their home addresses. The rationale for this has been that it enables parents to make informed decisions about who their children can interact with. But it also means that exileextortion and vigilante violence are often perpetrated against people with such convictions, and even their family members.

Today, Supreme Court jurisprudence still holds that public registries of this kind are not “punishment,” though lower courts are growing more skeptical.

ALI’s proposed changes would match the recommendations of the academic literature, which shows that people convicted of sex offenses have low reoffense rates and that public registration hinders rehabilitation and reintegration into society. Studies show that beyond rehabilitation, public registration is already such a thoroughly soul-crushing punishment that it disincentivizes following the law for people subject to it. Nonetheless, politically speaking, this change to state registries would be an almost impossible endeavor.

Several traditional victims’ rights organizations and one major prosecutor organization, the National District Attorneys Association, previously pleaded with ALI membership to reject the draft of the revised chapter. The NDAA represents elected top local prosecutors nationwide. On June 4, these groups sent a letter questioning sentencing ranges for certain crimes, which crimes qualify a person for the registry, and other items.

Influential groups on both sides of the debate have shifted.

What is actually surprising is what they left out.

The letter states that the suggestion that the registry be restricted to law enforcement access is problematic because there is “no exception for organizations conducting background checks for employment or volunteer positions which involve interaction with or care of children.”

This is a reasonable point of debate. The United Kingdom, for example, allows these types of organizations to inquire about its national registry on a need-to-know basis.

But the letter makes no following argument that registries should be public for all purposes for anyone who wants to know. This omission is essentially a tacit concession that there is no legitimate public safety argument to be made in favor of a public registry—that any marginal gains of parents being able to search online registries are outweighed by the well-documented harms of such public exposure.

So while the international outlier status of the US on this issue isn’t about to end, influential groups on both sides of the debate have shifted in that direction.

We should remember that some people are placed on sex offender registries for relatively innocuous reasons, such as close-in-age sexual relationships or public urination. Others have committed egregious crimes. Regardless, there is, as you’d expect, little public sympathy for anyone on the register.

That does not make it acceptable to treat people, even those who have done terrible things, as less than human. There has to be a way back into society, and the chance of a rebuilt life, for people who have been convicted or incarcerated.

Reasonable public protection measures, as we see elsewhere in the world, are warranted. But it is not justifiable that our official government policy is to put these people on a hit list for permanent shaming, ostracization and vigilante targeting. Nor should their loved ones be dismissed as collateral damage, like they are today.


Final Draft of Key Portions of The Model Penal Code

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I have lost relationships, jobs, friends, been extorted, blackmailed,..all due to the registry. For a crime I paid for with time in jail. And yet, almost 30 years later, I still have to face all these penalties: I am one mistake away from hard time if I forget to register, I can’t travel to many countries, can’t offer my spouse citizenship if she marries me, etc etc etc. But hey, the registry is not punitive, right?

I have a problem with what the gent is saying about the registry information, which is already public with a little research, not being able to be used for background checks or for all positions where minors are involved should it go to LE readable only. In my experience, those positions get fingerprints done which is part of the background investigation for the position. That is used to search the national database for any issue which would return any information required to determine suitability for filling the position. With this being known, I am not sure what value a visable registry is to anyone where it concerns employer/volunteer determinations.

Are attitudes shifting? Yes, I believe so because those with open minds in the legal and scientific worlds, with no political bent, are seeing realities of what society is doing regardless of legislative intent, which is to punish further with a sky is falling mentality.

Oh, it is definitely changing. We have groups like ACSOL and others, NARSOL has a Youtube page that has a lot of positive comments and sympathetic viewers, and we have had many court victories such as the tiered registry after 70 years of lifetime for all, and residency restrictions have been done away with in many areas. But we have very long way to go.

These intellectuals are still not recognizing the indentured servitude inextricably and inherently altering the relationship between man and machine. A free man is paid wages to maintain machines. Do not be confused by the fact the registrants never actually touch a keyboard, as the registrants still provide the commodity (personal information data).
The agents via standardized form merely take said commodity to market.
Plantations had hired men too, ya know.
Isn’t the job description of a bench judge “mainly administrative?”
If this is the case; Why pay a judge a wage at all!!!!!!!!!!!
BION juries get a laugh about that.

We must recognize indentured servitude is appropriate under the 13th amendment but only as punishment. Nobody bothers to acknowledge the reconstitution of slavery, albeit “mainly administrative” nevertheless

I just hope that after all is said and done- and it becomes for law enforcement eyes only- that prosecutors don’t target people who commit Sex offenses by referring them to civil commitment. That is the next elephant in the room. If they can’t get people on we way, they will get them with longer sentences and civil commitment.

They are responsible for these “public safety” shenanigans that do nothing but hurt people. ACAB! BLM! ALM! We all need to unit and hold the corrupt crooks in “government” accountable.

They are not doing their job and they are trampling on our constitutional rights.

The masses need to open their eyes and see what everyone is being fed by crooked politicians and the mainstream media.

[MODERATORS NOTE: Converted to normal upper and lowercase. Please DO NOT USE ALL CAPS BECAUSE IT IS LIKE YELLING. Also, those who use phony email addresses like ANONYMOUS@anonymous.COM will have their comments removed]

None of this would of happened if people who had a loved one didn’t run to the legislature to enact laws based on rare crimes. If the Supreme Court didn’t use false information from Psychology Today blasting frightening and high across the country. Maybe just maybe people could of moved on like before the birth of the Hit List known as the Registry. Elected officials are the true threats to our country yet let the lies continue for them to get re-elected. They lived on the sword they can die on it.

The easy answer to the question posed is, “yes.” It may seem slow and incremental but there have been many more gains than losses the last few years. As well, a few legislatures have started looking at easing things a bit, with CA being the biggie of course.

I think the ALI position is important and helpful because it is a statement from the judges’ peers and coworkers saying, “these registry laws are useless and harmful.” If that starts becoming the mindset of the judiciary, it won’t matter what the “lie-geslatures” do. If the law is contrary to public safety, which is ALI’s position, the government will have a tougher time in court. Clearly, the legal community is waking up to the truth and facts.

Patience, brothers and sisters, patience. Tides are turning.