NJ: New Lawsuit Challenges New Jersey’s Lifetime Child Abuse Registry

Source: reason.com 3/7/23

“Lifetime registries are wrong,” said the plaintiff’s attorney. “They’re wrong based on the science and they’re wrong based on the reality that risk is not static. It is dynamic.”

In New Jersey, individuals found to have committed any act of child abuse or neglect are placed on the state’s child abuse registry for life—creating a permanent stigma that bars them from a litany of professions. Even though the evidence in favor of such registries is sparse, they continue to be popular across the nation. However, one New Jersey man is challenging his state’s lifetime registry in court.

New Jersey, like almost all U.S. states, has a child abuse registry listing those whom the state’s child welfare agency or family courts have found to have committed child abuse or neglect. Those on the registry are barred from working in a wide range of fields, including some that do not involve work with children, like substance abuse programs, county mental health boards, or jail diversion programs. While the registry is not publicly accessible, a person’s registry status will show up in some background checks.

According to the lawsuit, which was filed last week, New Jersey’s child abuse registry doesn’t meaningfully protect children from child abusers. Instead, it simply turns those placed on the list into lifetime social pariahs, no matter how long ago their offense was or how law-abiding their lives have been since. Making matters worse, in New Jersey, once individuals are notified, they only have 20 days to challenge their placement on the registry. After this period, the complaint states, there is no process wherein they can appeal their placement or “obtain access to the information used by [child welfare services] in support of its substantiated finding that triggered placement on the Registry.”

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This is good. If they win, it can become a direct model for striking down SOR.

He still thinks the collateral was the primary emphasis.
The overbroad GOV USE of the database was the encompassing and foundational theme. The sex offender was the way in to infected use. Granting GOV unfettered use( application) also extended to the extreme PRIVATE party use. Which is more damaging or dangerous to liberty? The jury is in.