Source: Florida Action Committee
To: The High Commissioner for Human Rights, Office of the United Nations, Complaint Procedure Unit, CH-1211 Geneva 10, Switzerland
Petition to Declare Public Sex Offender Registration in the United States a Violation of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR)
The Florida Action Committee, Inc. (FAC) is a 2,500+ member non-profit public safety organization that advocates for the rights of all persons. Included in our membership are people forced to register as sexual offenders in the United States.
Today, approximately one-million people in the United States are forced to register as “sex offenders”. It is a debilitating label that elicits a very negative social reaction and causes extreme harm to the person wearing the label and anyone associated with them.
In Florida, all persons forced to register are required to do so for life, and all are broadcast on a State sanctioned, publicly accessible and Google indexed website along with their name, picture, address, and other identifying information. They remain on the public registry even if they move out of the state, move out of the country, or die. Two-thirds of the people on Florida’s sex offender registry do not even live in Florida communities!
The publicly broadcast label leads to stigmatization, separation from society, loss of employment, loss of housing and even exposure to violence at the hands of vigilantes. The stigmatization extends to the spouses, children, family, friends, employer and anyone that associates with the registrant. The isolation, shame, stress, fear of violence, loss of income and other psychological effects are experienced by the entire household.
It would be one thing if the registry was effective at reducing sexual offenses, but it is not. A meta-study analyzing more than 25 years of research found that the registry does not reduce sexual or non-sexual recidivism at all (Zgoba, K.M., Mitchell, M.M. The effectiveness of Sex Offender Registration and Notification: A meta-analysis of 25 years of findings. J Exp Criminol (2021). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11292-021-09480-z
The United Nations expressly prohibits cruel or degrading treatment or punishment. The prohibition can be found, among other places, in Article 5 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and Article 7 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.
The act of placing human beings on a public shaming list for life, when that list has been repeatedly proven through empirical research to be ineffective at reducing sexual offending, is grievously cruel and degrading.
We respectfully request The High Commissioner of Human Rights to investigate this practice and take appropriate action.