I also want to point out that, no matter the offense, the sex offender registry is ineffective at creating a safer society.
The registry has been in effect over two decades; many studies, both academic and governmental, have been done evaluating its effectiveness; it has failed miserably.
It does not predict who will commit new crimes as 95% of new sexual crime is committed by persons not on the registry.
It does not reduce re-offense; reoffense by those punished for an initial crime and then living in the community has held steady at, on average, 5% since long before the registry went into effect and is still at that percentage.
It does not reduce new offenses.
It does not protect children as virtually all sexual crime against children is committed by persons in their lives, their family members, peers, and authority figures, persons who are not on a registry.
Two of the most popular (with the public) restrictions it has produced, residency restrictions and Halloween restriction, have ZERO evidence, based on a plethora of studies, that they make an iota of difference or produce an iota of public safety.
If the registry fails to predict, fails to protect, fails to produce any increase in public safety, but instead goes against everything shown to increase public safety, interferes drastically in rehabilitation, and costs states many millions of dollars that could be spent instead on prevention programs that work and rehabilitation programs that work, WHY should the registry exist?
Some 95% of all sexual crimes are by people not on the registry. That has always been the case.
A legislature is not allowed to create fiction about individuals based upon their own conclusions of statistics. The fiction being that a registrant is always or inherently dangerous.
Every person is an individual and a person’s continued dangerousness can only be determined through evidence in a PUBLIC hearing.
A registry’s sole existence as a punishment cannot stand because its conception was formulated as a civil law applied outside of court and without hearing, challenge, or appeal even long after a sentence is completed.
The refusal to consider even a modicum of due process can render the whole process illegal.
In the article above, it described a kid who had a slightly younger girlfriend.
A state loses credible regulatory power by a lifetime requirement of a punitive registry as it becomes just a “cruel and unusual” punishment.
Does that make sense to you?
Nobody can be punished or evaluated solely against others who they have nothing to do with or have in common solely by some legislative arbitrary standards.
All current research (including the U. S. Department of Justice) shows that when taken collectively, those people who have committed a sex crime, been caught, and served time in prison, have a reoffense rate of committing a new sex crime in the single digits.
That means over 90% never reoffend (commit a new sex crime).
There are hundreds of thousands of registrants in this country who have a one-time-only sex offense and are working hard to reintegrate back into society as law-abiding citizens, in spite of the registry’s draconian statutes and ordinances that are stumbling blocks for them.
Society is far better off if people are successful in this reintegration process. Treating any type of released inmate as a leper by making housing almost impossible, not giving them a decent paying job, and withholding community/family support is a recipe for failure, forcing some into a life of crime.
This is NOT what we want.
Research shows the following: single-digit recidivism rate for a new sex crime, approximately 90% of FUTURE sex crimes will be by people NOT on the registry, and over 90% of victims KNOW their perpetrator.
Research has debunked the myths that have been out there for years. People who make their decisions based on evidence-based facts know all of this. Unfortunately, the media only shows the reoffenders as they bring in higher ratings. You never see the hundreds of thousands of registrants who are leading law-abiding lives.
The registry started out in 1992 with around 30 sex offenses. Now it is over 100.
Patty Wetterling, who helped jumpstart Congress into starting the registry, has said that the registry has been hijacked. She only intended it to be for people like the man who kidnapped, raped, and killed her son.
Very few people on the registry today include people like that man. Some are on the registry today for “mooning” friends in high school, public urination, having consensual sex with a 16-year-old girlfriend while they were 21, juveniles with autism, people with schizophrenia, grandfathers who developed dementia, a 10-year-old boy who pulled down a girl’s pants on the playground after being dared by his buddies to do so, and the list goes on and on. Very few registrants are the type of rapist that Ms. Wetterling and Congress were after in 1992.
And, yes, the collateral damage for the family (particularly the children) is often worse that the crime.
I have had several people tell me that what happened to them for years after the crime was far worse than the actual crime itself. They all say if agencies had just come into the home and helped in the situation, they felt their family could have been saved.
But with the barbaric statutes in place, the offender is often the breadwinner, meaning that the family income dries up. This often forces the children into poverty or foster care. Many of the parents can be helped through restorative justice, thereby helping the children even more.
For those commentators who want to see all of this backed up, start following the Florida Action Committee along with any other group you can find that bases its recommendation on data-driven facts.