Sex offender registries do not prevent crime and should be eliminated


We are opposed to public registries of sex offenders.  There is no evidence that  registries prevent sex crimes.  But it is clear beyond any doubt that thousands of people have been harmed and many lives ruined through the sex offender registries and scarlet letter laws that brand many people that have not committed any crimes against children as “violent, sexual predators” who
cannot go near a school, public library or other facility where children may be present.

While horrific crimes involving abuse of children do occur, these are rare and comprise a tiny percentage of those convicted with sex offenses.  However, the sex offender registries paint all offenders with the same brush whether it is teenagers having sex, a person urinating by the side of the road or someone who brutalizes a child.   Most sex offenses (more than 80%) are committed by family members or other people well-known to the victim.  Repeat offenses by sex offenders are rare with recidivism in most jurisdictions less than 5%.   Existing sex offender laws and the elaborate and costly apparatus to enforce these laws have little effect on preventing sex offenses.  These laws have sprung up around particularly horrible crimes and are often named after the victims.

Evidence-based approaches to preventing child abuse exist but too often are not applied and too often such programs remain underfunded while large funds are consumed by highly visible approaches that provide political benefits to people seeking to get elected on tough on crime platforms.   We propose that all funding for sex offender registries be redirected to fund programs that reduce child abuse.  This starts with training children to recognize abuse and abusers and to say no to the abuser and to report abuse to their parents or guardian or other person with responsibility.  Abusers whose actions are caught early can be
helped to understand their actions and to prevent this behavior in the future.  For the sex offender with a deeper problem
more intensive therapy would be warranted.

By preventing more cases of child abuse the relatively rare cases involving brutalization of children by violent criminals can be dealt with more effectively through appropriately severe sanctions.  In today’s environment with thousands of people painted with the same brush as if they are violent, predatory sex criminals the attention of law enforcement is distracted by the large number of offenders increasing the chances for such acts to be committed.

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9 Comments to “Sex offender registries do not prevent crime and should be eliminated”

  1. Thank you so much for addressing this issue. I too would like to see the funding used to educate our children in schools. I believe that the laws and the registry is a waste of a lot of tax payer money, money that could be used to fund schools and teachers.
    Thank you again for standing up for the rights of ALL children, including those who’s fathers are incarcerated for sex offenses. They need to be thought of as well when laws are written. These children need to have the security of a total family with no residency restrictions and allowed to have their fathers at home with them. Nor should they have to suffer public humiliation because of the registry.
    Blessings to you for all you do.

  2. I agree wholeheartedly with this article. I have seen first hand the despair, the feelings of suicide, the hopelessness of people on the public sex offender registry. I have also witnessed the absolute hatred of members of the public when the subject of sex offenders comes up. This is a serious civil rights issue.

  3. I AGREE 100% WITH THIS LETTER TO ALL OF YOU. FIRST TIME SEX OFFENDERS CAN BE HELPED TO BECOME THE CITIZENS WE WANT THEM TO BE. THESE LAWS AND RESTRICTION RULES ARE NOT ONLY COSTING US MILLIONS OF DOLLARS THEY DON’T WORK. MOST CASES NOW ARE OFFENDERS THAT HAVE NEVER BEEN ON THE REGISTRY BEFORE. THE ONES THAT KILL OUR CHILDREN GO TO OTHER PLACES THAN WHERE THEY LIVE. AND THE DAYCARE RESTRICTION KEEPS THE FIRST TIME OFFENDERS FROM HAVING A HOME SINCE THEY ARE IN EVERY NIEGHBORHOOD IN THIS COUNTRY. THEY MUST WATCH THEIR WARDS 24/7. THE OFFENDERS CAN NOT GET TO THEM. AT LEAST DROP DAYCARES FROM THE 1000 FT RULE BUT KEEP THE SCHOOLS AND PARKS INTACT EVEN THOU PARENTS SHOULD BE WITH THEIR CHILDREN AT THE PARKS AND NOT LEAVE THEM ALONE THERE SO REALLY THAT RULE MAKES NO SENSE EITHER. DOES IT? PLEASE LET THE FIRST TIME OFFENDERS PROVE THEMSELVES TO ALL OF US THAT THEY CAN BE HELPED!!!!!!!!!! THEY NOT ONLY SUFFER BUT SO DO THEIR FAMILIES THAT MUST PAY WITH LOSING THEIR HOMES, MONEY TO THE SO CALLED CLASSES (SOMM) THAT REALLY COULD HELP THEM IF THEY DIDN’T HAVE TO PAY. GIVE THEM HELP NOT TAKE EVERYTHING THEY HOLD DEAR. HOMES, JOBS, FRIENDS, FAMILY AND IF THEY RE OFFEND SEND THEM AWAY AGAIN FOR A LONGER TIME.EVEN MURDERERS, DRUG DEALERS ETC. DON’T HAVE TO DO WHAT THESE OFFENDERS DO. DO THE CRIME DO THE TIME, RETURN TO COMMUNITIES A FREE PERSON NOT PUNISH THEM FOREVER. THIS IS NOT RIGHT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  4. sex offenders are the new crime du jour with absolutely no understanding of who the chances of reoffending. all sex offenders are put into one class. why should a convicted murderer be allowed to serve their time and not be on a registry is something i cannot understand. wake up to IGNORNANCE.

  5. The above letter says it all for me.
    Frank S

  6. I would like to point out another group of people that are on the sex offender registry, those that were charged with child pornography. A large majority of these offenders have never touched a child and never would.
    Those that currently need to be on the registry with the addition of every year new offenders and it will become much easier for the real offenders of children to slip through the cracks.
    It is not rocket science. If there are 100 offenders in a very large room with one child and two offender watchers and there is any type of distraction, well you get the picture.

  7. I do not agree that sex offender registries should be eliminated all together, because as this letter states there are those who have brutalized a child and thus the public should be aware. HOWEVER, I do agree 100% with the fact that most ‘offenders’ and such registries are merely teenagers having sexual intercourse, someone peeing on a sidewalk, etc. It has become a witch hunt, one that is out of control and is not doing our children any good. Laws need to be changed, we must stop grouping all offenders as one. Sex offenses are not black and white.

  8. This article is so accurately and so articulately written that there is little left to say. I would only like to add that not only are sex offender registries not proven to be effective, but registries and everything accompanying them, e.g., safety zones, residency restrictions, are actually proven to work against public safety. Study after study bears this out. Anyone can, with a few mouse clicks, access this information and read it for yourself.
    And yes, of all the harm the current sex offender management process perpetuates, by far the most onerous is the cover-up it provides for the true cause of almost all sexual crime against children. Parents are taught to look for the monsters in the bushes, monsters who will almost certainly be registered sex offenders, when the true monsters are already in their lives, often in their homes, but not on the registry. Uncounted millions are poured down the rabbit hole of the registry while educational and informational programs in the schools and communities about who the actual child molesters are go begging for pennies–or worse, don’t go begging because no one has been told that they are needed. They are only told to be sure they know, at all times, where all of the registered sex offenders are. I do believe that there is a special place in hell for those who know the truth but are financially and personally benefiting from perpetuating this huge fraud and are therefore directly responsible for every child who continues to be sexually molested by a family member or family-trusted acquaintance.

  9. There are no truer words spoken than this article. Lives of families of sex offenders as well as the so called “sex offenders” are put into turmoil and the offenders lives are wrecked. Rapes, sodomy, acts of violence are true crimes that deserve punishment, the computer acts and viewing of pornographic material is not a crime that has a victim. If a person does not have a victim, then do not victimize them and destroy their lives. GIVE THEM A SECOND CHANCE.

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