The goal of the sex registry is to prevent sexual assault, but it is not working, according to a Reason Magazine article by Lenore Skenazy. A child is more likely to end up on a sex registry than to be molested by someone on it.
“Only a tiny fraction of sex crimes against children are committed by people who are on the registry,” according to George Mason University sociologist Roger Lancaster, author of Sex Panic and the Punitive State.
Lancaster was cited in Reason Magazine , saying about 5 percent of people on the list go on to commit another crime, a far lower recidivism rate than most classes of criminal, including drug dealers, arsonists and muggers.
This is well known among academics, according to Lancaster, as “40-50 studies have come to the same conclusion.”
What is not commonly known, however, is “The single age with the greatest number of offenders [on the Sex Registry] from the perspective of law enforcement was age 14,” according to the U.S. Bureau of Justice Statistics.
“Only a tiny fraction of sex crimes against children are committed by people who are on the registry”
Kids can end up branded for life simply for horsing around. In New Jersey, two 14-year-olds lost an appeal to be removed from the registry for pulling down their pants and sitting on the faces of two 12-year-old boys. “I thought it was funny,” said one.
While the NJ appeals court sympathized with the boys, they upheld putting the boys on the registry for life as “mandated by the legislature.”
Once on the Sex Registry, a person has numerous restrictions on jobs and movement and can’t live near a school, park or playground.
The courts impose these requirements on the “flawed but pervasive idea that those convicted of sex offenses become incurable and predatory monsters requiring – and deserving – lifetime punishment,” asserts Emily Horowitz, a professor of sociology at St. Francis College and author of two books on this subject.
If the Sex Registry were to disappear, all other criminal laws would still apply – including stiffer penalties for repeat offenses, but the life-long stigma would disappear.
As a “crime-fighting tool [it] is not doing the job,” said Lenore Skenazy of Reason Magazine.