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admin | Category: Cell Phones In School | 08.09.2014
The Cuyahoga County Sheriff's department estimates it tracks 3,300 registered sex offenders. You might think that all advocates for rape victims would support the practice of forcing sex offenders to publicly register their addresses after their release from prison. Growing numbers of victim advocates and criminal justice researchers are among those who have concluded that sex offender registries are too costly and provide little or no protection to the public. Northeast Ohio Media Group contacted Miller and others to address both sides of an ongoing debate over the effectiveness of the registries, which are now used in every state.
The term “sex offender” tends to conjure up images of villainous men hanging around schools or driving through neighborhoods, attempting to lure in children with the promise of sweets. Josh was released from the juvenile justice system at the age of 16 and was required to register as a sex offender.
In most states, sex offenders are prohibited from living within a certain radius of schools, parks, day care centers, and even bus stops. The process of registering can be so onerous, many sex offenders end up facing felony charges over small technical details that they aren’t aware of.
The foundational argument for having a public registry is that sex offenders are likely to recommit. Public registries are also founded on the assumption that sex offenders are strangers, and that citizens need to be informed about their location in order to avoid them and keep their children safe. Sex offender registries are popular with voters because of the desire to keep children safe from predators.
November 20, 2015 No Comments Juvenile sex offenders head for a treatment program in California.
After years of establishing and strengthening sex offender registries, some states are rethinking policies allowing juveniles to be placed on them. State laws requiring juveniles to register as sex offenders came into wide practice after Congress passed laws such as the 1996 Megan’s Law and the 2006 Adam Walsh Act, which were named in memory of children murdered by sex offenders. Supporters of juvenile registries say they’re important for public safety, and serve an important purpose for families and victims.
Nicole Pittman, director of the Center on Youth Registration Reform at Impact Justice, said registries are contrary to the concept of juvenile courts, which are based on the premise that children are more capable of change and should be shielded from the harsher consequences of adult court.

Research shows a child convicted of a sex crime, or an “adjudicated delinquent” in juvenile court, is not likely to commit another sex offense.
Although the recidivism rate for adult offenders is low, generally around 10 percent, youth sex-offender recidivism is usually less than 5 percent, said Elizabeth Letourneau, a professor with Johns Hopkins University and an expert on juvenile sex offenders. Pittman said that when people have access to an offender’s address, it is not uncommon for people to vandalize property or otherwise target the house. Although many advocates say states shouldn’t have juvenile registries, they point to Oklahoma as having a better system than most. In Missouri, legislators passed a bill in 2013 that would have given juvenile sex offenders the right to petition to be removed from the state’s lifetime registry. This meant having his name, address, physical description, employer’s name and address, and a current photograph posted on an online sex offender registry. Couple that with the fact that many landlords won’t rent to a sex offender, and just finding a place to live can be a huge challenge.
In a recently published report entitled “Raised on the Registry,” the group Human Rights Watch investigated 517 cases in 20 states of people who had committed sexual offenses as children, and found many similar stories of harm brought to people as a result of their registration status. However, the vast majority of reported sexual offences are committed by first time offenders, and sex offenders are far less likely to recommit than other criminals.
Also of concern are laws that add youth sex offenders to adult registries once they turn 18 or 21, even though they were tried as juveniles, not adults.
They were designed to better track sex offenders and make information easily accessible to law enforcement and the public. Even those who aren’t placed on public registries still may have to notify nearby schools or have a postcard sent to addresses within so many miles of their house.
But because many offenses are carried out within the home, often between siblings or cousins, vigilantes aren’t just terrorizing the offender but often the victim, as well.
Letourneau found registered children were more likely to get charged with new nonsexual offenses than juvenile offenders who were not required to register. Letourneau’s review of data from South Carolina found that prosecutors would plead children out on nonsexual charges, say from sexual assault to physical assault, after penalties increased. The law also required him to carry a blue card identifying him as a sex offender and report in to the police station yearly and each time he moved.

Often sex offenders will find housing only to be evicted a short time later after complaints from neighbors. In 2012, after ten years on the registry, Josh successfully petitioned to be removed from the public registry,3 although he remains on the list kept by police and his movement is still restricted due to his felonies.4 In July he was arrested for failure to comply as a registered sex offender, while he was at the police station attempting to register after he moved.
Whereas overall crime recidivism is around 40 percent, recidivism for adults charged with sexual crimes is around 13 percent. However, one third of sexual offenses against children are committed by other children.2 Juveniles are getting swept up in a system that is designed for adults, and it is bringing them immeasurable harm. She said the number of plea deals skyrocketed after two federal laws were passed, one in 1994 that required registering people who commit sex crimes against children and the other in 1996 that required them to be added to a sex offender website. Previously, all children convicted of a felony sex offense were automatically registered for life. According to several studies, the recidivism rate for juvenile sex offenders is between four and ten percent, or even as low as one percent.6 Those who support the sex offender registry might give it credit for these low rates of recidivism. These damages could perhaps be justified if they were necessary to keep people safe, but sex offender registries haven’t made us any safer. Some states add names to a registry for a set amount of time, while others keep offenders on the list until they die. To test this idea, a 2011 study from the University of Chicago compared sex offenders who had been placed on a registry with sex offenders who had not. Changes need to be made that take into consideration the needs and potential for rehabilitation of juvenile offenders. As their photos are updated through the years, the offenders begin to look less like children and more like pedophiles.

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