Rozek: Sex offender registries abject policy failure; protect nobody
By Sandy Rozek . . . In 2009, Mark B. was convicted of a sexual crime, served 13 months in prison and put on the public sex offender registry. Fearing he would be unemployable at any meaningful job, Mark started his own company traveling to antique shows to take old-fashioned photos for people. The business was successful, and he was proud to provide for his family and be a contributing member of society.
In 2016, it fell apart. An unknown person sent anonymous emails to his largest clients telling them of his status and sending a link to his public registry listing. The resulting emails to Mark severing the business relationships alluded to “public safety” and “parent concerns.” The anonymous emails continued, and Mark faced bankruptcy. He is slowly wwwing, but living every day fearing his new accounts and the old ones he still has will receive a similar email and cancel as the others did.
Proponents of the public sex offender registry say it’s needed to help parents protect their children from sexual predators, but there is no evidence it does that. Very few registrants meet the criteria for predation. Furthermore, the vast majority of sexual crimes, especially against children, are committed not by those on the registry. They’re committed by those close to the victims in trusted, often familial, positions. Re-offense by those on the registry living in the community has always been, across the board, in single digits before Megan’s Law and afterwards.
Academic analyses and research studies have consistently failed to show a public safety benefit, or any beneficial results, from public notification — no reduction in sexual offending by rapists, child molesters, recidivists or first-time offenders.
Due to its failure to benefit public safety, the current registry system is wasteful. It’s impossible to estimate the totals spent because expenses are covered both by the federal and local governments. Even by conservative standards, many millions in taxes are squandered with no meaningful return.
Please read Sandy’s entire Op-ed in The Washington Examiner.