Confidential Registry – Young first offenders, age 19 and under at the their offense was committed, could be exempted from the public registry, and put on a private one available to law enforcement only.
Re-evaluation 10 years after completion of incarceration – Give the sentencing court the opportunity to review the offender’s status and enable the judge to modify any restrictions, including residency, employment, interaction with minors, etc.
Focus our limited resources on pedophiles, predators and human traffickers, not teenage offenders.
“The more accurately registries list dangerous and predatory offenders, the more likely they are to identify those who genuinely pose a risk to women and children.” Michelle Meloy, “Sex Offenses and the Men Who Commit Them,” (Northeastern University Press, 2006), 41.
Supervision on a case-by-case basis as needed – Lifetime supervision of teenage offenders should be based on one’s likelihood of re-offending, not solely on their charge. For a variety of legal reasons one’s charge may be “too high,” reflecting an inaccurate view of his risk of re-offending.
Conversely, “Many offenders are able to avoid registration through plea negotiations . . . A ‘successful’ plea agreement does not negate an offender’s potential risk. Many of the non-mandated registrants may be equally dangerous, if not more dangerous, than registered offenders.” Meloy, ibid.
Prevention/education, aimed at young males – True prevention will start when we educate them about the dangerous social and legal ramifications from exposure to pornography, violence, and other societal factors encouraging undesirable and illegal behaviors.
Nancy Sabin, Executive Director of the Jacob Wetterling Foundation (named for a boy who was abducted and never found) said, “My concern is that there’s no funding for prevention or early intervention, no investment at the front end, to find out why our boys are growing up to be sex offenders.” (Eric Janus, “Failure to Protect,” (Cornell University Press, 2006), 158.)
The Second Chance Act – Let’s include young first offenders (age 19 and under at the time of their offense.) NY Times Editorial, Chris Suellentrop. December 24, 2006:
“The outgoing Republican-controlled Congress came tantalizingly close to passing the Second Chance Act, a bill that focuses not on how to “lock them up” but on how to let them out. The bill may become law soon, if Democrats continue to welcome the new conservative interest in rehabilitation… “The most striking aspect of the Second Chance Act may be the cross-section of Republicans, from every wing of the party, who support it…Specter, Brownback, Pence, Lungren…
Christian conservative, tough on crime, former VA state senator Mark Earley said, “I spent most of my time in the legislature working on how to put more people in jail and keeping them there longer. These policies helped increase the American prison population tenfold in the last 30 years.” He wasn’t bragging, he was apologizing.
“Criminologists of both parties want to see less ideologically charged debate and one that rests more closely on sound research.”
Accurate information – Pam Schultz, child sex abuse survivor and author of “Not Monsters: Analyzing the Stories of Child Molesters, “As a society we need to become less hysterical and more informed about sexual abuse . . . We’re so focused on the minority of offenders who seem to fit our skewed perceptions of what sexual abusers should be.”
Other Registries? If public safety is the driving force behind these laws, do we need registries for murder, arson, drug dealers, armed robbery, etc?