July 5, 2011

Editorial: Murder-registry bill doesn’t help society

7-5-2011 Illinois:

When someone with a violent past moves in next door, his neighbors have a right to know. As do the co-workers at his new job, his classmates at school and anyone else with a computer and a few minutes to spare.

So goes the argument in favor of a bill that would require people convicted of first-degree murder to register with the state for at least 10 years after their prison sentence ends.

The registry, which would feature such details as the ex-offender’s address and physical description, also would apply retroactively to inmates released after 2002.

The bill sailed through the General Assembly and now sits on Gov. Pat Quinn’s desk.

We urge him not to sign it.

No governor wants to look soft on criminals. Heck, we don’t like looking soft on criminals. And we sympathize with family members of murder victims who want violent offenders to pay for their crimes long after they leave prison.

But this bill would make it all but impossible for ex-offenders to make a fresh start, while offering only the illusion of greater public safety.

The logic of sex offender registries is that at least some small percentage of sex offenders cannot be rehabilitated; released from prison, they will repeat the same crimes. Society must know who they are to protect itself.

There is no compelling evidence, however, that people who kill once tend to do so again, especially after serving a 20- to 30-year prison term.

What we do know is that making it harder for ex-offenders to fully integrate into society after prison — with friends, family and a job — increases the likelihood that they’ll return to crime.

In a cash-strapped state that already has public registries for sex offenders, child murderers and arsonists, we also question whether Illinois has the resources to keep track of the thousands of convicted murderers who would be required to register.

The people of Illinois have a legitimate interest in knowing when someone with a violent criminal past moves into their community.

But this bill does nothing for anybody. It simply piles new punishment on people who already have done their time. ...Opinion.. of SunTimes


Anonymous said...

And how would they pay for it ? with hopes and dreams ? no they would raise taxes and take even more out of education and helping the elderly ( who have already paid into there social security ) and the diabled!.Yeah thats it politions keep making registries for any and every one in this country ( that isnt so free ).

Anonymous said...

I read an interesting article recently.It was written by an attorney. He made alot of good points regarding offenders in general.One of the points caught my attention. He said because of the country's current economic situation, people assume that laws, convictions, incarcerations, and registries will be scaled down. He notes however, that just the oppisite is true.No matter how broke the government is anything mentioned above will increase at the peril of other social programs.
Today I see things changing (look at California).This PUSH for more and more controll of citizens who have served thier time OR don't pose any threat to society will reach it's LEGAL limit. Society must realize that the restrictions
in place TODAY have already EXCEEDED rational and reasonable limits. Being on a sex offender registry today is as close as you can get (and in some areas exceeds)
being incarcerated.700,000 voices may not be enough yet, but in time
there will be too many voices for our government to ignore!!!