February 3, 2013

Defenders, critics debate effectiveness of sex offender registry

The real problems with the registry are, everyones belief it will solve future sex offenses. It WILL NOT! Bouchard's belief of high recidivism is not reality and hasn't been, many studies have proved the false belief of high recidivism. US DOJ shows recidivism of less than 5%, which means the registry is useless against 95% of new sex offenses. Lawmakers use the registry concept to further personal employment ideals and gains, tricking the public into a false sense of security. This merely touches on whats wrong with the registry and what it actually accomplishes!
2-3-2013 Michigan:

Michigan residents have access to the names, addresses and offenses of convicted sex offenders at their fingertips.

You can search within a mile of your house for them. You can search an entire ZIP code. Smart phone apps will show you a map of sex offenders, your location marked with a green dot, surrounded by menacing looking red dots marking the addresses on the registry.

Michigan required sex offenders to register in the state in 1994 to meet a federal mandate. Legislation sponsored by Michael Bouchard, now Oakland County’s sheriff, made the registry public in 1996.

“I wrote the law because of the high recidivism rate of sex offenders,” Bouchard said in an email. “The average pedophile has over 100 victims in their so-called career. For those reasons alone, the public should have easy access to what is already public record.

“Their crimes, their release and their location,” Bouchard wrote. “This allows women and families to better protect themselves by being informed. Maybe it's taking a different route to school or jogging or skipping a house or block on Halloween. To those that say, ‘When can the sex offender move on with their life?’ I say the day their victims can forget.”

There are 519 sex offenders registered in St. Clair County and 138 in Sanilac County.

While many say the registry is a useful tool, others argue it might not be the right approach.

JJ Prescott, a law professor at the University of Michigan, researched the topic of private versus public directories for a paper published in 2011.

Prescott said he found public registries are a deterrent to potential first-time offenders — but once an offender is on the list, it does little or nothing to keep him or her from committing new crimes.

“They can’t find jobs, can’t build families, can’t live near friends and family, they are pariahs,” Prescott said. “What is the threat? What do you threaten someone with who is in prison on their own dime?”

Francie Giordano, founder of Michigan Citizens for Justice, said her son was on the registry for just a few months and it was like living a nightmare. ...continued to multiple pages... by Liz Shepard

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