Sex Offender Registry
The history of sex offender registry dates back to around 1994 when some states required convicted sex offenders to register with the local police. In 1996, Jacob Wetterling CACSVOA demanded that all states should implement a registration program for sex offenders. However, the implementation was not properly executed and the up to 1996 many sex offenders did not comply with registry laws.
The sex offender registry was created to keep track of sex offenders to make their information and whereabouts easily accessible to members of the public. It aims at curbing the vice by inflicting fear in the members of the society who might want to commit sexual offenses. It also seeks to shame the people who appear in the records and the effects of the shame go beyond the period their names are in it.
Effects of being listed with the registry go beyond shame (Zgoba & Ragbir, 2016). Acceptance by the society is also very difficult. Judgement by the people around makes blending in the society even after serving for crimes committed almost impossible. There is a notion that it is impossible for sex offenders to quench their lusty behavior. In regards to that, employers are not willing to offer opportunities, tenants are fear leasing renting their houses in case a similar event unfolds and for this, they lack physical location which prompts the law to contain them in prison for life. These reasons are meant to voluntarily make them shun the behavior.
The road to present day went through three significant stages. First states were required to register sex offenders with local law enforcement (Zgoba & Ragbir, 2016). Second, in 1996 there was the creation of internet sites that held information about the offenders. However, no clear guidelines nor outlines were laid. The information was also a requirement in creating awareness in the community. The post-1996 phase had various legislations passed to improve sex offender registries (Bierie, 2015). Its creation saw to it that sex offenders after their release back into the society were closely monitored and tracked by the government, local law enforcement and the society.
Some of the costs that are incurred in running the registry include the hiring of new personnel, software installation and maintenance, legislative costs, jail and prison space and law enforcement costs. Before the enactment of Adam’s act, a high percentage of juvenile offenders did not need to be registered but with the implementation the numbers reduced. A sex offender faces the following consequences after registration (Walfield et al., 2017). Limitations on places where they can live or work, they have restricted access to social media and some websites, restriction to activities involving children and monitoring by law enforcement. Therefore, sex offender registry is said to act as a deterrent among those who intend to commit the act ensuring that cases of sex offense reduce. This include deterring current registrants and would-be offenders from committing the crime in future.
The rate with which sex offenders find themselves repeating criminal actions falls at around 14%. Recidivism is normally caused by individuals’ continuous defiance to follow societal laws, poor laws and rehabilitative measures that fail to straighten out the law-breaking behaviors and the unpredictable human behavior (etiology) (Bierie, 2015). It is however not true that recidivism is only caused by sexual violent sexual predators as the cases run across all types of sexual offenders. The notion that failure to register as sex offenders reflects recidivism is misplaced since studies have shown that the parameters have no significant relationship.
In conclusion, sex offender laws are not yet as effective as they should be and this calls for reforms to ensure efficiency. In this light, the periods of being put in the registry should be extended and if possible to be a lifetime record (Walfield et al., 2017). The homeless offenders should not receive the mercy to live in prison once their terms end but be subjected to very harsh terms like torturers exit. Sex offenders who involve in other acts of crime regardless of nature should receive more severe punishment. This paper has changed my opinion on sex offenders. As much as the society and government give chances to them, there is no tangible effect on their part.
Bierie, D. M. (2015). The utility of sex offender registration: A Research Note. Journal of Sexual Aggression, 263-273.
Walfield, S. M., Levenson, J. S. & Lobanov-Rostovsky, M. A. (2017). Law enforcement views on sex offender compliance with registration mandates. American Journal of Criminal Justice, 1–26. (https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s12103-017-9386-6)
Zgoba, K., & Ragbir, D. (2016). Sex Offender Registration and Notification Act (SORNA). Berlin: Springer, 33-49.