2016 Crime Review: A look at the effectiveness of sex offender registries

It may run counter to conventional wisdom, but it is exceedingly rare for a person registered as a sex offender to be charged with a new sexual offense in Cumberland County. Of the 75 charged sex crime cases in Cumberland County in 2016, only two were committed by a person listed on the sex offender registry, according to an analysis of court records conducted by The Sentinel. Neither of those offenses involved a direct assault on a child. Of the more than 300 charged sex crime cases in Cumberland County between 2013 and 2016, only six cases involved a person listed on the sex offender registry. Those stats show that the more than 290 remaining cases — including some of the most heinous sexual assaults against…

Youth Act in D.C. gives all but juvenile registrants a break

In the D.C. judicial system, there is a second chance act that is designed to give those juveniles who have been accused of committing non-sexual crimes a second chance.  Or third.  Or fourth.  Or fifth. When granted by a judge, the Youth Act involves expungement of records, lighter jail time or probationary periods being subsituted for jail time. However, it is back firing.  A majority of these youths have created controversy by committing higher crimes when given another chance under  the Youth Act.  It has created unsafe communities as a majority of these juveniles are committing these crimes(murder, assualt, stealing, etc.) on their own turf; the communities they are released into. There is no tracking system to see how these juveniles are reintegrating and faring…

Michigan’s request to halt sex offender ruling is denied

LANSING — A U.S. Supreme Court justice on Tuesday denied Michigan’s request to halt a lower court decision that found the state unconstitutionally put new restrictions on registered sex offenders long after their convictions. Justice Elena Kagan’s decision means law enforcement can no longer retroactively enforce 2006 and 2011 changes to the country’s fourth-largest sex offender list while the state pursues an underlying appeal in the high court, said Miriam Aukerman, an attorney with the American Civil Liberties Union of Michigan. The 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in August said Michigan’s revisions, which included restricting sex offenders’ movements near schools and listing many on the registry for life, retroactively penalized offenders as “moral lepers” and there is “scant” evidence that the law accomplishes goals such…

What’s the Real Rate of Sex-Crime Recidivism?

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One sentence in a 1986 mass-market magazine continues to sway court cases involving sex offenders. By Steven Yoder In the early 1980s, rehabilitation counselor Robert Longo could hardly have known that his work with convicted sex offenders would make him a minor celebrity. At the time, he was running a program at the Oregon State Hospital to treat and rehabilitate prisoners who had committed sex crimes. It was a new field, and Longo says they were using what at the time were considered innovative approaches: aversive conditioning, administration of Depo-Provera to reduce testosterone levels, and penile plethysmography to measure arousal. In 1985, documentary filmmaker John Zaritsky heard about Longo’s work and gave him a call. Oregon’s program was featured prominently in the resulting HBO special,…

Requirements of the Registry Are Punitive

From: JOHN DOE v. STATE OF NEW HAMPSHIRE Argued: May 8, 2014 Opinion Issued: February 12, 2015 The Supreme Court noted that shame or stigma was not the objective of these laws, as it was for the historical punishment of shaming, and that historical shaming entailed more than just disseminating information.  Smith, 538 U.S. at 98.  The act, however, by including the petitioner on a list of registered sex offenders, does more than merely disseminate information.  If the registry were truly just about making criminal records more easily available to the public, then all such records would be available.  Instead, only certain offenders are listed on the website.  This “[s]election makes a statement.” Id. at 109 (Souter, J., concurring). The website may not contain any…