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July 6, 2016

Why the sex offender registry isn’t the right way to punish rapists – Vox

Filed under: Criminal, Harm, History, Ideas, Political, Questions, Science — Scottie @ 12:22

Source: Why the sex offender registry isn’t the right way to punish rapists – Vox


Some excerpts.  

Few registered sex offenders go on to commit another sex crime — studies have estimated recidivism rates between 5 and 15 percent, which sounds high but is relatively low compared with other crimes. Barring sex offenders from living near children, for instance, doesn’t stop the recidivists from recidivating. And most new sex crime convictions involve people who aren’t registered sex offenders.

We know more about sex crimes now than policymakers did in 1996. The “stranger danger,” child-focused predator isn’t as common as people think. Sexual abuse at the hands of intimate partners and family members is far more common — and there’sevidence that strict registry laws might make victims less likely to report their relatives as abusers, since they might not want the “permanent banishment” that entails.

The risks, on the other hand, have been huge. It’s not an exaggeration to say that the combination of legal restrictions and social stigma destroys lives. Sarah Stillman wrote a New Yorker feature earlier this year that is a must-read if you want to understand the booby-trapped world in which sex offenders live:

Sex offender registries don’t prevent crimes. They simply punish them.

But just because the sex offender registry is better at punishing people than it is at preventing crime doesn’t mean it’s the right way to punish people, either.

It’s also too harsh a punishment. Most people aren’t sentenced to prison for life; their punishments are only supposed to last a certain amount of time. Having your life constrained and restricted even after your sentence is over might be a fact of life in our current criminal justice system, but that’s not the way punishment is supposed to work.

What is the appropriate punishment for sexual assault — and when can assaulters get the chance to learn their lesson? What is the appropriate punishment for other sex offenses? And how can we effectively prevent rape? These are good questions. But they’re different questions from each other. The sex offender registry, with its one-size-fits-all approach, has pretended to answer all of them — by, in reality, answering none.



  1. This is a subject that can open lots of conversation. For instance, I never understood why an 18 year old could be branded as a sex offender for having a 16 or 17 year old girlfriend/boyfriend. It seems that there are too many ways for one to be branded “sex offender” in this country and for the title to stick.

    For a true sex offender, psychological counselling should be mandatory. Not too sure the registry was meant to punish or rather, to inform all in the area that such an offender is around. Of course, in the end, it’s like wearing a scarlet letter around one’s neck for the world to see.

    Liked by 1 person

    Comment by belle💕beckford — July 7, 2016 @ 01:25

    • Well said. here is my thoughts. One I was a sexually and physically abused child. No registry would have helped in my case. So I dislike laws that make things worse without any benefit. Another thing is teens who sext each other.,say two 14 or 15 year olds send nude pictures of each to each other.. as they are madly in love, and they get charged with sexual offences. They are both victim and perp. They will spend the rest of their lives paying for it. That is another problem I have with the registry. The idea of the police having a private registry I can understand. However all the added on requirements by politicians wanting to look tough for reelection. The restrictions are punitive not helpful, they make it impossible for a former offender to turn their life around, and be rehabilitated. They are subject to lifetime of hopelessness of ever getting a second chance. Yes the crimes some of them are heinous, but we give killer’s second chances, they are not on public lists, they are not subject to these restrictions, and what about so many other serious crimes. Lastly the ways one can get on the registries are crazy, a kid streaked and got put on it, a girl pulled her brothers pants down when they were like ten.. what about the people who take a pee outside, and they get put on the registry. The list should have been for predators who have shown they will prey again, have done so despite help to change. Too many people are on it today for silly reasons, it has become all political. Thanks. Hugs


      Comment by Scottie — July 7, 2016 @ 13:05

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