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Charles's avatar

Should there be registry for additional serious crimes, not just sex offenses?

Asked by Charles (4815points) May 29th, 2012

A sex offender made a point that he is labeled permanently by his crime while someone who outright kills a child gets out and doesn’t have to register at all.

What do you think? Should there be a registry for heinous or high-risk crimes, sexual or otherwise? Why would the police alert us to a sex offender moving into our neighborhoods and not a convicted drug dealer, batterer or a murderer?

(Correct me if something like this exists already, but I know nothing of it.)

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7 Answers

tedd's avatar

Personally I don’t think there should be a sex offender registry. If you want to keep punishing them, put them in jail longer. Besides, studies have shown that sex offenders have an extremely low recidivism rate…. and you can land yourself on one of those lists for getting caught pissing in public.

If you continue to punish someone and label them a criminal even after they have supposedly been rehabilitated and made fit for public interaction… then you haven’t really fixed a thing.

Charles's avatar

Besides, studies have shown that sex offenders have an extremely low recidivism rate

Is it possible the recidivism rate is due or is an effect of the registry? Might the recidivism rate be higher prior to the registry? Maybe the registry contribute to the currently low recidivism rate?

tedd's avatar

@Charles Nope, the recidivism rate has always been incredibly low. In fact most sexual offenses (in particular molestation) are committed by trusted family members or friends.

This isn’t to say that sex offenders always become perfect citizens after their prison time. That’s why you have the sex offender registry. Because one time some decades ago, some guy got out and went right away to molest some little girl… and everyone got all up in arms… “How could this have happened!!.. if only we had known there was a sex offender living amongst us!!!!”... Politicians rode the gravy train of being tough on crime… BAM, sex offender registry…. Which accomplishes pretty much nothing, costs a lot of money, frightens the heck out of people, and assures that “recovered” sex offenders never actually recover.

Uberwench's avatar

I’m not convinced there should be a sex offender registry either, and definitely not one with such broad inclusion criteria as we currently have, but it is somewhat misleading to say that the recidivism rate for sex offenders is low. It’s a lot lower than the “tough on crime” cohort would have us believe, and it might not seem like a lot in absolute numbers. A sex offender is four times as likely to be rearrested for a sex crime as a non-sex offender, however, and that’s just the short term recidivism rate. It goes up as more time passes.

It’s true that family molesters don’t tend to repeat their crimes, but that’s at least partially because they specifically want to molest younger family members and never get the opportunity to be near one again after going to prison over it. Child molesters are only one piece of the sex offender pie, though. We also have to consider people who commit rape and forms of sexual assault other than child molestation.

This is why studies vary so much in their data and conclusions: there’s no universal agreement on what to count as a sex crime when doing these studies (few reference the same pool of crime, in part because they differ over whether to count everything—inlcuding ridiculous things like a kindergarten student pulling down his pants in front of the class—or to focus on specific crimes), and there’s no universal agreement on how to measure recidivism (rearrests? reconvictions? reincarcerations?).

The Bureau of Justice Statistics has a tool for comparing these different measures, but I wouldn’t personally use it as the final word on any of this.

tko7800's avatar

I know Suffolk County in NY is starting a database of animal abusers. From what I understand it’s supposed to be used by shelters, pet stores, etc. to make sure that pets do not end up in their hands. I’m normally very liberal about most issues related to crime (e.g. I’m anti-death penalty and believe the primary goal of prison should be rehabilitation) but when it comes to animal abusers – F EM!

tinyfaery's avatar

Animal abusers should be put on a list so that they can never keep an animal.

chewhorse's avatar

Let me see if I can explain this correctly.. I agree with the majority of this string in that it’s a cop-out to issue registries for ex-felons (specifically pedophiles and sex abusers).. The reason I say ‘cop-out’ is that the parole board, after releasing an inmate (for serving his/her time) tend to defer their responsibility and instead place the burden on neighbors as well as strangers.. Once someone serves their time they should be considered free, they should not be scrutinized by strangers for the rest of their lives. the law is misunderstood in that they do not prevent crime but rather enforce it after the crime so the obvious would be that they wear an ankle monitor to keep them ‘honest’ then if something happens the law will have positive proof where these people were at during the crime.. They can’t watch them 2/7 but they can keep records of their movements. Instead the parole board frees the person then wipes their hands of the whole matter depending instead on what others read and how they deal with this person.. And if something does happen and the neighborhood gang bangs the perpetrator, then there’s that many more they can incarcerate while waiving their responsibilities of the matter. I think the law makers should become more involved and held accountable for their decisions and not toss it over to the ordinarily honest public. The ankle monitor will keep these people at bay and if they just can’t help themselves then note if they were in the vicinity by checking the recorded monitor and if they were and are again found guilty then they should never be released again because obviously the parole board was wrong and the perp was not rehabilitated..

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