Monday, September 28, 2009

Another Non-Solution

"A December study of roughly 20,000 registered sex offenders on parole in California found 9% posed a 'high risk' of reoffending, and 29% posed a 'moderate-high' to 'high' risk, said Ms. [Janet] Neekly. But law-enforcement officials and academics say vast amounts of resources are spent monitoring nonviolent offenders rather than keeping closer tabs on more-dangerous ones. ... Its 'difficult if not impossible' to track the effectiveness of registry laws, [California's Sex Offender Management Board's 225-page] report said. ... The growing sex-offender list can dilute the amount of attention on the most dangerous offenders, said Nora Demlietner, the dean of Hofstra University Law School who studies sentencing. Some sex offenders 'tend not to be dangerous at all,' she said. 'You have to register them as sex offenders, so when you're law enforcement, all these people look the same.' ... 'There is no available evidence to indicate that expanding California's list of registerable crimes would promote public safety,' the board wrote", my emphasis, Ryan Knutson and Justin Scheck at the WSJ, 3 September 2009, link:

"His case is a reminder that the solutions to sexual predation are not solutions at all, but frustratingly inadequate, and often ethically and legally murky, tools. Continuing to hold offenders, after their prison sentences are completed, under the guise of 'treatment'? This punishes people for crimes they have not committed, awaiting cures that never happen, at huge expense. Following them around forever? All states require offenders to reigister, but few have the resources to constantly monitor everyone. ... None of these efforts, or course, address the reality that the overwhelming majority of victims are assaulted by people they know, who never appear in any database. ... The list of offenders is so large as to be almost useless. It is supposed to include not only rapists and kidnappers, but also flashers and teenagers who had consensual sex", Editorial at the NYT, 12 September 2009, link:

Public safety? What's that? Who cares?

Treatment? Like in one of Joe Stalin's psychiatric hospitals? Shut these databases. They do not seem to solve or prevent crimes. Would you feel safer knowing Eliot Spitzer and his $4300 a night paramour were in such a database? How about six-year-olds caught kissing in grammar school? Is preventive detention an 8th amendment problem?


Anonymous said...

The process seeks to provide some notice to communities about offenders.

But you are right... the majority of offenders are friends and family...

That problem is age old and won;t be fixed with a database or website.

edgar said...

but also flashers and teenagers who had consensual sex...

Yeah, way to brand someone for life and make sure they will be outcasts from society forever. Nazis.