Podcast: Abolish the Sex Offender Registry – Let’s Try These Options Instead

Abolish the Sex Offender Registry - Let’s Try These Options Instead

America’s sex offender registry offers no additional protection for children and our communities. This statement has been proven in numerous studies throughout the years.

So, if the registry doesn’t work, what else should we try? In this informative podcast episode, I discuss three possible options: Circles of Accountability, chaperone programs, and support and awareness groups. According to studies I discuss in this episode, all three options are more effective than national sex offender databases in reducing recidivism. So why aren’t communities more active in implementing these programs?

Join me as I discuss this important and conversational topic affecting almost a million people in the United States.

Podcast Transcript

It’s The Outspoken Offender Podcast.

[00:00:11] My hope is to encourage registered citizens, former inmates in anyone facing stereotypes and social ostracism. To move beyond society’s labels. Welcome to the show. Interesting topic for today’s podcast. It’s called “abolish the sex offender registry – let’s try these options instead.” That is a big topic and I want to, I want to talk about it today because there are some alternatives that can be implemented instead of this horrific sex offender registry that does not do any help in our communities.

[00:00:50] It does not make the community safer. In fact, there is evidence that sex offender registries may actually increase the risk of re-offending. And how, how does this happen? You, you might ask it destabilizes the offender as they try to reintegrate back into the community. And what I mean by that is lack of housing.

[00:01:11] Lack of jobs, lack of support all of those things and much more. And just the, the feeling of, shame being put on this, this “list” this “blacklist”, if you want to call it that or “hit list.” All those things come together, and it actually may increase the risk of re-offending. In addition, in registry studies have shown that anywhere.

[00:01:35] And please, when I say studies, do your research, and I’m going to mention some studies here in a moment, please do your own research. It can be backed up. Studies have found that anywhere between 10 to 75% of all entries and the registries have some sort of, of error involved. There’s an error…

[00:01:55] It’s, false. In fact, I looked myself up on Google. I searched my name, and I came up on Illinois state sex offender registry. I’ve never lived in Illinois. I’ve never stepped foot in Illinois. There’s your error there! There’s an example. I couldn’t believe it. So, let me refer you to a study here.

[00:02:17] “A time series analysis of New York state’s sex offender, registration, and notification law.” In this study results provided no support for the effectiveness of registration and community notification laws in reducing sexual offending by (a) rapists, (b) child molesters, (c) sexual recidivists or (d) first-time sex offenders’ studies, or that study also showed that over 95% of all sexual offense arrests were committed by first-time sex offenders.

[00:02:51] Casting doubt on the ability of laws that target repeat offenders to meaningfully reduce sexual offending. So, there is some facts and studies to support my argument today. Now, let’s move on to some options that we could try as a community, as a state, as a nation: restorative justice. I’m not sure if you’ve heard of that.

[00:03:14] But I’m a fan. I support restorative justice when possible and in a safe atmosphere. It has become more popular in recent years as the criminal justice reform movement has gained some steam. Though its roots, which is interesting. It can be traced back to indigenous communities around the globe.

[00:03:35] Some native communities historically focused more on restoring harmony. After a violation rather than punishment. In fact, first nations tribes in Canada and Alaska often used “circles.” To resolve conflicts that considered how the community could be healed after an offense. Now, there is a program that has been established in portions of the United States and Australia and some other countries, but not enough.

[00:04:04] We do not see it enough. It is called “Circles of Support and Accountability,” or CoSA. These involve groups of trained community volunteers who support sex offenders after they’re released from prison. These involve groups of train community volunteers who support sex offenders after they’re released from prison.

[00:04:26] And the research of CoSA suggests that this approach can help reduce re-offending and reintegrate offenders into the community. So that’s some great news that is very positive. So, let’s talk about it. More community volunteers who have worked with sex offenders in CoSA have reported positive outcomes from the experience.

[00:04:44] It has increased, you know, a sense of community. For the former offender self-worth, which is big. Okay. So, let us back this up. Does CoSA, “Circles of Support and Accountability,” could it work? And I think it could…definitely. “Results from a Randomized Controlled Trial in Minnesota, Journal of Experimental Criminology.”

[00:05:06] That is the actual title of the study. Listen to this. You’re not going to believe this. I’m like… it made me excited, happy about it. But I wonder why it’s not implemented in more places. The results suggest CoSA significantly reduced sexual recidivism lowering the risk of rearrest for a new offense by get this…

[00:05:30] I cannot believe it is 88%! Well, I can believe it because I know the program works and there’s proof. Also, the program has generated an estimated 2 million in cost savings to the state resulting in a benefit of over $40,000 per participant. So, it’s cheaper and has better results for keeping the community safer.

[00:05:55] Now, there are some people that are against this. I recently came upon an article by Michael Dulce. He is on the board of directors of the “Florida Council Against Sexual Violence” and was the former political committee chair of Protect our Kids. First, what words stuck out in that sentence?

[00:06:14] Florida. I’m sorry if you’re, if you’re listening from Florida. I apologize, but it has to be the worst state to live as a registrant. Florida is the worst. Anyway, what does Michael say about the CoSA program or restorative justice in general? He said I quote, “the reality is that I believe the majority of sex offenders are largely incapable of empathy.”

[00:06:40] That’s a lie. “Two thirds of male sex offenders will re-offend if they are not treated and restrained as criminals.” Okay, my findings against that is a study done and they studied about 9,600 sex offenders released from prison. In 1994, 3.5% were reconvicted for a sex crime, only 3.5%.

[00:07:11] Now what Michael is referring to when he says, “two thirds of male offenders will re-offend.” That is true, but it is 24% were reconvicted for an offense of any kind during the follow-up period, not a sexual offense. He is making it sound like two thirds of male sex offenders will do another sex offense again.

[00:07:38] No, it’s actually 3.5%. Then the study goes on here: nearly four out of every 10 sex offenders in the study were returned to prison within three years of the release, due to the commission of a new crime or a technical violation of the release conditions. That happens a lot. You’re on probation.

[00:07:59] You’re on parole. You go back to prison, but not necessarily for another sex offense. It could be a technical violation. That is technically not a crime, but it’s against your agreement. So, when I read that article by Michael Dolce, I do not know how to pronounce his last name. It just made me pretty upset.

[00:08:16] And, there’s proof that his findings were a little bit how should I say it? Not as accurate and he didn’t write it out correctly as he should have because it can be very misleading. Okay. So, the second type of alternative program that can be implemented instead of the sex offender registry is called chaperone programs.

[00:08:38] Now these programs are currently available in sections and parts of the U S. Although their nature varies depending on according to their location. I don’t have where they’re available at this point, but I can try to get them. These programs involve the identification and training of offenders, family members, or significant others who agree to accompany the offender during public outings on a volunteer basis. They also undertake training to help them identify the signs of relapse.

[00:09:06] The difference between the groups they did a study on chaperone programs. And there’s not a lot of studies that have been done. In fact, I can only find one, but the difference between the groups that were studied was statistically significant in relation to recidivism, to chaperoned offenders in the study, self-reported engaging in sexual deviancy, too.

[00:09:32] Chaperone defenders compared with nine from the non-chaperone group. Okay. So. I know this gets a little confusing. I’m throwing a lot of numbers out in this podcast, but so two vs nine, the study was done by Farrell. His last name is Farrell. I don’t know I said it was he, but she argued, it provides support for previous research: “suggesting that offenders receive support from family or significant others when released from prison are less likely to take part in the behaviors that originally contributed to their imprisonment.”

[00:10:09] Imprisonment and quote for the third and final suggestion is support and awareness groups. Now, these groups use a sex offender’s existing support network to foster pro social support and promote effective reintegration. It is little bit similar to the chaperone programs. But it’s also different because the members of the support and awareness groups are identified by the offender during treatment.

[00:10:39] And these people may include spouses, other family members, colleagues, friends, neighbors, respected community members with whom they have an existing supportive relationship. Unlike CoSA, the support provided by the support and awareness groups do not take place in a structured manner through like weekly meetings.

[00:11:01] It’s done more on a less formal basis. So that is an option that has been proven. So, wrapping this up here. We know that the sex offender registry does not work. There are numerous studies that show and prove that the registry does not make our community safer. It is expensive and full of errors.

[00:11:24] It brings shame upon the offender and their families. It has numerous collateral damage effects. There are minors and youth on the registry that affect their future in college work. And I just listed three options that prove that they help offenders to not re-offend. I’m going to leave some links on my website.

[00:11:55] theoutspokenoffender.com. Go to my website. If the links are not on this podcast description, please go my blog site. You will see a blog post about this, and I am going to link to some of these reports and studies that I’ve talked about in this podcast, because I want you to be able to read them and have access to them.

[00:12:13] So there you go “Abolish the Sex Offender Registry – Let’s Try These Options Instead.” Have a great week. I’m The Outspoken Offender.

[00:12:28] It’s The Outspoken Offender Podcast.

[00:12:34] My hope is to encourage registered citizens, former inmates, and anyone facing stereotypes and social ostracism to move beyond society’s labels. Thanks for listening to the podcast. I’m The Outspoken Offender. You can find me on YouTube and Twitter. Remember you are not your label.