Why The Sex Offender Registry Should Be Abolished

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Why The Sex Offender Registry Should Be Abolished

In their report, No Easy Answers, The Human Rights Watch states:

“Current registration, community notification, and residency restriction laws may be counterproductive, impeding rather than promoting public safety.”

The sex offender registry should be abolished. In this educational video, I provide reasons why the registry causes more harm for ex-offenders and victims. In addition, I list accurate statistics proving that the registry does not solve the root of the problem: child abuse. I also show educational alternatives for both parents and children.

This video can also be used for organizations and nonprofits in an educational setting.

Video Transcript

Welcome to the podcast (video).

I appreciate you subscribing. If you haven’t already click the button down there, somewhere. And I would love for you to share the channel and like it too so that helps me out a lot.

What am I talking about today? Well, it is the sex offender registry and more specifically why it needs to be abolished. And why it needs to be removed from the system in the United States.

Here are some topics. I’m going to be discussing registrants – negative effects for those individuals. Families – collateral damage. Verification – showing you today in this video why the registration does not protect children. And then the solution – some alternatives to the registry.

So I’ll be going over those topics over the next little while and let’s talk about the United States. Does every state have the registry? Yes. Some form of sex offender registry is in place and according to well 800, almost a million people are on the registry 859,000. I think that’s 300 a hundred and fifty nine thousand, three hundred people on the registry as of 2016. That was about four or five years ago so we know that number is a lot higher. Every state has some form of registry and every state is different on how it applies that. There are some states with no distance living restrictions. Some states say hey, you can’t live next to a park or you can’t even go to a park. It’s really going to depend on each state and where you live, but for this example and this demonstration all 50 states have some form of sex offender registry.

Okay. So a brief timeline, I can’t go through of course every situation that’s happened over the last 20 or 30 years, but this gives you an idea. And a lot of these graphics are color coded as we go through just to give you a heads up on that.

So in 1994, Jacob Wetterling Crimes against Children and Sexually Violent Offender Registration Act put into place. And then in 1996 this mandated public disclosure of information about registered sex offenders, when required to protect the public. So before that it was not public. And if I’m not mistaken originally the whole idea of the registry was not to make it public. It was for police only but because of that law that was in 1996 it said hey we need to make this public for the safety of communities. 

In 1998 the Bureau of Justice assistance carry out the sex offender management assistant program to help eligible states comply with the registration, or the requirements rather. And then in 2006 was a big year. I remember this because of course that was the year I was arrested. And in 2007 I was convicted. But in 2006 I was arrested and I remember my attorney talking about it. Hey, there’s some new laws coming down. This is the Adam Walsh Act. It created a new baseline of sex offender registration and notification standards.

And in 2016 was another big year. You may be familiar with International Megan’s Law. That was in 2016. It requires offenders to provide advance notice of any intended international travel. And so there’s I don’t know what it looks like but there’s some kind of code that goes on to your passport. That was in 2016. So it has progressed over the years and you know, it didn’t start in 1994. The registry started before that. But in 1996, that’s what I became more public and more public shaming started to develop. All that negative stuff.

So let’s talk about more negative effects for people required to register. This is a huge hurdle. I know this, you may know this. When it comes to jobs and housing and social status, they’re all affected for the registrant. And I took a look at some statistics here.

I’m sorry. I’m looking over to my screen. But 80%… in these the studies are at the top there right below the green title. And it says 80% of participants noted financial burdens and with employment challenges. due to being registered during integration back into society. 80% from this study of the registrants surveyed. That is a huge number. That is a major number.

When it comes to housing due to the local resident restrictions, 75% of the registrants surveyed were subject to some kind of local residency restriction. And that really limits your choice for housing, especially rental housing. You know that apartment complex is 500 feet from the daycare. Can’t live there, blah blah blah, and on and on. 

And then the social negative impact of the registry is huge for the registrants surveyed in this study here. 60% said they had some kind of a negative emotional and psychological factor, especially during reintegration from prison or confinement into society.

And those are really the major points there: jobs, housing and the social impact, social rejection, ostracism. There’s many names. So let’s go on. Let’s talk about unemployment. This was interesting when I saw this. Now this number here…it says here formerly incarcerated people. So this does include people that have a sex offense that are you know, generally just a felony. But the rate for unemployed formerly incarcerated people in the United States is 27%. 27%. I could not find a statistic specifically for registrants. But this gives you an idea that it is a huge problem. 27% of the people surveyed in this prison policy initiative study. You see at the bottom there 27% said hey, I can’t find a job. I have no job. 

When it comes to housing I have personally, you know, had some major issues with this. And my offense is now almost 14 years old. It is a huge problem because what we’re seeing are landlords are saying hey, if your felony is five years old, seven years old, maybe 10, will rent to you. But then they put a stipulation in their you know, they’re stupid bylaws or whatever it is. Well, if you’re on the sex offender registry, no way you can live here.

So in another study that I found. What are the landlord’s attitudes to people on the registry? This is specific to people on the registry. 85% of these landlords surveyed said NO, I would not rent to a registrant, someone on the sex offender registry. No, they’re not going to do it. I wouldn’t be afraid to say that’s even higher. It’s very difficult, very difficult. And you know as this happens, when people on the registry can’t find housing we see of course homelessness.

And this is courtesy of The Marshall Project. Just shows some video recently of homeless offenders in Miami-Dade County.

And you know, if we can’t find housing, if people on the registry can’t find housing those are the things that are going to happen. And it’s going to be even more of a negative effect and it’s not going to help victims. It’s not going to help registrants and it’s not going to help families.

So let’s talk about the negative social effects. What are some things that could happen when you’re on the registry? Well a lot of things but I want to read this here. Sex offenders… and I apologize. I know I’m saying sex offenders, but this is a specific quote. 

“Sex offenders are often stigmatized in their communities as the public nature of their offense leads to these individuals becoming labeled as pedophiles or perverts by other community members.”

A lot of times the media just kind of puts that all together. You know, hey, he’s a sex offender. He’s also a pedophile. Well, no, that’s not necessarily true. Of course not. Also, 

“The primary relevance of stigmatization.”

I can’t even say that word. I’m sorry. 

“Is that it shuns offenders and treats them as outcasts and may provoke a rebellious and criminal reaction from them.”

That’s interesting. So what they’re saying here is the more you stigmatize, the more the community shuns you there is evidence that the person being stigmatized, the offender is going to act out. And could cause more violence, could cause more issues in the community.

Let’s go back to that. I think that was pretty much it for that but negative social effects. We know that definitely happens because of the registry. This is something that I have not looked into until today. Suicide among people required to register. And this is from a 2003 study. That is the most recent I can find. Suicide prevention in sex offenders may not be a priority in our society due to the nature of the offense which diminishes the chances to develop suitable prevention efforts. And I agree with that comment. Okay in this study 17% of registrants attempted to end their life at some point. 

And you know, I’m going to say something here. I don’t even know how to bring this up. It just came to the top of my head. A lot of people may be watching right now saying I don’t care if they kill themselves, let them kill themselves, their pedophiles or whatever. You know this anger that people have well, that’s I want to swear but I don’t want to get trouble with YouTube, but that’s ridiculous. We don’t know the stories behind these offenses. A large majority too on the registry are children. And so we need to look at that. I’ll show you that in a second too. So, it’s that anger that is extremely frustrating for me. And we I don’t know I’m just rambling. But it’s a big problem, suicide among people required to register and it also tells us 15% experience suicidal ideation, but did not attempt suicide,  So, that is something that I am new to, those statistics, and that is extremely upsetting.

So now I want to move to the verification stage. Why the sex offender registry should be abolished. Well, here are some quotes from some people and this was from the sexual assault of young children as reported to law enforcement. “

“93% of all sex crimes against children are committed by someone known to the victim such as a family member friend or community member.”

So what does that say? Well, 93% of people of sex crimes against children are the victim knows the perpetrator. And so the registry is not going to solve that issue. 

A second verification, 

“Current registration, community notification and residency restriction laws may be counterproductive impeding rather than promoting public safety.”

I talked about that just a few minutes ago. That it could actually cause more problems in the community and cause more issues and a higher chance possibly for more offenses to occur. So here’s a third verification of why the sex offender registry does not protect children. 

“The logic model behind these restrictions appears, very flawed given that most sexual abuse occurs within established family and social networks and also that motivated offenders wherever they happen to live can go where they wish in search of victims.”

The residency restrictions don’t do anything. 1,000 feet, 500 feet. So these are quotes/statistics that are extremely important and shows that these restrictions and the registry just doesn’t work. It doesn’t get to the root of the cause of the problem which is sex crimes, child abuse things like that. And let me show you this next graphic.

This is interesting because many child safety and rape prevention advocates believe that millions of dollars are being misspent on registration, people. This is child and safety rape prevention advocates saying money is being wasted on the registration and also community notification programs that do not get at the real causes of child sexual abuse and adult sexual violence.

Yeah. I agree. We need to do other things. 96% of all sex crimes are measured by first-time offenders not people on the registry. 96%. Of course, we don’t want that 4% but that’s still high. 96%. The reporting of sexual crimes, 32% of sexual assaults against persons 12 or older were reported to law enforcement. Only 32%. So we have work to do. That 32% that I just mentioned shows we need more education and the things that we’re doing are not working.

Some more child abuse statistics and facts. This is, this is sad. This is very depressing. The United States has one of the highest rate or worst records losing on average between four and seven children every day to child abuse and neglect. That is the worst statistic of this whole video. You can read the rest there. A report of child abuse is made every 10 seconds.

So this is a huge problem. We know it. You know it. The whole nation knows it. Victims know it.  Something different has to be done and here are some ideas that I’ve come up with and some other researchers have come up with. 

Alternatives to the registry. More education. More education for children about sexual abuse at an early age. This will help increase reporting. Remember 32% I just mentioned. So it’ll increase reporting. Teach adults about sexual grooming. So if they’re around children, they may be able to identify something. Better education equals earlier detection. When a organization is working with children, what about including policies on sexual abuse prevention? Now some are already doing this, but maybe we need more. More conversations. Create a world without sexual violence for our children. More conversations. It comes down to education.

And so there are some alternatives that may help and may replace the registry one day. It would be a smarter thing to do rather than spending lots of money and causing many, many issues for many people.

Okay, so children on the sex offender registry. We don’t want to forget about this now. This could be a whole different video, but I want to briefly mention that there are many children on the sex offender registry. Okay, even as young as nine years old according to the Human Rights Watch. Children as young as nine are being branded a sex offender.

Youth registration – look at how much it costs. The United States has an annual cost of 3 billion dollars. You know how much that money could be spent on education? I mean, come on so much better. And then the huge problem here is the social labeling. Kids as sex offenders does not increase public safety because the recidivism rates for youth are below 3%. These are true facts. This is according to the Juvenile Law Center in Philadelphia.

I actually want to go back just a little bit because I want to talk about the collateral damage to families on my last few slides. It’s a huge problem. And if you’re not familiar with this study, Collateral Damage: Family Members of Registered Sex Offenders. Search that and you’ll find it, and you’ll see these statistics. 44% of family members with a registrant have been threatened or harassed in this specific study. 44%. How about 82% at the top of the graph there. My family member, the registrant, had a very hard time finding a job because of Megan’s Law and all the restrictions that come along with it and that creates a huge financial burden.

I apologize. I noticed that I skipped a few graphics. So I’m going back to them. Collateral damage to children. Okay. So this is collateral damage to children because their parents are on the registry. Okay. So one of their parents or both are on the registry. The psychosocial impact in this study is the same one, Collateral Damage: Family Members of Registered Sex Offenders. Anger developing and this is I’m probably figuring more anger than normal. 80% depression, 77%. It’s color coded as you can see. Fear on the right side 63%. Ridicule. Probably, you know bullying at school. Kids saying, I found out your dad was on the registry. 59%. Oh my goodness.

So that shows the collateral damage to families and to children and I want to make sure I didn’t skip any graphs here because they’re extremely important. No, it looks like that’s it. I do want to mention something though. And you can go on my website: theoutspokenoffender.com. I have a YouTube channel. I have the podcast. There’s a community. Help and support website. I also have consulting for people that need help with the registry research, light legal work, things like that. Life coaching. Resources available. And the blogs are also on my site: theoutspokenoffender.com and also: theoutspokenconsultant.com.

And so those are a few channels, websites rather that you can go to for more information. I want to thank you for joining me on this. This is a lot of numbers, a lot of statistics, but I hope this gets out to the public and educates people that may be confused about the registry. Maybe that they don’t understand that the registry doesn’t help protect children in society.

All right, share the video I’d love for you to do that and I will talk to you soon. I’m The Outspoken Offender. Have a great night.

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