The Illinois Supreme Court has heard a case to determine if the state’s sex offense registry’s lifetime registration is constitutional. The case involves a man convicted in 2003 of a sex crime. With no additional criminal charges since then, his greatest challenges have been living with registration requirements and residency restrictions.
Getting straight to the issues everyone forced to register has to manage, a lower court judge cited the lack of rationale for residency restrictions. He cited the examples of some people being grandfathered in while others aren’t and that a registrant is prohibited from living next to a school or day care, but could be living next to a family with many children.
Like eyes opening one by one across the country, a small awareness in courts is taking hold that lifetime registration requirements eventually stop serving any purpose other than permanent punishment. Judges are starting to see study after study show the low risk of recidivism as offenders age further away from their offense, yet laws are written to treat offenders as if their crime were yesterday.
Let’s hope this awakening spreads rapidly.