Yuma, Arizona’s KYMA and reporter Jenny Day have now taken their third crack at an article that garnered strong reaction from the advocacy community and from experts in sex offender treatment and research.
This third try (which can be read here) still bears the title “Released to Reoffend” implying persons on the registry are being released to inevitably reoffend and also still contains the false statistic attributed to “Amberly’s Place”, only now it includes a walk-back of the 99% statistic and some additional (more accurate) sources.
Still, the article cherry picks statistics from offenses that have a higher rate of recidivism than average as well as people diagnosed with pedophelia, but fails to concede that most on the registry do not fall into those categories and the OVERALL rate of recidivism for ALL people on the registry is definitively less than their original claim of 99%, still less than their cited current rates for the most serious offenses and actually in the single digits.
It’s still not good enough and it does not undo the damage caused by their first version which implied that all on the registry (aside from 1%) will inevitably re-offend.
What we want are two things; first an apology for the article and a retraction – whether Umphress was misquoted or editors didn’t fact check the story before going to broadcast, this was irresponsible journalism; second, another article based on information taken from actual experts. not anecdotal opinion. KYMA needs to look no farther than ATSA for a referral to one.
The overwhelming majority of those on the registry were not “released to reoffend”. MOST were released to live lives as good citizens in their communities, productive members of society and valued family members. It’s what we all should want them to do. Articles like KYMA impede that.