An opinion piece in response to a recent article in the Miami Herald was published today.
The text of the response and an image of the article as it appeared are below.
Your December 31, 2018 article, “Report: Number of sex offenders living in Florida is growing.” correctly points out that the Office of Program Policy Analysis and Government Accountability (OPPAGA) does not include any explanation for the rise in the number of sex offenders in our State. However, the reason is obvious. Florida is one of only a small handful of states that requires people to register for the duration of their life.
When you combine new sex offenders being continuously added to the registry with zero attrition, it’s no wonder the numbers have grown (and will continue to grow) at such a fast pace.
Florida has also increased the number of offenses that require registration. Since it was enacted on October 1, 1997, the number of offenses that will land you on our State’s sex offender registry has more than tripled. The 1997 version of Fla. Stat. 943.0435 had eight qualifying offenses, the 2018 version has twenty qualifying offenses!
It is time Florida followed in the footsteps of states such as California and Missouri, who recently enacted a tiered registry. We need to stop wasting millions of taxpayer dollars on something that research has consistently demonstrated is ineffective. If not, the registry will only become more bloated and untenable than it already is.
Yeah, I wondering my crime and sentencing was before the FL registry was enacted, before OCt 1, 1997. No mention of having to register and nothing mentioned during my plea agreement. Also Adjudication withheld was proposed and it turns out that it means nothing, literally fooling me into thinking I was going to do my 1 year Comm Control and 6 years probation. Now Im told I need to wait 20 years til after released from supervision or from date of crime ? It seems Im eligible for this relief.
Even though FLA keeps dead registrants on the registry for one year post-mortum to inform any and everyone they are a deceased person on the registry, is there really a need to do so? It merely inflates the state’s number as well.
If the state pays for this one year registry, then does this show the state is truly into the registry for financial gain since no one pays for a deceased person’s registration renewal and the person who does the post-mortum registry work is already paid to work in the LE office?
I don’t get your newspaper and with my eyesight I am having a hard time reading the newsprint. Would you reprint or rewrite what was in the article here on your site please
It was rewritten above
(a bit off topic) Could someone who is actually a resident of Florida please forward this link below to Any Florida based politicians?
They can educate themselves and then provide a response to the blog. Many people would love to know what they think.
Thank you, Gail!
As for implementing a tiered system, it would depend upon which method is used as to who it would benefit most. In cases where only possession of child pornography was the reason for being on the registry, a conviction-based tier structure, as per AWA, would render these folks a justifiable low risk.
However, using a risk tool, a child pornographer could be considered an above average risk offender due to prosecutorial bloating of the counts of the same offense and how “victim” is defined.
May I give just a slight bit of constructive criticism though? I don’t think anyone should ever say “$EX offender”. It is nothing but calling people names and it is a weapon of war. It is also inaccurate to call people listed on the Registries that.
I do realize that when a person has just committed a $EX offense, that it is appropriate to call that person an “offender” or a “$EX offender” for some amount of time. But the term “$EX offender” itself has just been so weaponized that I think it should always be avoided. Perhaps your sentences could’ve been something like?:
“… the rise in the number of Registered People in our State.”
“When you combine newly convicted people …”
Also, I don’t think “tiering” should ever be done. That is nothing but trying to polish a huge pile of excrement. Further, it is nothing but sacrificing some people so that others may be free. I don’t think it’s moral.
I do expect tiering will continue though. It does give some people an illusion that they are actually doing something useful, moral, and American. But it’s the opposite.
I agree, I just say a person with a sexual offense. I don’t recall ever using the term, willingly, of “sex offender”. Putting damn unwarranted labels on people isn’t what I believe Adults should be doing in the ‘Land of the Free’, or whatever the phrase is these days.
Thank you for taking the time to write and submit that. Glad to see they actually printed it. NARSOL has a good response on this as well.
My only thought is at least a tier system subdivides registrants and provides an exit strategy for some. This is a small step to be sure but the lies and mis-information die long, slow deaths. I think once the changes start they will be slow and small but gain momentum.
Such a well-done response.
I should mention that, in the absence of complete abolition, a tiered registry is the way to do it, IF done properly.
That includes, tiers that are risk-based rather than offense-based (the latter being a single narrow dimension of risk); legal mechanism for contesting and updating one’s risk level as the offender rehabilitates over time; and different laws associated with different tiers, so that LE cannot simply impose their will indiscriminately (Tier 1 to include privacy laws and automatic removal, for ex.).
Some states with tiers, do this properly, and some don’t, which is why tiers can be meaningful or not, depending.
It is about time that people wake up and realize that the registry is costing them a lot of money and does nothing to keep anyone safe. As a matter of fact it not only put the offender in danger but it also put their family in danger. They can’t get a job because of it and they wind up on welfare which even cost you more money, If the can’t get welfare then they have no option but to steal or rob to survive.
The Registries also put all of society (i.e. all of us, everyone) in a lot more danger than they would be than if the Registries did not exist. That is very clear.
The local St. Augustine Record made this article a front page headline. I wanted to respond but did not know what to say. How can I submit the FAC response to them?
You can paraphrase what was written.
Again, more common sense, keep adding and never take off is not sustainable. Or useful even.
I would be even more impressed if they actually pointed out how the proactive police stings are also adding completely innocent citizens to the registry, and prisons!
But it’s still a baby step. The public is becoming aware. Slowly.
Agree with Kathleen. Pro-active police stings add completely innocent citizens to the registry and prisons! These police stings need to be banned. They are unconstitutional as well as the registry requirements for those who are entrapped by these law enforcement officials behind these stings.
If the law would do their job there would not be a registry. It is the laws job to keep an eye on things not the public. The law wants the registry because it lets them sit on their cans and let the public do their job for them.
The main reason FAC is the premier org representing our cause. Our President! Thanks for publicly shining the truth!
It should also be noted that the other reason (if not the MAIN reason) for the incredible growth of the registry in Florida is that once on you are never removed – EVEN WHEN YOU MOVE OUT OF THE STATE NEVER TO RETURN!
You can go to for a trip to Disney world and never even reside in the state. You registry for the trip as per law so you do your part…little do most realize that once on the Florida SO registry they are on for life! Yes – even if you only registered for a once in a lifetime visit to the Sunshine state – you are listed for life.
If ONLY PERSONS who lived in the state were listed the LIST WOULD BE CUT IN HALF! It would lose that fear factor of a seemingly huge population of perverts when it is simply a life told be politician like Senator Lauren Book to manipulate the public with false data and outright lies!
I’ve registered in 4 different states and i’m still on all of the other states registries.
Thank you for writing and submitting this great piece, Gail!
My only disagreement is the suggestion to enact a tiered registry. Look at other states that use tiered systems. The “registry nazis” in LE and the general public doesn’t distinguish and could care less what tier a registrant carries. Many of them don’t make their tier 1s available to the public, yet there are those that insist they should. Tiers are often based on the offense(s) of conviction or mere record review with little or no evaluation of the individual concerned or the victim(s) of said crime. Some will automatically classify a registrant as a predator if his conviction was in another state. Disputing or appealing classification is always extraordinarily difficult (if not impossible) even with an attorney, which most registrants can’t afford.
After already acknowledging that the registry is ineffective, it doesn’t make much sense to suggest a procedure that only requires more resources to enact and ultimately makes no difference in the effectiveness of an already useless registry.
Exactly. And it’s not moral either.
The registry is illegal and they know it. These people have already paid for their mistake in prison . That is all needed to pay for their mistake. Their is suppose o be equal justice for all. They do not put other people on the registry that have made other mistakes. This is double jeopardy.
I’m interested to know their response, IF any. Thanks for sharing this.