A new bill in Missouri has already passed the House and is making it’s way through the Senate. The bill would create a tiered system, which would allow lower-level offenders to be removed from the registry after 10 years, level two after 25 and only keep the highest level on for life, which is the case now.
Rep. Kurt Bahr, R-St. Charles, is sponsoring the bill, which includes three components: It would require stricter background checks for those wishing to work in a childcare facility. It would impose a mandatory life sentence without eligibility for parole for a person convicted of a predatory sexual offense. And it would create a tiered system to allow sex offenders to petition to be removed from the sex offender registry.
There are approximately 15,500 active sex offenders in the state (not including those who are incarcerated. If the state does nothing to allow the lower level, lower risk offenders to fall off, that number will swell to unmanageable counts. Also, as we’ve been preaching forever, a bloated registry only dilutes the public’s focus from those who they need to focus on the most.
Some registrants (obviously those who would fall into the lower levels) are strongly behind the bill. Others (who would fall into the third tier) are against it, because no individualized risk assessment is conducted. Even someone who did a heinous act decades ago, who has gone through therapy and led an offense-free life since, should earn the right to be removed. The science supports that.
At minimum, this bill is a step in the right direction.