A cursory glance at the Michigan Sex Offender Registry may reveal that someone who’s been convicted of a sex crime lives near you.

Now what?

Advocates for reforming the registry say this publicly available information not only doesn’t make communities safer, it actually has the potential to make them more dangerous.

Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel recently issued a legal brief that concluded the registry is harmful overall and should be revised by the legislature.

In her published opinion, Nessel said the registry is a form of ongoing “public shaming‘ that prevents offenders from re-assimilating into society, thereby increasing their chances of re-offending. She points out that no other crime carries a requirement of registration, including murder.

Nessel also is critical of the registry’s relevance, considering how few instances of criminal sexual conduct occur involving someone who is unrelated but happens to live in the same neighborhood as a victim.

“Significantly, although 70% of all men in prison for a sex crime were men whose victim was a child, in almost all of the child-victim cases the child was the prisoner’s child or a relative,‘ Nessel wrote. “Thus, although the registry’s focus is on possible dangerousness of strangers, that scenario is rare.‘

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