This post by Diane DIamond has some good points and also some “off the mark” points. Excerpts of the good are below, but go to the site and read the full article. If anyone feels compelled to correct her on some of her mistakes (such as the use of the word Pedophile), her information is on the bottom.
While the requirements and restrictions vary from state to state, it is undeniable that this system is destroying lives and taxing both public safety and social welfare programs. It’s a lifelong sentence, straight out of “The Scarlet Letter.”
Registrants must check in with law enforcement for decades after the offense. Their case details and personal information is shared with the public, including where they work and live. This, of course, is information any employer or landlord will see. The registrant cannot travel without checking in with another police department, nor can he or she be anywhere near where a child might be (even if their offense didn’t include a child). This can include their own home, a school, a fast food restaurant, a church, a theater or a mall. This can greatly restrict where a registrant can work or live. It can also make them targets of vigilante justice.
In 1999, a high school student in Oklahoma jokingly flashed female classmates and was arrested for indecent exposure. He was jailed for four months and ordered to register as a sex offender for at least a decade. The kid committed suicide a month before his 20th birthday.
In 2002, a woman in Georgia was convicted of sexual offenses for allowing her 15-year-old daughter to have sex in their home. She was not sentenced to jail, but she was forced onto the sex offenders registry. Three of her children were put in foster care, and she had to leave the family home to live in a trailer “way off on a dirt road.”
In 2016, Ernest Leap of Oakview, Missouri, finally won a gubernatorial pardon for a crime both he and his two sons insisted never happened. For 27 years, Leap had to live with the moniker “child molester,” following a most ugly divorce. Ernest had won custody of his young boys, but they would later tell the court their mother had forced them to lie about their father’s molestation.
Its cases like these that make it clear every state needs to follow Michigan’s lead and check the fairness of their sex offender registries. Cut the bloat, and focus monitoring on the most dangerous sex criminals among us.