Since 1996, federal, state, county, and municipal legislation has required convicted sex offenders to register with law enforcement agencies and has imposed escalating restrictions on the lives of the off enders. These expanding restrictions and the growing number of registered sex offenders, nearly 705,000 in the United States as of December 2009, have led some observers to examine the unanticipated consequences of registries as harmful to ex-offenders, their families, and their communities. Recognizing the unanticipated outcomes of registries is only one of the four more prominent controversies revolving around sexual off ender registries. The other three controversies pertain to issues of: defining the term sex off ender, coping with reentry problems, and questioning whether or not registries work or are effective in keeping children safe from predators.
Sex crimes are a serious problem in the United States. The legal system is lenient with sex criminals, punishing them with insufficiently brief prison sentences that are further abbreviated by the option of parole. Some sex offenders are released back into society after serving as little as one fourth of their prison-time. Recidivism is extremely high among sexual predators; 75% are convicted more than once for sexually abusing young people. Sex offenders commit sexual assault for a variety of reasons. Some rape children because of similar instances of abuse in their own childhoods. Some view rape as a way to gain power over another individual. Some of these criminals act purely on sexual desires. No matter what causes these heinous criminals to commit their crime, their crimes are inexcusable. Unfortunately, utilizing prison as a punishment for sex offenders creates only a temporary fix for the issue of sexual assault and other resolutions need to be investigated to prevent these predators from violating another person.
A sexual predator repeating their crimes is no surprise to the...