If you have been convicted of and served your sentence for a sex crime, you will most likely still be subjected to 10 or more years of being a registered sex offender. Everyone in your neighborhood may know exactly what you were accused of doing. It may be next to impossible to hold down a job, make friends or date, or even rebuild some sort of life while you remain on the sex offender registry. A new study has recently been published that indicates that the offender registry program could actually lead to more sex crime recidivism.
The sex offender registry dates back to 1994 after a 7-year-old girl was allegedly raped and murdered. The man suspected of killing the girl had previously served time for sex crimes and was out on parole at the time of the crime. The national outcry was tremendous and Congress stepped in to require states to keep a sex offender registry. In 2007, Congress acted again to create a national sex offender registry that allows anyone to search for sex offenders in all states.
The study discovered a problem with the registry, however. When someone is living in an area where he or she is treated badly because everyone knows he or she had previously been convicted of a sex crime, the threat of prison is downsized. One of the researchers believes that some people on the registry might even find prison more appealing than freedom because they will be provided with security, a bed and meals.
While many states are requiring more information from people previously convicted of sex crimes, including what social networks they use and their employer's address, this new study indicates that communities are possibly increasing the rate of recidivism. It seems the more you know about your neighbors does not make you safer.
Source: Detroit Free Press, "Brian Dickerson: Does casting out sex offenders encourage them to offend again?," Brian Dickerson, Oct. 2, 2011