I think it makes sense that the police have the information they need to monitor my whereabouts. I committed a crime, and I accept that consequence. That consequence makes sense. Indeed, at least some registrants convicted of sexually violent crimes agree that registering with local law enforcement makes sense.
They should monitor me. I have no problem going down to the police station to register. This chapter describes who is required to register, for what, and for how long. The Role of Federal Law While a few states have had sex offender registries since the s, most states began creating registries in the s. Federal law now requires states to maintain sex offender registries and has limited state discretion regarding who must register, and for how long.
In the US Congress passed the Jacob Wetterling Crimes against Children and Sexually Violent Offender Registration Act, named after an year-old boy who was abducted at gunpoint while riding his bike near his home. The Adam Walsh Act significantly expands the federal requirements of who must register as a sex offender. The Adam Walsh Act creates three tiers or levels of registrants, determined solely by the conviction offense, with Tier I crimes the least serious and Tier III crimes the most serious.
The tiers dictate the duration of the registry requirement. A registrant must not only register with local law enforcement in the jurisdiction where he or she resides, but must also register in the jurisdiction where he or she is employed or and goes to school. So, for example, a man convicted of soliciting an underage prostitute would have to register in the jurisdiction where he lives and also in the jurisdiction where he is employed if different and provide information about his employer to the police, even if his work does not involve contact with children.
One of the goals of the Act was to create more uniformity among state registration schemes, to avoid some of the confusion as to registration requirements when registrants moved to different states.
However, since the Act does not limit the authority of states to go beyond federal law see below , uniformity will still be elusive. Moreover, the Act will preclude state officials from instituting registration laws they deem more reasonable or effective but which fall below the federal mandate. In Congress authorized the creation of a national registry of offenders convicted of coercive, penetrative sex with anyone, sex with children under the age of 12, recidivists of any sexual offense, and sexually violent predators.
In any other context, my crime would never be considered a sex offense, and I would not be considered a threat to society. Expanding the Definition of Sex Offender Most people assume that a registered sex offender is someone who has sexually abused a child or engaged in a violent sexual assault of an adult. A review of state sex offender registration laws by Human Rights Watch reveals that states require individuals to register as sex offenders even when their conduct did not involve coercion or violence, and may have had little or no connection to sex.
At least five states require registration for adult prostitution-related offenses; At least 13 states require registration for public urination; of those, two limit registration to those who committed the act in view of a minor; At least 29 states require registration for consensual sex between teenagers; and At least 32 states require registration for exposing genitals in public; of those, seven states require the victim to be a minor.
Oklahoma Oklahoma law treats any type of public exposure as a sex offense that triggers 10 years on the sex offender registry, even if the offender had no sexual or lascivious motivation or intent at the time he or she exposed him- or herself. School officials notified the police, who took the young man away in handcuffs. He was incarcerated for four months pending trial, and pled guilty to indecent exposure.
In addition to community service and a five-year suspended sentence, he was required to register as a sex offender. According to his mother, the stigma of the label drove him out of his community and away from his family. He dropped out of high school and moved to Tulsa.
He had a hard time finding and maintaining employment. He was one month away from his 20th birthday. His mother now believes that some consideration should be given to sex offender registration requirements when the charge stems from a nonviolent act.
Yet federal and state registration laws often require individuals to register for far longer. Federal law requires mandatory lifetime registration for some offenders, and some states require lifetime registration for all offenders, with the duration of the registration under both federal and most state laws keyed solely to the crime of conviction. Tier I registrants can petition for removal from registration requirements if they maintain a clean record for 10 years.
But Tier II offenders and Tier III offenders must register for 25 years or the rest of their lives, respectively, regardless of how long they live offense-free or present other evidence of rehabilitation. But the law does not prevent states from setting longer registration requirements. Two of these states, Alabama and South Carolina, do not provide any means by which a registrant might secure release from the registry requirement.
The other 15 states allow some registrants to petition a court for removal from registration requirements after living in the community offense-free for a specific number of years. Six of these states permit lifetime registrants to petition for early release of the registration requirements. How Bad Can Registration Be? I was adjudicated when I was 12 years old. I found some pornographic videos in my parents bedroom they were well hidden but I was a kid and overturned everything and invited some neighbor friends over to watch it while my parents were away.
The neighbor I first invited was 12 years old. He told his friend who was 10 and that person told his friend who was 8. So there were 4 of us all males in a room watching these videos. There was not any force. I was out in I enrolled in college to study criminal justice, then switched to pre-law. I dropped out of classes when I found out the registration laws changed to apply toward college campus police departments.
I could not see myself going in to register with classmates that were working their work study jobs with the campus security department. At age 23 I became Director of Security for a hotel. I got married at 25 and have a child now. I pulled over to sleep a bit during the commute in an empty parking lot. A city policy officer told me to move along, that it was illegal to sleep in a car. She knew that I was a registered sex offender and asked me about the crime I had committed.
I told her about it, and she said she did not believe me. I was pulled over for speeding for doing 80 mph in a 65 mph zone. Even though my crime and offender registration was supposed to remain confidential, the police officer announced that I was a registered sex offender to everyone in the car with me.
That hurt my relationship with the people I was traveling with. When I went to register at the police station, they had me wait in a busy hallway in a court building. I quit shortly after that to save face. This last firing was the reason I started pursuing to get my name off the law enforcement registry. I had had enough. I was taken off the registry at age I am 29, and feel like my life can start over again. Do Registries Help Law Enforcement? Police have used sex offender registries to identify potential suspects when a sex crime has been committed in their jurisdiction.
Yet, given that most sex crimes are not committed by registered offenders See Chapter IV above , the utility of the registries for law enforcement is limited. Last year, Minnesota had sex offender convictions, and only 58 of those individuals had a prior conviction for a sex offense.
Human Rights Watch spoke to a police officer who oversees the sex offender registry for his city. Legislators should replace one-size-fits-all registration with a system that limits registration to those who have been individually determined to pose a high or medium risk to the community.
Carefully tailored, sensible registration is possible. Washington State established its police registry in Has Community Notification Reduced Recidivism? Washington created their registry in In October , while riding his bike with his brother and a friend in St.
Joseph, MN, year-old Jacob Wetterling was abducted by an unknown male assailant. Few suspects were identified; to date, no arrest has been made in the case, and Jacob remains missing. The rest of his remains have never been found, nor has anyone been convicted of his murder.
Tier III registrants are those who committed a sex crime punishable by more than one year in prison and comparable or more severe than aggravated sexual abuse, abusive sexual contact with a child under 13, kidnapping of a child by someone other than the guardian, anysex crime occurring after the offender was a Tier II offender.
Failure to register is also a deportable offense for non-citizens. The FBI maintains the registry. These provisions are distinct from prostitution-related offenses with children. At least 39 states require persons to register as sex offenders for prostitute-related offenses against children.
Criminal Procedure Code Ann. The paper did not report the name of the youth.