Saturday, August 4, 2018

Failure to Comply Arrests Reveal Flaws in Sex Offender Registries

In an article at the Appeal, Joshua Vaughn notes that in just one Pennsylvania county, in one year, more than three times as many people on the sex offender registry were charged with failing to comply with registry requirements as were charged with new sex crimes.
Hundreds of people every year in Pennsylvania are arrested and face incarceration for failing to comply with sex offender registry requirements. People on the registry are required to provide their address, work information, information about vehicles they drive, social media accounts, and other personal information, as well as regularly have their photograph taken by police. When any of that information changes, police must be notified within three days. The Appeal identified nearly 900 criminal cases where a defendant was charged with failure to comply with sex offender registry requirements in Pennsylvania in 2016 alone. 
But sex offender registry laws do not increase public safety, says Chrysanthi Leon, associate professor of sociology and criminal justice at the University of Delaware. “We’re really creating a false sense of security for ourselves when we convince ourselves that by detecting and naming and then further surveilling this small group of people will solve any problems,” Leon told The Appeal. Leon said most charged sexual offenses are committed by first-time sexual offenders and not by people who are on the registry.
Read the full article at the Appeal

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