Sunday, August 19, 2012

fail to register; go back to prison

This man was sentenced to 30 months in a federal prison because he did not register for the sex offender registry when he moved to a new city. He served out his sentences for earlier convictions and he isn't accused of any further sexual wrongdoings.

He had moved to his new city for a job. I don't know his story except for what is in that brief article; it is possible that finding a job was very difficult for him as a felon on the sex offender registry. His job is gone now. Instead of letting him be a contributing citizen, his registration requirements have turned him into a cost to society. For two and a half years, we will pay for the cost of incarcerating him.

Could his earlier crimes have been heinous? Sure. I don't know. Do we require all violent criminals to register? No. Sex offenders are treated as if they all present an inordinate danger to society. More danger than those who commit murders, more dangerous than those who commit armed robbery.

This man, and all sex offenders, are not required to register because of the crimes they committed or because they are particularly dangerous. If that were true, a decision would be made about the degree of danger presented by each offender. Instead, everyone convicted of a crime that is considered a sex offense must register. For example, a violent rapist must register and someone who looked at child porn must also register. No distinction is made between the two crimes even though one is violent and one is not. Both offenders have their addresses published and both are labeled in public as sex offenders.

This man will spend two and a half years in prison not because he is dangerous but because he didn't register. They have made an administrative detail into a crime.

1 comment:

Dani said...

"Do we require all violent criminals to register?"

My state has a registry for those convicted of murder
and a registry for those convicted of arson as well
as the sex offender registry so yes some states do make
violent offenders register.