Sunday, June 5, 2016

Nevada about to blunder forward with a wrong-headed law

To comply with the federal Adam Walsh Child Protection and Safety Act, Nevada will be adding hundreds of names to the sex offender registry, starting July 1.

Not only will hundreds of names be added but the method of categorizing offenders will change. Currently, each offender is assessed to determine the risk of reoffense and categorized accordingly. Those in Tier 1 have been assessed as low risk and do not appear on the online registry.

Now, all sex offenders will be on the website.
Under the new law, tier levels are based on a conviction and age of the victim.
There will be no attempt to look at each offender to determine how likely it is that he will reoffend.
Because the law is retroactive to 1956, many offenders already deemed by a judge to be no threat to the community will have to register and have their names, photos and addresses available for public scrutiny.
Retroactive to 1956! Sixty years ago. Long enough to prove risk of reoffense by not reoffending. How much clearer can it be?

People who have lived law-abiding lives for decades will now be exposed on the registry. Families will need to explain crimes committed ages ago, long before children and grandchildren were born.

Registered sex offenders will lose jobs, lose housing, and almost certainly lose relationships because of the changes to the registry.

The interest of public safety is better served by making it  more possible for RSOs to have a place to live, a job, and community support--not by passing laws that make it less possible.
Under the old system, 1,923 were considered Tier 1, or low-risk offenders. That number declines to 1,646 under the new assessment. Tier 1 offenders are required to register for 15 years and appear annually in person at a local law enforcement agency to update and verify their information. 
The number of Tier 2 offenders goes from 2,648 to 1,790. They must report every six months for 25 years. 
Tier 3 offenders jump to 3,014 from 239 under the old classification system, and are required to report in person every 90 days.
Nevada will go from having 239 on the high risk tier to over twelve times as many on the highest tier. Not because the 2775 people added to the highest tier are more dangerous than they used to be, remember, but because categorization no longer takes into account anything about them except their crimes.
Critics argue the law does not take into consideration the age of the offender or circumstances. A bill to try to fix some of the problems was passed by the 2015 Legislature but vetoed by Republican Gov. Brian Sandoval because it also eliminated a requirement that certain offenders stay at least 500 feet away from schools, parks and other places frequented by children.
When a legislature starts down the path toward bad law, it seems they can only make it worse.

1 comment:

Margaret Moon said...

This is incredibly idiotic! I wonder who bankrolled this horrible law? Someone always does. And legislators will brag about their part in it.
You mention that 60 years is certainly enough time to prove non- recidivism, that's true. Dr.Karl Hansen, the highest ranked researcher and authority on this issue, has stated that after seventeen years even the highest level of offenders are no more likely to offend than any citizen on the street! And lower level offenders after much less time.
This new law will cost taxpayers mountains of money and, even worse, it will ruin citizens who have led law-abiding lives for decades. And the destruction doesn't stop there, families will suffer as well. All of this with no effect on the safety of the citizens of Nevada. What Boneheads!