Monday, September 17, 2012

abolish the sex offender registry--embrace the possibility!

Paul Heroux makes good points about the low recidivism rate of sex offenders in the Huff Post (2011 article).
Contrary to popular belief, as a group, sex offenders have the lowest rate of recidivism of all the crime categories. These statistics completely fly in the face of conventional wisdom about sex offenders being the most likely group of criminals to re-offend for their initial crime, but these are the facts.
He discusses the difficulties that face registered sex offenders:
On the issue of housing, this is perhaps the biggest challenge facing ex-sex offenders. No one wants them and they have many legal obstacles when finding housing. And they have burnt all their bridges with society and even their family. To help reduce the chances of them re-offending, housing is important for every ex-offender. 
...but makes no connection between those burnt bridges and the registry which is the gasoline poured before lighting the match. He goes on:
There are nearly 740,000 registered sex offenders in the United States. Recent research finds that "the data presented here do not support the claim that the public is safer from sex offenders due to community notification laws."  
This is not to suggest that we should not have sex offender registries. (My emphasis.)
But why not? He admits that the registries do not increase public safety and then insists that registries are necessary nonetheless. 

Then I read Heroux's bio at the end of his article: "Paul Heroux previously worked in a prison and in jail. He holds a master's in criminology ..." Ah. I see. He makes a living because of incarceration.

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