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Are Sex Offender Registries Actually Counterproductive?

Today the Sentencing Law and Policy blog shared the following article about sex offender registries and whether they actually do more harm than good.

http://sentencing.typepad.com/sentencing_law_and_policy/2018/05/sex-offender-registry-more-harm-than-good.html

In the 1990s, after a series of high-profile sexual assault cases involving children, many states, including Indiana, created registries to help track sex offenders.

But do sex offender registries actually “work”? The need for registries is based on two presumptions. First, that most sex offenses are committed by strangers. Statistics suggest otherwise, however. The vast majority of sex offenses involving children are committed by family members or acquaintances.

Second, that sex offender treatment is ineffective and, consequently, offenders have high recidivism rates. But in Indiana, offenders who complete the D.O.C.’s SOMM program have a very low recidivism rate: only 1 percent commit a new offense within 3 years of their release from incarceration.

Significant resources are expended to implement the registry and track offenders. But is it worth the time and money, or could those resources be better utilized elsewhere?

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