The Problem With The National Sex Offender Registry

The Problem With The National Sex Offender Registry

Should children be required to register as sex offenders?
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The purpose of the national sex offender registry is to inform the public of potentially dangerous individuals who have previously committed sex crimes. Due to the nature of pedophilia and high recidivism rates of dangerous sex offenders, it is important to keep track of these individuals, however, the registry may be doing more harm than good. Information available on the NSOPW (National Sex Offender Public Website) includes the offenders' home address, registered vehicles and photographs, all of which must be kept up to date. Because this information is public and accessible to anyone, offenders have trouble finding housing and/or jobs and stigmas follow them around for life. While some may be deserving of this punishment due to their violent crimes, others are not, specifically those who commit sex crimes at a young age.

Human Rights Watch published a report regarding children who are forced to register as sex offenders despite the especially low recidivism rate of those who offend as children. They cite Jacob in their report, a resident of Michigan who was tried for touching, without penetrating, his sister's genitals when he was 11-years-old. He was placed on the sex offender registry and when he was 18, the report was made public. Since then, his life has been riddled with hardships as a result of the registry such as struggling to find employment and fighting for custody of his daughter.

In her article for the Boston Review titled "When Kids are Sex Offenders", Sally Mairs cites others who have faced similar struggles with the registry: a 15-year-old girl was charged with manufacturing and disseminating child pornography after taking and posting nude photos of herself and is now facing registration for life, a now 28-year-old woman was charged with criminal sexual contact when she was 10 years old for "flashing" and simulating sex with her 8 and 5-year-old stepbrothers and is required to register until she is 35, and a 13-year old girl was arrested for rape after having consensual sex with her 12-year-old boyfriend, her boyfriend was also charged.

Passing legislation that makes punishment for sex crimes more lenient is controversial, but there has been some success. For example, many states have a version of what are known as Romeo and Juliet laws which can potentially lessen a statutory rape conviction. The argument is that a 17-year-old boy who has consensual sex with a 15-year-old girl should not face the same punishment as a 45-year-old man who has sex with a 15-year-old girl, again, provided that it is consensual. Many states, however, failed to pass laws protecting homosexual relationships in the same way.

Some argue that passing more lenient legislation allowing offenders to keep their names off the registry is irresponsible and could result in more sex crimes and the inability to track repeat offenders. Although those are valid concerns, Romeo and Juliet laws do not prevent serial rapists and pedophiles from having to register, they only prevent minors from being excessively punished for minor age differences.

No law is perfect and compromise is necessary, but lives should not be ruined by being required to register as a sex offender for a trivial offense committed while still a minor. Sexual abuse and child molestation are real problems that need real solutions, but consensual sex between minors and acts committed by young children should not affect an individual for a lifetime.


Cover Image Credit: Yahoo

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8 Reasons Why My Dad Is the Most Important Man In My Life

Forever my number one guy.
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Growing up, there's been one consistent man I can always count on, my father. In any aspect of my life, my dad has always been there, showing me unconditional love and respect every day. No matter what, I know that my dad will always be the most important man in my life for many reasons.

1. He has always been there.

Literally. From the day I was born until today, I have never not been able to count on my dad to be there for me, uplift me and be the best dad he can be.

2. He learned to adapt and suffer through girly trends to make me happy.

I'm sure when my dad was younger and pictured his future, he didn't think about the Barbie pretend pageants, dressing up as a princess, perfecting my pigtails and enduring other countless girly events. My dad never turned me down when I wanted to play a game, no matter what and was always willing to help me pick out cute outfits and do my hair before preschool.

3. He sends the cutest texts.

Random text messages since I have gotten my own cell phone have always come my way from my dad. Those randoms "I love you so much" and "I am so proud of you" never fail to make me smile, and I can always count on my dad for an adorable text message when I'm feeling down.

4. He taught me how to be brave.

When I needed to learn how to swim, he threw me in the pool. When I needed to learn how to ride a bike, he went alongside me and made sure I didn't fall too badly. When I needed to learn how to drive, he was there next to me, making sure I didn't crash.

5. He encourages me to best the best I can be.

My dad sees the best in me, no matter how much I fail. He's always there to support me and turn my failures into successes. He can sit on the phone with me for hours, talking future career stuff and listening to me lay out my future plans and goals. He wants the absolute best for me, and no is never an option, he is always willing to do whatever it takes to get me where I need to be.

6. He gets sentimental way too often, but it's cute.

Whether you're sitting down at the kitchen table, reminiscing about your childhood, or that one song comes on that your dad insists you will dance to together on your wedding day, your dad's emotions often come out in the cutest possible way, forever reminding you how loved you are.


7. He supports you, emotionally and financially.

Need to vent about a guy in your life that isn't treating you well? My dad is there. Need some extra cash to help fund spring break? He's there for that, too.

8. He shows me how I should be treated.

Yes, my dad treats me like a princess, and I don't expect every guy I meet to wait on me hand and foot, but I do expect respect, and that's exactly what my dad showed I deserve. From the way he loves, admires, and respects me, he shows me that there are guys out there who will one day come along and treat me like that. My dad always advises me to not put up with less than I deserve and assures me that the right guy will come along one day.

For these reasons and more, my dad will forever be my No. 1 man. I love you!

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Why The Idea Of 'No Politics At The Dinner Table' Takes Place And Why We Should Avoid It

When did having a dialogue become so rare?

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Why has the art of civilized debate and conversation become unheard of in daily life? Why is it considered impolite to talk politics with coworkers and friends? Expressing ideas and discussing different opinions should not be looked down upon.

I have a few ideas as to why this is our current societal norm.

1. Politics is personal.

Your politics can reveal a lot about who you are. Expressing these (sometimes controversial) opinions may put you in a vulnerable position. It is possible for people to draw unfair conclusions from one viewpoint you hold. This fosters a fear of judgment when it comes to our political beliefs.

Regardless of where you lie on the spectrum of political belief, there is a world of assumption that goes along with any opinion. People have a growing concern that others won't hear them out based on one belief.

As if a single opinion could tell you all that you should know about someone. Do your political opinions reflect who you are as a person? Does it reflect your hobbies? Your past?

The question becomes "are your politics indicative enough of who you are as a person to warrant a complete judgment?"

Personally, I do not think you would even scratch the surface of who I am just from knowing my political identification.

2. People are impolite.

The politics themselves are not impolite. But many people who wield passionate, political opinion act impolite and rude when it comes to those who disagree.

The avoidance of this topic among friends, family, acquaintances and just in general, is out of a desire to 'keep the peace'. Many people have friends who disagree with them and even family who disagree with them. We justify our silence out of a desire to avoid unpleasant situations.

I will offer this: It might even be better to argue with the ones you love and care about, because they already know who you are aside from your politics, and they love you unconditionally (or at least I would hope).

We should be having these unpleasant conversations. And you know what? They don't even need to be unpleasant! Shouldn't we be capable of debating in a civilized manner? Can't we find common ground?

I attribute the loss of political conversation in daily life to these factors. 'Keeping the peace' isn't an excuse. We should be discussing our opinions constantly and we should be discussing them with those who think differently.

Instead of discouraging political conversation, we should be encouraging kindness and understanding. That's how we will avoid the unpleasantness that these conversations sometimes bring.

By avoiding them altogether, we are doing our youth a disservice because they are not being exposed to government, law, and politics, and they are not learning to deal with people and ideas that they don't agree with.

Next Thanksgiving, talk politics at the table.

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