Basic Facts and Arguments Against the Sex Offender Registry Law
Our goal is to repeal Sex Offender Registration (SOR) laws throughout the United States. Examples of this effort are seen in Oregon with the 2018 Initiative #3 to repeal that state's SOR law. Growing numbers of people believe that SOR laws are some of the worst laws ever enacted in the last fifty years.
Why repeal the SOR? It is because the SOR law does not provide real public safety regardless of how it is promoted by government officials. Instead of protecting children like expected, the SOR laws provide an distraction away from the real sources of most sex abuse: Family members and their friends and acquaintances.
But SOR laws are worse than being merely pointless and ineffective. The “Sex Offender” brand which is assigned to former offenders destroys their chances of rehabilitation and reintegration back into society and by extension, harms the children and other family members who live with a Registered Citizen.
Here are the basic points you need to know: SOR laws are out-of-sync with the facts as provided for by many public and private studies:
First, the SOR law misdirects attention towards RSOs instead of toward the vast majority (about 94%) of child sex abuse originates in the home among family members and their acquaintances outside their home.
Second, SOR laws were built upon the rare circumstances of cases where a stranger sex offender seeks out and sexually abuses (or worse) a stranger child to him. These are the kinds of rare and outrageous criminal cases that drove (and drive) the political machinery to enact SOR laws in all fifty states.
Third, SOR laws ignore the fact that the vast number of new sex abuse cases and sex crimes in general are committed by first time offenders who are not on the SOR list (about 95% according to a NY 2008 Sandler study http://ilvoices.com/uploads/2/8/6/6/2866695/63-sandler-freeman-socia-2008.pdf).
Fourth, RSOs have very low recidivism rates (between 1.8% California study to 3.5% in a 1994 federal study of released prisoners) when compared to other categories of criminal recidivism rates.
Fifth, SOR laws bring harm to innocent family members and employers. Most people seem not to know that Registered Citizens have families of their own in many cases including a spouse and/or children of their own that live with them. The “Sex Offender” label results in open discrimination against Registered Citizens in their equal chances for education, employment, housing and social relationships. As a result, RSOs and their families have been exiled and turned into second class citizens.
Real public safety and democracy in Oregon deserve better than government blacklists (of Registered Citizens) and laws based on irrational fear dreamed up by career focused public officials. It is time to repeal laws of repression and injustice. Let’s start with the repeal of sex offender registration laws.
Sex Offender myth busters PowerPoint
presentation a few years back.