The children of sex offenders have been harassed by their peers at school, and wives and girlfriends of offenders have been ostracized from social networks and at their jobs. Moderate- to high-level risk offenders' information may also be given, as appropriate, to area schools, daycares, and healthcare centers, and the police may hold a community meeting to explain the risks a particular sex offender poses for the community.
Although there is little statistical research on recidivism by youth sex offenders, the studies that have been done suggest recidivism rates are quite low. It is hard to fathom what good comes from prohibiting a registered offender whose victim was an adult woman from living near a school bus stop.
Some state laws place employment restrictions on sex offenders, prohibiting them from working in schools, childcare centers, child-oriented non-profit organizations, and other places where they may come into regular contact with children. Subjecting children to sex offender laws originally developed for adult offenders is both unnecessary from a public safety perspective and harmful to the child.
Community notification makes readily available information that would otherwise be difficult to obtain. For example, in Ohio, only 8 percent of former sex offenders were reincarcerated for another sex offense within a year period.
My neighbors, who are family friends, told us that the police [officer] just said I raped a girl. I was pulled over for speeding for doing 80 mph in a 65 mph zone. For the most current registration and community notification requirements and distribution policies regarding a particular state's online sex offender registry, Human Rights Watch encourages readers to check their state's most current policies.
Despite the rationale for community notification, online registries are not limited to offenders who have committed serious crimes, or are assessed to pose a significant risk of reoffending in the future. An officer in Michigan told Human Rights Watch that "most employers, whether they are required by law or not, refuse to employ sex offenders, even if the crime the individual committed was not violent.
Search in Progress! He was incarcerated for four months pending trial, and pled guilty to indecent exposure.
But registration is not limited to offenders who pose a significant risk of committing another serious crime. Human Rights Watch spoke with a mother in Texas who received a postcard notifying her that a convicted sex offender moved into the neighborhood: "They might as well have written it in a foreign language," she said.
Right now I can handle that. Federal law requires mandatory lifetime registration for some offenders, and some states require lifetime registration for all offenders, with the duration of the registration under both federal and most state laws keyed solely to the crime of conviction.
Publicly identifying someone as a registered sex offender brands that person-in many people's eyes-as a dangerous and particularly loathsome person. Walter told Human Rights Watch, "I will never be given a second chance.