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September 26, 2011

Noting the significant costs (and unclear benefits) of tracking lots of sex offenders

The economic costs and uncertain benefits of tracking lots of sex offenders is spotlighted by this lengthy local piece out of Ohio, which is headlined "Keeping track of sex offenders costly: Sheriff puts the low end of costs at about $179,000 annually."  Here are excerpts:

Change in laws in the past five years have forced counties to spend thousands of dollars on registering and tracking sex offenders and the way cases are handled in court.   The Butler County sheriff predicts the number of sexual offenders his office must monitor will double in five years, but despite budget woes, he believes keeping vigilant is a high priority.

On average, Sheriff Richard Jones’ office monitors 460 sex offenders. That number jumps to around 700 if juveniles and offenders who only work in the county are included.   The increase in the number of sex offenders will raise the cost of monitoring sex offenders for counties, and some law experts said it will continue to clog the court system....

A low estimate of the cost of dealing with sex offenders is $179,000 annually, Jones said. That number includes salaries for the assistant prosecutor, who handles all cases involving children, the sheriff’s deputies who monitor offenders once they leave prison, mailing costs for notifications that go out to neighbors when a sex offender moves into town and costs to hunt down offenders who have skipped the state and violated reporting requirements....

The across the board changes, with reporting requirements for even the least severe of sex crimes, have also permeated the court system.  Chris Pagan, a defense attorney who has represented people accused of sex crimes, says the law is clogging the docket.  “It is certainly a lot more difficult to settle sex cases now than it was before,” he said.  “People who are truly innocent, the fact that there would be a registration requirement is a deal stopper most of the time.”

Some question why sex offenders are required to register and submit to monitoring, but murderers, robbers, burglars and other criminals remain virtually invisible once they are released from prison.   Matt Kanai, general counsel for law enforcement for the state attorney general’s office, said registration isn’t meant to punish the offenders; it is a tool for the public.  Sex offenders, he said, are viewed as people who will likely attack again, so keeping tabs on them and providing their locations to the public is a service.

“Sex offenders do tend to operate in their neighborhood. Crimes like murder aren’t neighborhood specific.  They are not necessarily looking at everyone that’s mowing their yard or walking down the sidewalk as their next potential victim,” Kanai said.  “Murders happen in the heat of the moment or in a bar or liquor store.  Those people aren’t thinking when I see people walking down the street I want to go murder that person, but sex offenders we do have that concern, that every person is a potential victim.”

However, a study by J.J. Prescott of the University of Michigan and Jonah Rockoff of Columbia University in 2010 found while registering sex offenders appears to be a good, notifying the public is not always a good thing. Public notification may scare away those inclined to be future offenders.  But it appears to actually increase the likelihood that convicted sex offenders will offend again, the study shows analyzing national crime data.

September 26, 2011 at 09:23 AM | Permalink

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hmm

"Matt Kanai, general counsel for law enforcement for the state attorney general’s office, said registration isn’t meant to punish the offenders; it is a tool for the public. Sex offenders, he said, are viewed as people who will likely attack again, so keeping tabs on them and providing their locations to the public is a service.

“Sex offenders do tend to operate in their neighborhood. Crimes like murder aren’t neighborhood specific. They are not necessarily looking at everyone that’s mowing their yard or walking down the sidewalk as their next potential victim,” Kanai said. “Murders happen in the heat of the moment or in a bar or liquor store. Those people aren’t thinking when I see people walking down the street I want to go murder that person, but sex offenders we do have that concern, that every person is a potential victim.”


God what an IDIOT! 20 years of studies from around the WORLD say he has no friggin clue what he's talking about!

Posted by: rodsmith | Sep 26, 2011 12:33:02 PM

rodsmith, you are correct. The comments by Matt Kanai are laughable.

The fact is, if these criminal governments are going to have SEX OFFENDER Registries, they have no excuse at all not to Register millions of other people. No one should accept their excuses. They need to get those Registries created. Today.

The article also mentioned that a person was required to pay $100 per year for the privilege of being Registered. Any person who is required to pay for this privilege should ensure that they cost the criminal government that requires it far more than they collect. I have used a fair price of 12 times the amount of the cost. Therefore, this person should ensure that he costs the criminal government at least $1,200.

Posted by: FRegistryTerrorists | Sep 26, 2011 1:37:05 PM

The article said, "... and the sheriff demands face-to-face random verification that offenders are where they said they were going to live."

I would be very, very surprised if the sheriff has any authority at all to make such a demand. If a criminal government would like for their sheriffs to have such authority, then they need to pass one of their illegal "laws" that gives them the authority. Then we'll see how that goes.

Until then, people who are Registered by these criminals need to demand that the criminals stay away from them. They need to demand that they stay off of their properties. The easiest way a Registered person can do that is to build a wall around his/her home. A Registered person should never allow agents of the criminal governments to visit them anywhere.

Registered people who allow it are fools. There is no reason or benefit for it. It also gives the signal that the Registries are somehow legitimate and that wasting government resources in such a fashion is acceptable.

Posted by: FRegistryTerrorists | Sep 26, 2011 1:41:09 PM

FRT and RS:

Fearmongering is the only thing our politicians know. Main Stream Media are the actual primary accesories to the crime.

We need to bankrupt them!

Posted by: albeed | Sep 26, 2011 10:23:06 PM

albeed:

I agree. However, I think there will always be sensationalistic, un-factual media sources. The main stream media does seem to live off of it but I think if they are gone, something will take their place. The U.S. is not exactly a moral, intellectual nation these days. The Registries fit in pretty well here.

What we need to bankrupt are the governments. The nanny, thieving, criminal regimes. A broke government is a good government. The less they are capable of doing and the less they do, the better off we are.

Posted by: FRegistryTerrorists | Sep 27, 2011 8:33:54 AM

FRT:

I agree. No new Taxes.

Posted by: albeed | Sep 28, 2011 1:07:52 AM

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