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September 9, 2009

"Sex Offender Registries: Fear Without Function?"

The title of this post is the title of this research paper I just noticed on SSRN authored by Amanda Agan of the University of Chicago Department of Economics. The paper seems especially timely in light of the on-going discussion of how Phillip Garrido's placement on a sex offender registry did not seem to impact his ability to get away with a notorious sex offense.  Here is the abstract from the this paper:

I use three separate datasets and designs to determine whether sex offender registries are effective. First, state-level panel data is used to determine whether sex offender registries or public access to them decreases the rate of rape and other sexual abuse. Second, a dataset which contains information on the subsequent arrests of sex offenders released from prison in 1994 in 15 states is used to determine if registries reduce the recidivism rate of offenders required to register compared with those who do not. Finally, I combine data on locations of crimes in Washington, D.C. with data on locations of registered sex offenders to determine whether knowing the location of sex offenders in a region help predict the locations of sexual abuse. The results from all three datasets do not support the hypothesis that sex offender registries are effective tools for increasing public safety.

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September 9, 2009 at 02:06 PM | Permalink


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The misconception was that these lists were to enhance public safety. They were to generate jobs for lawyers. Nothing the lawyer does has any effectiveness or competence save generate the rent.

The neighbor predator knocked on Megan's door. She opened it, and that sealed her fate.

What was the lawyer solution? Shuffle paper. Make lists. Do so without testing whether a massive effort would prevent the loss of another little girl. Naturally, lawyer jobs increased. Lawyers wrote this law. They run the list. They dispute the addition or deletion of a name. They sue when the list causes a lot of collateral problems. Good deal for the lawyers.

Not a good deal for little girls.

Under no circumstances do anything to hurt, intimidate, or scare the murderous predator. If someone were to do that, crime would decrease, and whatever was being done would be prohibited by the Supreme Court.

I propose another registry. All lawyers get on a registry. All product and service providers refuse to serve them. Run the name at the Walmart cash register. "I'm sorry, Sir. You come up as a lawyer on our registry. We cannot sell you these products. Security. Lawyer escort. Lawyer escort at cashier three." Have security throw the lawyer out. This is for the protection of the lawyer. Because it certain there are many Walmart customers who want to harm the identified lawyer.

A lawyer registry would enhance public safety.

Posted by: Supremacy Claus | Sep 9, 2009 5:26:13 PM

"The misconception was that these lists were to enhance public safety."

I agree. Though I don't think it has much to do with rent. I think it has to do with politics. They were designed to enhance the appearance of public safety, which is the far more valuable commodity.

Posted by: Daniel | Sep 9, 2009 8:52:25 PM

Daniel: Scan your entire knowledge of history. Has there ever been an oppression that did not generate rent yet persisted more than a short time? Inquisition, Nazi extermination of the Jews, Hutu and Tutsi, US Cavalry and American Indian. The KKK lynchings of rich blacks and Jews. All had highly successful confiscatory business plans. All were generated by a few families, who profited handsomely. Name any random great crime, follow the money. And all will be become crystal clear and of the utmost simplicity to explain.

Only violence and death, mass eradication, can end the oppression of oppressors motivated by making a great living. All calls for civility by the criminal cult enterprise are calls for forbearance and leaving them undisturbed to their business model. Only the mass executions of the 15,000 member lawyer hierarchy can free us from this pestilential vermin.

Posted by: Supremacy Claus | Sep 9, 2009 10:52:09 PM

Great information thanks for sharing this with us.

Posted by: Phone Sex Girls | Sep 15, 2009 12:59:41 AM

I just had a couple of comments. First,this paper does nothing to denote the myth of "stranger danger". The vast majority of crimes against children are committed not by released sex offenders, but instead by the victim's own family, church clergy, and family friends. According to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, "based on what we know about those who harm children, the danger to children is greater from someone they or their family knows than from a stranger." If lawmakers and the public are serious about wanting to protect children, they should not be misled by "stranger danger" myths and instead focus on the much larger threat inside the home.

Second, it is stated in this paper, "Similarly, the Jacob Wetterling Act, Jessie’s Law, and the Adam Walsh Act are named after children who were part of highly publicized sexual crimes." As far as I understand Adam Walsh was not sexually assaulted but kidnapped and brutally butchered by a pyschopath named Otis Toole. It's not good to make generalizations but nobody is immune to them.

Posted by: Joe | Sep 25, 2009 4:33:09 PM

You know? If birth control wasn't so embarrassing, I don't think we'd see so much unprotected sex! Who here likes to buy 'regular size' when the magnums are staring us in the face?

Posted by: Ben | Nov 15, 2009 7:30:15 PM

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