« Fourth Amendment day for SCOTUS oral arguments | Main | Taking a close look at the state of women's incarceration in the states »

January 9, 2018

Making the case against juvenile sex offender registration requirements

Rebecca Fix has this new commentary that caught my eye under the headlined "Young Sex Offenders Shouldn’t Have to Register; It’s Ineffective and Hurts Everyone Around Them." The whole piece (and its many links) are worth checking out, and here is how it gets started:

Sex offender registration policies were initially developed for adults with sexual offenses, but have recently been extended to include youth with sexual offenses as well.  At first glance, sex offender registration and notification (hereafter referred to as SORN) may make us feel safer, produce relief knowing that these individuals are being punished.

However, many of us don’t realize that these practices don’t protect our children.  Required registration of and notification about youth with illegal sexual behavior, in particular, has resulted in serious economic and psychological burdens at multiple levels, affecting not only the youth who have to register (e.g., increase in suicidal ideation), but also their families (e.g., judgment from others, loss of job), neighbors (e.g., devaluation of home value) and communities (e.g., stress levels, potential changes in reputation).

Mental health providers and child advocates like myself and colleagues at the Moore Center for the Prevention of Child Sexual Abuse who have examined policies concerning sexual offending among youth know that SORN requirements stem from an ill-fitting classification system that has deleterious consequences.

January 9, 2018 at 12:28 PM | Permalink


I am curious if there is a law entity out there that attacks governmental failed decisions, as the ACLU attacks on behalf of criminals.

From the article, Demetrius, 15, had consensual sex with his girlfriend, 14. His being hot, he probably made her day. A crime should cause a harm, not a benefit. Parents had him arrested. The collateral consequences have been costly.

Can he sue the parents, the feminist running dog police, the feminist running dog court that convicted him for enforcing a quackery regulation? Quackery serves no legitimate government purpose, so his detention violated his Fifth Amendment procedural due process rights.

Demetrius sounds like a black name. I am interested in whether blacks are on this registry out of proportion to their fraction in the age matched population. Disparate impact is sufficient to show discrimination from the Texas Housing decision, making the laws facially unconstitutional, in violation of the Fourteenth Amendment Equal Protection clause. If his girlfriend was white, so much the better. I am betting she was white, as were the police, and the court.

He should sue the state and the federal government for the undue burden placed by the listed laws. These laws should be repealed if the government entities cannot show they are safe and effective. That phrase means, they do not hurt people not requiring listing. They do not list people not requiring listing. They decrease the likelihood of victimization, being effective at their stated goal. If the governments cannot provide such proof beyond a reasonable doubt, the laws should be overturned, as an abortion law might be.

Posted by: David Behar | Jan 9, 2018 3:51:00 PM

Why was the second comment to this post deleted?

Posted by: tommyc | Jan 12, 2018 7:52:05 AM

"At first glance, sex offender registration and notification (hereafter referred to as SORN) may make us feel safer, produce relief knowing that these individuals are being PUNISHED." (Emphasis by capitalization added.)

There is that word again, "punish." Every time I see that word in conjunction with the registry, I have to remind everyone that the registry only exists because it is NOT punishment, but is in fact regulatory. Indeed, had the registry been considered a punishment, then the Supreme Court would have rendered it invalid in Smith v. Doe.

It is now patently obvious that the vast majority of people in the country view the registry as punishment, whether they believe it should exist or not. Therefore, a NEW challenge to the registry, as the predominant reason that the court even came up with that dubious distinction was the 100% lie that recidivism is "frighteningly high, which would easily be negated with a competent attorney's argument.

Posted by: Eric Knight | Jan 13, 2018 5:41:28 PM

Post a comment

In the body of your email, please indicate if you are a professor, student, prosecutor, defense attorney, etc. so I can gain a sense of who is reading my blog. Thank you, DAB