Many youth sex offenders never learn that they will have to register until after they accept a plea deal and often after they serve their time in prison or juvenile detention. Youth sex offender registrants often cannot find housing that meets residency restriction rules, meaning that they and their families struggle to house themselves and often experience periods of homelessness. Good public policy should deliver measurable protection to the community and measurable benefit to victims. There is little reason to believe that registering people who commit sexual offenses as children delivers either. For example, the state may decide to release information for only those convicted of certain offenses or release information for all registered sex offenders. Assigning sex offender tiers based on crime of conviction provides very little information about who a sex offender is and what his or her risk for reoffense may be. Registering sex offenders and publicizing information about them is predicated on the idea that sex crimes are committed by strangers.
Denise, a single mother of two boys, Troy age 15 and Ted age 12 , recalled the day Ted confided in her that he had been sexually abused by Troy: Registering sex offenders and publicizing information about them is predicated on the idea that sex crimes are committed by strangers. This chapter therefore contains information Human Rights Watch culled mainly from our interviews with youth sex offenders and the family members of another 15 youth comprising cases. The figure was 54, offenders, including nearly 7, who were placed on the registry for offenses committed as children. If the offender moves, works, or attends school in another state, the Wetterling Act requires them to register with that state as well. We informed interviewees that they could discontinue the interview at any time or decline to answer any specific questions without consequence. Available research indicates that sex offenders, and particularly people who commit sex offenses as children, are among the least likely to reoffend. The resulting policies swept children into a system created to regulate the post-conviction lives of adult sex offenders. The median age at conviction or adjudication was The harm befalling youth sex offenders can be severe. Ten of the states subjected children found guilty in both juvenile and criminal court proceedings to sex offender registration laws, and had done so since the mids Arizona, Delaware, Illinois, Kansas, Michigan, Missouri, New Jersey, Texas, South Carolina, and Washington. Most states require a photograph, and some states even require information like current employment information, vehicle registration numbers, and DNA analysis. According to the Justice Department, 93 percent of sexually abused children are molested by family members, close friends, or acquaintances. First, sex offender registries are focused on preventing recidivism, when instead the focus should be on deterring the first offense from ever happening. The crime occurred when one of the boys was 16 and two were 17 years old. A one-size-fits-all approach to sex offender registration does not contribute to public safety, especially since, as described further below, the most dangerous offenders are often supervised in the same way as very low-risk offenders who are not likely to commit new sex offenses. In an effort to protect children from sexual assault and hold sex offenders accountable, lawmakers failed to consider that some of the sex offenders they were subjecting to registration were themselves children, in need of policy responses tailored to their specific needs and circumstances. In , in Orange County, California, three boys were convicted of sexually assaulting a year-old girl and videotaping the incident. Families of youth offenders also confront enormous obstacles in living together as a family—often because registrants are prohibited from living with other children. A parent or guardian gave permission before contact was made with potential interviewees under the age of Other states require sex offender registration for 10 years or vary the length for registration based upon the class of the felony. However, by the mids, many state sex offender registration laws were amended to include children adjudicated delinquent of sex offenses, as well as children tried and convicted of sex offenses in adult court. We made a substantial effort to interview registrants of various ages to better assess the impact of being a child or adolescent on the sex offender registry. There is a middle group with moderate effects. The complex rules and regulations that govern the lives of sex offenders on the registry are particularly difficult to navigate when youth offenders, like the majority of those interviewed for this report, first begin registering when they are still children.
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Maryland Sex Offender Law Goes Into Effect on Oct 1, 2010
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