Thursday, September 3, 2009

John Stossel: Sex Offender Registry is No Help

John Stossel's Take ( : Sex Offender Registry No Help to Jaycee Dugard.

Today the New York Times gets something right!

"registries of sex offenders have grown sophisticated and accessible in recent years, a response to high-profile attacks on children. People can search their neighborhoods for former convicts on state-run Web sites, sign up for private services that alert them if an offender moves nearby, even download an iPhone application."

Yet there is little evidence that sex offender registries actually deter sex offenders from committing new crimes. The Times questions the wisdom of such registries in light of the allegations that registered sex offender Phillip Garrido held young Jaycee Dugard captive for 18 years ... all while punctually reporting to the sex offender registry.

If anything, Mr. Garrido was getting far more attention than the average offender listed on a state registry. For years and until his arrest last week, he was on parole from the earlier kidnapping and rape in Nevada, and, California authorities said, met several times a month with a parole officer and wore a GPS device that tracked his whereabouts.

Meanwhile, many on the sex offender registries are not kidnappers or rapists. As I've reported before, many are kids who had consensual sex with a 16-year old girlfriend. They then spend the rest of their lives on a sex offender registry with the likes of rapists like Phillip Garrido. One victim of the registries told me, " basically what they do to you is brand you for life."

The Times adds:

The sheer numbers of sex offenders on the registries in all 50 states — an estimated 674,000 across the country — are overwhelming to local police departments and, at times, to the public, who may not easily distinguish between those who must register because they have repeatedly raped children and those convicted of nonviolent or less serious crimes...

Sex offender registries, like so many of the products of Big Government, actively ruin lives. And of course registries did nothing to rescue Jaycee Dugard.