An encouraging student voice says, “ABOLISH THE SEX-OFFENDER REGISTRY.”
The sex offender registry is premised under a largely outdated concept of sexual violence. When these registries were dreamed up in the 1990s, lawmakers were promoting the stereotype of the “super-predator”; vicious, serial degenerates who lurk around and ambush people. We now know that the overwhelming majority of sexual violence is perpetrated by someone the victim knows, including family members, acquaintances, partners and spouses.
This is important to note because it exposes how the registry fails to accomplish a reduction in sexual violence. It doesn’t correct for the institutional problems in workplaces and homes that allow for sexual misconduct to occur in the first place, nor is it a deterrent. Unlike conventional crime such as property theft, sexual abusers frequently delude themselves into thinking that their behavior isn’t illegal or even harmful to the victim. For offenders who are already paroled, research at EBP Society, a coalition of health and human services professionals, finds that the residency and employment restrictions placed on sex offenders decrease rehabilitative success. Rehabilitation is supposedly the goal that we’d want to achieve with any parolee.