After two and a half decades, there has NEVER been a shred of evidence that the sex offender registry has ANY effect on the crimes that it was instituted to prevent. And despite this, rules and regulations surrounding the registry on both federal and state levels have become more and more restrictive — likely because of a combination of politics and social panic. Even Patty Wetterling – the mother of Jacob Wetterling, one of the murdered children that prompted the creation of the registry – has come out and said that the sex offender registry has gone too far.
The reality is that the overwhelming majority of sexual offenses against children happen in private settings – usually homes – and are perpetrated by close friends and family members. One neglected statistic is that 35-40% of sex offenses against children are committed by other children. Another neglected statistic is that the majority of new sex offense convictions are against people who have no prior record of sexual offenses. Recidivism rates for offenders who have been through treatment range from the low single digits to the mid-teens, depending on the “type” of offender and the length of the study.
The horrible crimes that prompted the creation of the sex offender registry account for a very tiny fraction of sex crimes against children. A child is far more likely to be sexually assaulted in their own home by somebody they trust than by a stranger at a park. This is irrefutable fact. The registry does nothing but prevent people who might have made terrible mistakes in the past from repairing their lives and moving on and being productive citizens.