I had cause to be examining NH's sex-offender registry in detail today, looking at photos and someone who may be using an alias. Not that my actions contribute in the slightest to the patient's treatment or the well-being of the citizens of NH, but because I'm going to look evil if someone slipped through, once someone wondered allowed whether X was an RSO. She is and is quite open about it. She had sex with a 13 y/o when she was 27 and bore his child. She did two years and has been on parole ever since. She didn't show up on the registry, because the registry is inaccurate, as it often is. And apparently much more inaccurate in other states.
I have never mentioned it before, but I am deeply opposed to these registries. I know a few of the people on New Hampshire's, maybe a dozen or so.
I know lots of folks more dangerous, including sexually dangerous, who are not on that list. And I know for certain that there are folks on the list who are at most marginally more dangerous than the average person-on-the-street. We put up these registries to express our anger, and how much we CARE ABOUT OUR CHILDREN rather than to increase our safety in any way.
There is no evidence that these measures have increased our community safety even 1%.
There is plenty of evidence that people on the registries have been harassed, lost jobs, and even been murdered. (A bunch in Maine. The murderer, from Canada, had a list of NH offenders to go ofter next.)
Paragraph 4 and Paragraph 5: That's not a fair trade.
No one has to tell me that there are perpetrators who reoffend hundreds of times, and bear constant scrutiny. Yup, and I know three of 'em. None of 'em is on NH's registry. There is a subset of offenders, usually male, usually targeting 10-12 y/o boys (the age at which they themselves were molested) - though there are exceptions, who have literally hundreds of victims, and all interventions to date have been only partially effective - who are ongoing flat-out dangerous and should never be unsupervised. But even the most experienced clinicians have a poor record of identifying who those will be, except after long and sad perpetration. There is no one in the country who can identify which 20 year-old offenders will continue to reoffend and which won't. On the whole, sex offenders have the second-lowest rate of recidivism, after murderers.
We pass these laws to beat our chests. They are therefore worse than doing nothing at all. Anytime we feed that beast in our own souls, the idea that we have slain seven with one blow when we have only killed flies, we endanger our children more, not less.
There are perpetrators who continue to lie to themselves and excuse their behavior - don't I know it. But our rage at their lack of remorse is not the issue - public safety is the only issue. I know penitents who are still dangerous, and impenitents who are not. I see little correlation, if any. Opportunity, substance abuse, accountability - those are the only issues. Humiliation and punishment are irrelevant.
BTW, note on substance abuse: I would give a convicted sex offender a lifetime subscription to his ten favorite fetish sites before I would give him a beer.