By Rory Fleming . . . When large nonprofit organizations otherwise committed to making the American justice system less draconian hire people with violent criminal records, they send a strong message that justice-involved people change, and are capable of not only reentry but success.
But these same organizations do not have anyone on the sex offender registry on staff, regardless of qualifications or demonstrated rehabilitation.
This is unsurprising, yet tragic. When most people think of “sex offenders,” they imagine repulsive and heinous crimes against very young children. And in 2005, a Gallup poll suggested that Americans feared terrorists less than sex offenders.
In reality, the phrase “sex offender” describes any person convicted under a statute that requires sex offender registration, which lasts anywhere from 10 years to natural life, depending on the state and the offense.
The registry includes everyone from the mentally ill, remorseful flasher to the sexually-motivated killer, as well as the older party in a high school sweetheart relationship to a dangerous child rapist. There are almost one million Americans on sex offender registries, including people convicted for relatively minor sex crimes as children.