Can anything change public opinion about sexual offense registries?

By Cresencio Rodriguez . . . A California law that will go into effect in 2021 is set to bring about the most sweeping changes ever to sex offender laws in the state.

SB384 will allow most sex offenders to petition to be removed from the public registries in 10 to 20 years after they are released from prison, as long as they have not committed another serious or violent felony.

The new law will work in a way that assesses a sex offender’s risk of re-offending. The new law will work as a tier system, with the first tier allowing people convicted of crimes like misdemeanor sexual battery, misdemeanor possession of child pornography and indecent exposure to petition to be removed from the registry after 10 years. The second tier would require sex offenders to register for a minimum of 20 years. And the third tier, for more violent offenders, would still be a lifetime registry.

California is one of four states in the country with a lifetime registration law and it’s estimated that 100,000 people are on the list. With major changes coming to the law, it’s evident that attitudes toward sex offenders may be shifting. Lawmakers and experts alike appear to agree that pushing for more balanced punishment could make the justice system fairer and make better use of state resources. Gov. Jerry Brown has signed the bill, and the state will soon see the effects of the new law.

Meantime, different public attitudes on the controversial issue remain – whether some view the current punishment is already fair or if the incoming law will address what some view as disproportionate retribution.

Those very questions were at the center of a study done for a graduate thesis by a Fresno State student. Eric Galeana surveyed more than 400 students on campus in spring 2018 to test whether their attitude on sex offender laws could be changed by providing expert information on current law and what experts view as better solutions than the lifetime registry, such as prevention and rehabilitation.

“It was three different things that we tried to hit on,” Galeana said. “The first was to establish how (survey respondents) felt about sex offenders … the second was gathering some information on current California legislation … and the third point that we wanted to see was to incorporate the educational video produced by one of the boards that works with sex offenders.

Galeana said the survey was designed in a way to try to find whether there was any significant difference in students’ views before and after they were shown an educational video on sex offenders and after respondents answered a set of survey questions twice.

Read the rest of the article here at the Collegian.

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    • #49497 Reply

      Since the time I first started learning about RCs through ACSOL, I felt educating the public was a weak link. Their so busy putting out fires that general, basic dispelling of the un-truth isn’t as strong as it could be. I like the story, however, I truly feel disturbed by the continued statements about the third tier as it will also include many with federal CP charges that are minor (a person with a single count will be considered violent). So we still have a new Bill that will take effect and will harm many to an even greater extent then when the push for the Bill began!

    • #49613 Reply
      William Lundy

      I feel one of the main problems for Sex Offenders is the Classification Process. Today People group all Sex offenders as violent…It could be child porn only, or non violent touching, or Parental incest.. Versus the Rape, Murder, or those that repeatedly offend… Those that made a poor judgement in the past, and have reconciled with their victims, earned college degree’s, and has his or her own business Should be released from life time list. If you were to look at the punishment the military places on its sex offenders is extremely harsh compared to those in the civilian worl, and lose much more. That is an injustice….

      • #49669 Reply

        The registry obviously has to go in it’s entirety but I must say I wish all states would use a risk based system rather than an offense based system. Here in WA, there are people with 1st degree rape in my state who are able to become a Level 1 (non public) offender time by doing treatment, time elapsing since their offense occurred etc.

    • #50065 Reply

      First thing that needs to be done is get the recidivism statistics updated and correct. The numbers law enforcement puts out are way off, for a reason. They say a sex offender is that for life and can’t be changed like it’s a genetic thing they would want you to believe. Another thing I would say is that if they feel a person is going to be that dangerous to the community that the offender needs to be on a public registry then why are they not in prison? The sex offender registry is absurd and the things one has to go through is ridiculous. I am a sex offender, I was charged with sexual exploitation of a minor. I had looked on one peer to peer and stumbled across what was listed as child porn. I was molested by a fifth grade teacher numerous times and there was a video camera each times. I was looking for myself or to see if anything was out there only a couple times. Well, I had my door kicked in, swat guys with automatic weapons, the whole nine yards. I had no idea what was going on, when they told me I was totally taken by surprise. They did nothing about the teacher who I said had molested me and said I was lying. Did not even investigate or ask for his name. Turns out in 2012 he was busted and being a principal. My offense occurred in 2006. He is now in prison for life. I was molested in 1974. Now, I am required to register for life due to 2 second degree charges of having child pornography on my computer. Meaning two video’s of what were teenagers in the movies I did not know were even on my computer. I have always been totally against any kind of child abuse, never would I do that but I broke the law and stupid me admitted that I had looked at it to see if I was in any of it. Dumb.

    • #50422 Reply
      Ed C

      I am re-reading George Lakoff’s book: “Don’t think of an elephant!” regarding conceptual frames of reference. Basically, people will disregard even verifiable data if it conflicts with their preconceived frame. Presenting facts is necessary but not sufficient. Police know the facts, but choose to ignore them. We need to re-frame the debate somehow.

      If anyone has suggestions, let’s talk about them. My first thought is to frame the argument in terms of some inbred American value metaphor. For example, the “everybody deserves a chance to reintegrate with a clean slate after paying one’s debt to society” value frame. Lakoff points out that by merely trying to negate an existing frame, we re-enforce it in peoples’ minds. The “all sex offenders are forever dangerous” frame will not be broken down with mere fact. Facts need to be presented in the context of a new reference frame.

      • #51066 Reply

        Interesting Ed. And, it makes sense.

        Perhaps changing the frame could work. Right off the top of my head, I’m inclined to suggest framing how the registry affects the innocent.

        It’s one thing to argue that an opressive registry is warranted against a former offender who has completed their sentence. But, it’s no doubt an unfair and unwarranted for offenders spouses, children, employers, etc. Just a thought…

    • #50433 Reply

      Data need > Human need = NULL
      These identified humans do not learn.Data base
      Plain electronic indenture to maintain.
      Resistance is futile you must comply.

    • #50522 Reply

      Public opinion about sex offender registries can anyone or anybody change them. While I didn’t want to throw my two cents into the pot since I live in VA and others live in say Conn, and other states I would have to say yes we all can change public public opinion by speaking up. Irs just like drinking or any other thing that is offensive to others.
      Now California has a whole different lifestyle and is a bit different from other states there is a positive side to this. Rebibilitation is not coming out of prision and saying we are going to control your life and your steps for the rest of your life or should we put harsh punishments on others?

      Sure the old saying is you can’t change mother nature but are we mother nature or do we all “cover up” rhings like eve did in the garden. Sure we can all go by examples but a lot of this sex offense is man-made by those that suppose to protect and serve but when that gets a bit out of balance than someone has to step in and say hey wait a minute something is wrong with this whole seneiro. Even police enforcing is good if done right.

      While sex offenses seem on the top of the scale of punishments, than what tops the drug addict in rehiblitation or the three strikes your out programs. I can see their is not really much balance in a lot of this abusive justification and all this confusion. If one does wrong they promply admit it instead of covering it up. Now as we all go into the new year we should all remember that change comes either from within or those that are speaking out about this mockery of justice. Look at Government today and that will tell you about the political crisis we are in today.

      Now I can’t say anything about California as I live in a conservative state but criminal justice needs a huge overhaul. What do you all think about this abuse of power. I mean everyone has their opinion.

    • #51589 Reply

      Hello, what i want to know is these registry laws we’re made because they thought that recidivism rate was 80% and since the person who did the study has since retracted his study and has done another study and his new study has shown recidivism rate is under 5% and every single state in the US has done a study on recidivism and the US government has done a study and every single study has shown recidivism rate is under 5% and i mean every single study is under 5%, so that being the case then why not go after all of that an get the registry taken down, and that recidivism rate is lower than any other crime so why are we walking on egg shells and get this done, the government don’t want this to happen because every peron on the registry can sue in every state they live in! So i hope you redirect your focus in this direction because if you don’t i am going to put together a group to collect all of these studies and blast it on the media and the government, i hope you do go in this direction an if you do i would like to join the cause, Thank you

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