Approved changes to Michigan’s Sex Offender Registration Act are unconstitutional and ineffective at stopping offenders, argues the state’s ACLU chapter in an appeal for Gov. Gretchen Whitmer to veto.
State lawmakers approved altering registration protocols for sex offenders during the Legislature’s Wednesday, Dec. 16 session, fulfilling a 4-year-old mandate from the U.S. Court of Appeals.
“This legislation ignores the judicial rulings, rejects the science and makes Michigan communities and families less safe,” said Miriam Aukerman, senior staff attorney for ACLU Michigan, in a release. “The research is clear: registries don’t work. As the courts have pointed out, registries are counterproductive and may increase offending because they make it extremely difficult for registrants to obtain a job, find housing, and rejoin their families, sabotaging their efforts to become productive members of the community.”
Since more than 90% of child sex offenses are by family, acquaintances or first-time offenders, according to the ACLU, offender registries don’t curb offenses.
The ACLU argues that this changes essentially leave the law unchanged, and with a registry of more than 44,000 people, law enforcement will be burdened financially by tracking all of them and ensuring they all register.
“Instead of wasting millions of dollars on a failed and bloated registry, Michigan should invest in prevention and support for survivors,” Aukerman said. “The governor should veto this legislation and demand that the legislature do its job and work with experts and stakeholders to draft a law that is constitutional, evidence-based and provides true public safety.”