Sex offender registry “a bad tool” says NARSOL’s chair in interview

By Mike Mason . . . ANCHORAGE, Alaska (KTUU) – When Congress passed the Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act of 1994, it required states to enact a sex offender registry for those convicted of certain sex crimes.

In the 28 years since the law has passed, sex offender registries have become a tool for the public to identify offenders and find out where they live. Now one national organization is working to eliminate those registries altogether. Robin Vander Wall serves as the chair of the National Association for Rational Sexual Offense Laws, or NARSOL.

“Our vision has always been that this is a bad tool,” Robin Vander Wall says.

Vander Wall is calling for an end to sex offender registries nationwide, saying it prevents former offenders from moving on with their lives. Vander Wall said that NARSOL feels the constant exposure from the internet isn’t fair and only fuels violence and discrimination.

Others say that the sex offender registry is a vital tool designed to help people protect themselves. Some sexual assault convictions can lead to a sentence of life in prison. Some who advocate for keeping the registries consider serious sex offenses as malicious and evil as murder, such as Executive Director of Standing Together Against Rape — or STAR Alaska — Keely Olson.

“Child sexual assault, kidnapping, those kinds of things; they’re unclassified felonies and they’re going to be treated akin to a homicide,” Olson said.

STAR Alaska provides free services to survivors of sexual trauma, which they say is a critical component of their recovery. Olson feels sex offender registries are especially important in Alaska. . . .

Sex offender registries were created before the internet exploded, and Vander Wall says since that happened it has created chaos and fear, virtually casting offenders out of society. He says the public has a misconception that sex offenders are more likely to reoffend. . . .

“If we really live in a culture that believes in second chances, is committed to restoration and restorative justice, then there’s just no place in that culture for a sex offender registry, period,” Vander Wall says.

Watch the video and read the full article here at KTUU.   

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15 Thoughts to “Sex offender registry “a bad tool” says NARSOL’s chair in interview”

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  1. Christian

    Ugg. The misuse of statistics is so frustrating.

    ““Sex offenders were more than three times as likely as other released prisoners to be arrested for rape or sexual assault,” the study concluded.

    Well no kidding. I bet arsonists were more likely to commit further arson and bank robbers were more likely to rob banks too. It’s a meaningless stat.

    The point is the follow up. “However, overall “sex offenders were less likely than all prisoners released…to have had a new arrest that resulted in a conviction after release.”

    People like Olson are so disingenuous. Good grief.

  2. Dan

    “Some who advocate for keeping the registries consider serious sex offenses as malicious and evil as murder …”

    Actually, it seems they think it is WORSE than murder, according to the people I’ve talked to …

    1. Tim

      yes and it continues to exist even though known perpetrators, who have positioned themselves in the other tier of justice by money and influence (such as prince andrew and those still unknown via jeffrey epstein and ghislaine maxwell) are not required to report, exemplify are more than one provable reality of nonprosecution caused by privilege, influence and money should be enough to invalidate the registry and the two tier nonjustice and abuse it represents…

    2. Dan

      I would think that they believe it is worse. Someone can kill another person and never be on a registry. This seems to be the easiest argument but no one takes it to the folks that “need/want” a registry. how many DWI/DUI that have killed someone or hurt someone are on a registry? How many people that have commit home invasion robberies?

  3. Gene Laws

    My name is G Laws. I live in Columbus Ohio. I’m a registered citizen. I have been out of prison for 20 years and not once have I had any contact with law enforcement.
    I sleep in my van because I cannot find housing. The claim that I would repeat my crime is not supported by my history. There is no end to this madness and will last until the day I die. I was not given a life sentence but the civil requirements to register makes it one.

  4. Joseph

    If one traces the history of the registry, and and all State and Federal laws enacted thereafter, it all began to be erroneously worsened by the ONE US Supreme Court “misquote”, taken from ONE sexual offense counselor (who didn’t have enough clients and wanted to make alot more money, so he lied and made it up) who said that ‘recidivism rates for sexual offenders are “frightening and high'”. Then, that ONE lie was taken and quoted tens of thousands of times, by caselaw/judges/prosecutors Nationwide, if not worldwide, and utilized to implement this unlawful, unreasonable, unjustifiable, and insane violation of rights of a created ‘class’ of people, which the courts won’t even recognize as a ‘class of people’ so it can effectively be challenged as a valid class action suit. Everyone acts like they don’t know this quote was a completely fabricated LIE, but it is, and no one cares

    What I want to know is what has happened to the brand new Model Penal Code that was passed (by the American Law Institute), which had recognized this incorrect notion, and the statistics which do NOT justify registering those who have had a past sex type of offense? Why haven’t those new Nationwide guidelines been implemented yet!? They voted and approved doing AWAY with the registry, for all but like 6 offenses, and even those would only need to register with a NON-PUBLICLY accessible database, for law enforcement’s access ONLY, and only for a short period of time at that.
    The last Model Penal Code that was voted on and approved was back in the 60’s, and all the states went by it, so what is the holdup?

  5. R. Arens

    I know people that tried a cigarette, stubbed it out and never tried it again. Because they puffed it one time don’t make them a 2 pack a day chain smoker. They say because a offender did it once that we’ll do it over and over? Come on now! These people are really ignorant.

  6. Scott

    A friend is currently incarcerated. The number of internet related video/image sharing with teens and young people is so huge many incarcerated have NEVER had person to person contact with victims. Yet are punished as if they had.
    I’m not suggesting it isn’t wrong but perhaps the sentence isn’t equal.

  7. H n H

    So Mr Vander Wall says the registries are useless? The representative of NARSOL saying this is (I’m sorry) moot. What would be real news is a Senator or Legislator saying such and making waves against the Supreme Court to change these laws. This story doesn’t affect anything and will have no impact on changing anything.

  8. Erich Raulfestone

    People I have talked to say it just gives them a reason to kill, maim and hurt with little to no repercussions!!! And what politician is going to change the laws to the detriment of their career?? NONE!!!!

  9. Noel Brown

    Hmm people who serve time for murder or manslaughter do not have to register when they are released. So if they want the same treatment then sex offenders should not have to register either, right?

  10. Jim

    Mabie its time to do some research on the lifelong impact of a family of a child that was murdered by a drunk driver as compared to a family with a child who was misguided into sexual contact with a person who should have Never considered the act. This is a hard lined question. But who is worse? Someone who has sexual contact with a child and the child is still with their family and living? Or a child that is gone forever being murdered by a repeat offender drunken driver? Of Course, Both are very wrong but. Drunken drivers are the most repeat offenders of any criminal in history. Look at the stats. Many drunken drivers have more than even 10 offences and are still out. Only punishment is they ask them not to drive for a few years and do some classes. They are not on a list so parents can know where the drunken offender lives to keep their children inside and safe when the drunk driver leaves from or arrives to their home in their vehicle in case they might be drunk again. Please let this post. I worded it very carefully to show another wrong being committed but less punished.

  11. Jeremy from Indiana

    Unpopular opinion:

    I don’t think Mr. Vander Wall is using the correct arguments here. To say it’s “unfair” or “unjust” will definitely fall on deaf ears. The general public believes we deserve anything and everything they can punish us with. The proper argument would be to point out that the registry is supposed to be a “safety” tool and it fails miserably in that regard. It should also be pointed out that the ostracization of the registry not only affects the former offender, but anyone in his or her household and his or her employer. This includes the former offender’s children. The other proper argument would be the fact that the registry was ONLY declared constitutional because it’s a “civil regulatory scheme” i.e. NOT punishment. Therefore, all arguments for or against it being punishment are irrelevant. The only arguments that matter is if it does what it’s supposed to do… It doesn’t.

    In presenting these arguments, I would suggest having concrete facts from peer reviewed studies (with citations) at the ready, such as the 5.3% recidivism rate. I would also compare the rate of recidivism prior to and after implementation of the registry to show no significant change.

    We are not going to change the hearts and minds of people who hate us for what we did by asking them not to hate us. We can only change it by showing the ineffectiveness of their current “solution”

  12. Joseph Argenio

    All of this puffery & repetition is useless. We all know that registries are cruel & unusual punishment, unconstitutional invasions of privacy, largely useless & an hysterical reaction to a few egregious crimes applied way to broadly.
    Meantime the nation reels from mass shootings with very little in the way of laws to restrict guns, for example.
    Lawyers & judges have failed us, but a civil suit has never been tried, consider:
    1– repost websites make it possible for anyone to type in my name & pull up my status, address, etc. far in excess of finding nearby offenders as claimed in the “public safety” intentions of registries law.
    2– any poll of the public will easily reveal that people retain misconceptions about registrants. How can they not, when laws are named after the victims of the most heinous crimes. Hence, a flasher is conflated with rape & murder of children. Ask the public and you’ll find, for example, the sex offender, child molester, pedophile and similar terms are conflated by the average person.
    Registrants as a class have been harmed by these 2 facts. Where are all the tort lawyers, of which we seem to have many, to sue each state & the federal government — hit them in the pockets. This country understands money! That’s why climate lawsuits are so frightening to the establishment.
    Peace.

  13. Chris B

    The reporter said that the families who helped establish the Registry are against it but not willing to speak out against it publicly. What? What good is their stance then? They would have the loudest voices of anyone, yet they refuse to act.