NARSOL’s AZ affiliate: “Changes needed in sex offender registry”

Published January 13, 2023, at the Arizona Capitol Times. Reprinted here in full with permission.

AZRSOL . . . In the late 1980s and early 1990s, a rare spate of high-profile child abductions and murders, mostly sexual in nature, terrified America. With constant media coverage, parents across the country were easily led to believe that their children could be in imminent danger. As demands from the public, as well as a few prominent parents of missing or murdered children escalated, legislatures responded, and the sex offender registry was born.

This primal need to protect our children from any possible harm resonates in us all. Human logic supports instincts – if we identify and track those who have committed these crimes, we can better protect those we love. False information surrounding the risk of re-offense by the perpetrators only increased the willingness to do anything to reduce that risk.

That was 30-plus years ago, and in those years the sex offender registration system has grown to the point that children as young as 9 can be registered, and teenagers having consensual sex and sexting can be registered. The rules, restrictions, and background checks often dictated by the registry can be onerous and destroy any rehabilitation initiatives and lifetime registration with no path off the registry destroys all hope for a better tomorrow.

Something else has happened in those 30 years. We now have a massive body of evidence showing that every premise upon which registration was built is false. It does not reduce sexual recidivism, neither violent nor nonviolent. It does not reduce first-time sex crimes. Furthermore, the purported high rate of re-offense is non-existent.

Finally, the American Law Institute is calling for changes. The institute is an independent organization of thousands of lawyers, judges, and scholars who published The Model Penal Code in 1962 to encourage the states to standardize their criminal codes. Even though it is not legally binding, it proved to be influential as a majority of states adopted it, either in part or in whole. Their current revision to the sex offender codes has taken nearly a decade to complete and is intended to guide the states in updating their laws based on the empirical knowledge we have gained since 1962.

The changes recommended by the American Law Institute involve four areas:

  • Limiting registerable offenses to the more dangerous ones.
  • Providing registry access to law enforcement only.
  • Modifying registration terms, especially abolishing lifetime registration and the ability to register children.
  • Abolishing blanket restrictions that automatically curtail all registrants’ rights and freedoms.

These revised recommendations are based on 30 years of research and would make our laws more just regarding crimes of a sexual nature and those who commit them.

On May 18, 2022, the American Law Institute, at its annual meeting approved the changes and gave the project final approval.

Arizonans for Rational Sex Offense Laws supports the American Law Institute’s revised Model Penal Code as it pertains to the management of sexual crimes and calls upon the Arizona Legislature to enact laws that reflect the American Law Institute’s recommendations.

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3 Thoughts to “NARSOL’s AZ affiliate: “Changes needed in sex offender registry””

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  1. mut

    i think they also re-defined the crime of rape by transitioning from a traditional question of voluntariness to a question of civil tort and did so in order to create the appearance of an increase in that crimes prevalence and ultimately justify an increase in necessary funding and government employees who are dependant on that false narative.

    subjugate, conquer, control, exploit, enslave.

  2. H n H

    In my state there is a box on the registration paperwork that indicates “court determined predator” with either a yes or no box. Mine and many others I know of are checked “no”. If I’m not a court determined predator, then why am I being forced to register? The reason the whole ALI guidelines hasn’t been adhered to is because the powers to be want the registry. It’s nothing more than a political tool for power and control from both sides of the argument (for the control of the registrant and political leverage). My registration office has multiple cabinets full of peoples registration documents. I can’t imagine what it would be like to have all those files pulled and put into a shredder and the data on law enforcement hard drives (including the websites displaying such information) to be completely erased from existence.

    Dream on.

  3. mut

    being forced from the safety of ones home or immediate vicinity unto a distant location where further restrained for the economic benefit of another is no longer a kidnapping (?) because not an ‘affirmative disability or restraint’ on ones liberty. nollette v state of nevada (2002).