State to launch Internet sex-offender registry
Officials plan to put information about the state´s 1,200 registered sex offenders on the Internet to allow residents to easily determine if a convicted offender lives in their neighborhood.
The Department of Public Safety plans to launch the online sex offender registry on Monday.
The Legislature instructed the department to have a site up and running by the end of the year after the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that such Internet registries do not infringe on sex offenders´ constitutional rights.
This one comes back to the basic issue of what happens to a criminal once they have "served their time". There are basically three options:
- Allow full restoration of rights, including privacy, upon release.
- Use registries like this one to "keep an eye on them" (in a manner similar to a criminal on probation).
- Do not release those deemed liked to commit additional crimes if released.
The problems with each proposal should be obvious. If you allow full rights, some will likely commit new crimes (and the rate for sex offenses is supposedly very high). If you use "sex offender registries" then you are taking an active measure that will likely prevent the criminal from ever having a normal, successful life; in other words, while you are making sure that potential victims are aware of the criminal's history (if they bother to check), you are also increasing the rate of recidivism by denying non-criminal activities. And if you simply keep them locked up once their sentence has been served, you've suddenly moved into the realm of locking people up for what they might do; thoughtcrime.
I don't know what the answer is, but I'm not sure I like any of them.
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