Any politician running for office or police officer patrolling the street will likely say, “Utah’s sex offender registry keeps our children safe.” But an objective look at the data shows that the registry may not be having an actual affect on our children’s safety.
Numerous studies and reports have concluded the same thing: sex offenders have a low recidivism rate. (Jeffrey C. Sandler, Naomi J. Freeman, Kelly M. Socia: Does a Watched Pot Boil? A Time-Series Analysis of New York State’s Sex Offender Registration and Notification Law (2008)). One study examined sex crime rates committed by first-time offenders as well as previously convicted offenders from 1986 through 2007 — the 10 years before New York enacted the Sex Offender Registration Act through 11 years after. Tellingly,the recidivism rates for the non-registry group and registry group were unchanged. This indicates that the sex offender registry did not have any impact on the prevention or reduction of sex crimes. The U.S. Department of Justice’s reported in 2004 that 95 percent of sex offenses are committed by first time offenders, or said another way, people with no prior conviction for a sex crime. This means that the sex offender registry doesn’t even affect 95% of all the crimes that it’s supposed to prevent.
The registry doesn’t serve as a deterrent to people committing sex crimes, it doesn’t reduce the number of sex crimes, and it doesn’t protect children or society at large. Unfortunately, politicians and police will continue to vouch for it’s effectiveness. More and more people will have to register their names on the list. The best way to stop this madness is to aggressively fight any sex crimes charge to prevent yourself from being put on the registry.