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Still Time to Rethink the Misguided Approach of the Sex Offender Registration and. Notification Act


Studies, including studies by the Department of Justice, show that the vast majority of sex offenders do not re-offend, that sex offender treatment is effective, and that community support and stability are essential to rehabilitation. Publication on an Internet sex offender registry very often results in job loss, homelessness, disruption of treatment, loss of social and family support, harassment and even violence. When used indiscriminately for low- and high-risk offenders alike, public notification interferes with rehabilitation, thus diminishing public safety, and wastes resources better spent on the relatively small number of offenders who are dangerous and likely to recidivate.

About half the states use a risk-assessment model, which classifies sex offenders according to dangerousness and risk of recidivism and limits public notification accordingly. The Sex Offender Registration and Notification Act of 2006 (SORNA), however, requires the states to adopt a harsh one-size-fits-all policy by July 27, 2009, or lose Byrne Grant funds. The SORNA was enacted without hearings. The states were not consulted and current state practices were not considered. Input from organizations with expertise in the area was ignored. It is not too late to rethink this flawed policy. ..Source.. by Amy Baron-Evans (Sentencing Resource Counsel, Federal Public and Community Defenders. FEDERAL SENTENCING REPORTER. VO L. 2 0, NO. 5, JUNE 2008, p. 357)

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