As some states reconsider sex-offender registries, an alabama resident argues the state’s for-life requirements are too much free annistonstar.com chapter 7 electricity note taking worksheet

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He couldn’t live with his wife, mother or brother in Montgomery, because the state required him to stay away from kids, schools and daycares. Soon he was jobless and living under a bridge, with “Criminal Sex Offender” stamped in red letters on his driver’s license.

Alabama’s sex offender laws are among the most stringent in the nation. Home to more than 11,000 registered sex offenders, Alabama is among four states that put sex offenders on a mandatory registry for life and the only state that puts the sex offender stamp on a driver’s license.

“Very few people on the registry are going to commit another offense, and it has nothing to do with the public knowing where they are,” Sandy Rozek, communications director for National Association for Rational Sex Offense Laws, an organization that supports making sex offender registries accessible only to law enforcement. Phil Telfeyan

“They’re kind of ‘feel good’ laws,” said Emily Horowitz, a professor of sociology and criminal justice at St. Francis College in New York. “We’re all deeply disturbed when harm is done, especially sexual harm, and they came out of emotionally charged, high profile instances.”

She pointed specifically to a study by Ira Mark Ellman, a professor of psychology and law at Arizona State University, and Tara Ellman, who looked at sex offender recidivism in their 2015 study “Frightening and High.” They found the most common statistic, that up to 80 percent of sex offenders reoffend, is a baseless accusation that has been repeated to the point of being held as fact, even by the U.S. Supreme Court.

Only California, South Carolina and Florida also require permanent registry for every sex offense, and California is moving towards a tiered system that would allow those at a low risk for recidivism to have their names removed from the public registry if they remain offense-free for 10 or 20 years, depending on their crime.

“The state’s sex offender registry has lost significant value over time because it contains so many low-risk offenders with decades-old offenses,” Los Angeles County District Attorney Jackie Lacey said in an emailed statement. “Our bill will improve public safety by creating a tiered system that will allow investigators to focus on those offenders who pose the greatest risk.” Protecting victims

Lawmakers in California may be looking to change their state regulations regarding sex crimes, their counterparts in Alabama are not pushing for similar reforms in most cases. Sen. Cam Ward, R-Alabaster, said that Alabama’s policy makers created the state’s statutes to mirror the federal guidelines, and while they have created a path for people convicted of consensual statutory rape to be removed from the registry, he doesn’t see any support for removing Alabama’s lifetime registration requirement for most sex offenders.

“For every statistic that points one way, you can get a statistic and point the other way,” Ward said. “From what I can tell from people I talk to around Alabama, they are sympathetic to things like expungement on property crimes and they want to reduce recidivism, but for the most part, I haven’t heard anyone saying I wish sex offenders would catch a break.” Cam Ward

“I think more than them trying to bring forth things to make it — however they’re saying it — fair or whatever, I think it makes them far more likely to reoffend,” Shuler said. “These people are raping people knowing that they’re going to have to register as a sex offender, and if that doesn’t scare them, they shouldn’t be mad about the punishment.”

“Most people I know of on the sex offender registration are truly sex offenders, and they need to be on it,” Wade said. “I’m not willing to do away with tracking sex offenders in my community. I want to know where they are to protect the people of Calhoun County as best I can. If I can help to protect just one citizen, I call that a success.”

Former state Sen. Bill Armistead was the sponsor of the original bill to create a sex offender registry in Alabama. He said that while unintended consequences must be addressed, the focus on sex offender registry laws should be on the victims and their families. Sheriff Matthew Wade

“If we err, we need to err on the side of innocent families and make sure they’re aware of the dangers of a pedophile living close to a school, for instance,” Armistead said. “We should always continue to look to improve that legislation on behalf of the families, but we also need to look at unintended consequences going forward.”

Rep. Randy Wood, R-Saks, agreed with Armistead and said that some sex crimes, like the so-called “Romeo and Juliet” cases of teenaged couples having consensual sex when one partner is old enough to be charged with statutory rape, might warrant some leniency when it comes to lifetime stays on the registry.

“If some young person made a mistake and it was a one-time deal, I think they need to be held accountable for several years and make sure they’re not going to do it again, but I would always keep an open mind and look at the situation,” he said.

Telfeyan doesn’t believe Alabama is moving in the right direction, which is why McGuire is suing the state for retroactive punishment. Article 1 of the U.S. Constitution prohibits both Congress and individual states from changing the punishments of crimes that were committed before the laws were enacted, which McGuire and Telfeyan feel apply to this case.