Sex offender registration laws have been in place for decades in states like Texas. However, sex offender registration is coming under increased scrutiny.
A recent article in Juvenile Justice claimed sex offender registration laws for both adults and juveniles are not well thought out but are knee-jerk reactions to terrible incidents of child abductions that resulted in abuse and even killings
The report said the move to set up sex offenders registers followed pressure for something to be done after high-profile crimes involving children.
A case in point is the Adam Walsh Child Protection and Safety Act of 2006.
This legislation requires all states to implement some form of sex-offender registration. The idea was that parents and children would be safer if the identities and addresses of sex offenders were known.
Legislation has been in place for decades requiring juveniles who commit certain sexual offenses to register as sex offenders.
The article in Juvenile Justice stated it’s time to re-examine these laws. Critical is a reminder of why they were passed in the first place.
The article suggested the juvenile laws were enacted hastily and new information questions the basis of sex offenders laws.
It claimed there are flaws in the idea if juvenile registration, including:
The fact juvenile sexual offenders do not typically become adult sex offenders.
There is scant research showing that registration laws prevent the victimization of children.
Requirements for juveniles to register as sex offenders often do more harm than good.
The Juvenile Law Center claimed the public registration requirements for juveniles who commit sexual offenses are out of line with the underlying philosophy of the U.S. juvenile justice system. Instead of seeking to rehabilitate juveniles, the system is punishing young people who have not fully developed cognitively.
Their report noted that researchers found juveniles who commit sexual offenses had less sexual recidivism than adult sexual offenders.
A derailed assessment of seven studies found a mere 7 to 13 percent of juveniles who commit sexual offenses sexually re-offended within approximately five years.
One of the dangers of punishing juvenile offenders is they may be more easily condemned to a life of adult criminality, a recent report noted.
If you or a child has been accused of an offense such as a sexual crime you will likely be facing very serious consequences. Please contact Peek & Toland PLLC at (512) 474-4445.