Lobotomies were once considered useful tools too!
The sex offender registry law in Mississippi works, but like most any other law, it is not perfect . What makes it somewhat unique is that residents have to avail themselves of what is provided under the law for it to be most effective.
Persons convicted of a wide range of sexual offenses are required to register with the Department of Public Safety when they are released from custody. The information gathered is comprehensive. It includes detailed identification, a photograph and states what the offense was and when it occurred. Periodic updates are mandatory, giving authorities the person’s current address.
The information is relayed to law enforcement agencies in the county where the person lives. It also is available online, where anyone with access to a computer can search the database and determine, for instance, if a convicted sex offender lives in their neighborhood. Most people with children would consider this to be valuable information. Persons subject to listing on the registry who fail to comply with the requirements face penalties of up to five years in prison and a fine of up to $5,000 or both.
And yet, noncompliance occurs. When a person on the registry provides a false address, it can take time to discover the deceit and more time to hunt him or her down.
That’s what happened recently in Rankin County when a man on the sex offender registry gave DPS a Hinds County address but actually was living in Rankin County in close proximity to a woman who was murdered. The man is charged in her death.
“I can’t say that we could have prevented him from doing this, but I do feel if we had a better way to track sex offenders, maybe a way of electronic tracking, what would have happened in this case is that when he failed to comply he could be taken into custody,” Madison/Rankin District Attorney Michael Guest was quoted as saying in The Clarion-Ledger.
- Even with electronic tracking, if the person wanted to harm someone, nothing will prevent that.
Of course, there’s no way to know if his reporting a correct address would have changed anything in this case.
But the proper approach should be to get the information so you can be aware of your surroundings. After all, the person on the registry is there for having been convicted of a crime.
- So have all the other non-registered criminals! Like murderers, gang members, drug dealers, etc!, but you don't know about them.