Thursday, April 4, 2013

TX - Conservative Think Tank Supports Less Sex Offender Disclosure

Original Article


By Emily DePrang

Texas lawmakers have filed more than a dozen bills this session that augment or add restrictions to the behavior of registered sex offenders, of whom Texas now has over 72,000. That’s normal—sex offenders don’t have a lot of constituent clout and making them list their status on a driver’s license or social media profile is a low-cost, low-risk way to look tough on crime.

What’s unusual is that the Texas Senate recently passed a bill that would remove employer information from the public registry. Senate Bill 369 (PDF) is by Houston’s Democratic state senator John Whitmire. Right now, you can look up an offender’s name, race, height, weight, hair color, eye color, shoe size, home address, birth date, and employer name and address. Dropping the last two wouldn’t be for the good of offenders, but of the businesses they work for.

The employer didn’t commit an offense,” says Marc Levin, director of the Texas Public Policy Foundation’s Center for Effective Justice. “There’s a lot of concern about employers being harassed, vigilantism. Certainly there are a lot of studies showing that families of sex offenders have been subject to harassment and even criminal activity.”

Levin says the House version of the bill, HB 879 (PDF), also met enthusiastic support in committee.

The risk that a sex offender may reoffend is actually lower if they’re employed,” Levin says, so along with protecting employers, the reform may increase public safety.

But that kind of pragmatism is a slippery slope toward reality-based policy. No research has ever suggested, let alone proved, that public sex offender registries prevent crime or reduce recidivism. (Check out “Life On the List,” our cover story from last June, for extensive documentation of what the list doesn’t do.) And research does show that the perennially popular laws restricting offenders’ movement, employment, schooling and home hinder successful reintegration.

The registry continues to swell, and all that monitoring takes public money and law enforcement time and attention. So will the TPPF, a free-market think tank that has supported a variety of right-on-crime reforms, ever oppose the registry itself?

We haven’t gotten into the question of whether we should have one,” Levin says. “But there is a concern that the registry encompasses too many people that aren’t predators to be effective.”


Lynne Clapper said...

This just makes the case that it's (the registry and further restrictions) punishment.....let us not 'punish' the employers or family members. ...Let's just destroy people we believe deserve it rather than rehabilitate/heal/make improvements and thus a better world. Nahhh, an eye for an eye then we can all be perpetrators.....super, groovy, marvey, keen thinking!!!!!

Bill said...

Individuals across the country are looking for sex offenders who are employed by large businesses with billions of dollars in their coffers. After they locate the business all they need is a child. Preferably an 7 to ten year old girl. The scammers use the service or patron the story while the registered is on duty. Then give the child a simple and believable sexual assault story and promise her what ever she wants if she just repeats the story as often as some one asks. Even if the D.A. does not pursue the case the scammers will file for millions in civil court and extort money to keep it out of the press. After paying to keep it out of the press the company will pay millions more to keep it out of court for if it goes to court it goes public. The scammers know they have nothing to loose. Know one is going to prosecute the child for her story and it is almost assured they will be rich and set for life. Big companies like the one I use to work for are keeping this a secret and trying to put pressure on states who make employment records public.

ericangevine said...

Do you actually know of a case where this has occurred? I agree it would be possible, but this sounds like an urban legend to me.

Mark said...

Hey Bill, kudos!!! Like this does not happen more that normal?? Ah, the smell of MONEY! The 7-10 year old kids will be coached to say something, and then the good holy adults will really embellish it and before its over, prison, registries, and lots of MONET will flow like NIagra Falls. Good going again Bill!

Mark said...

I have a question for all to answer if you are able to. If the courts have determined in all states along with the federal courts that all sex offender registries are 'CIVIL,' and '"REGULATORY," why then are all state sex offender registries replete with criminal sanctions if one fails to comply with registration? If indeed registries are truly "CIVIL," and "REGULATORY," which I believe are really penal laws - that these are mandatory for a bulk of sexual offenses. In short, I believe sex offender registries are a "direct" consequence of enumerated sex offense especially if it is a crime involving a minor, or is determined to be a "sexually violent offense," and not a "collateral" consequence. In all my years of being in the legal world, I have never seen or reviewed a statute as a so-called "CIVIL" regulatory law loaded with criminal penalties. as sex offender registries are.

Mark said...

Hey ericangevin, three cases come to mind. The first was the McMartin pre school scandal in California which resulted in millions in insurance pay offs and NO CONVICTIONS. And of course the infamous Amirault case in Massachusetts which resulted in three convictions; a mother, daughter and husband (day care center), with millions paid out, and several years later two convictions overturned and tossed out and the state gave Gerald Amirault a difficult time because he was a "MALE," (go figure right?), And last but not least again in Massachusetts (always), Mr. Benard Baron: In 1984, Bernard Baran, was given to multiple life sentences for a crime he did not commit. He was a gay, 19-year old kid. He spent 22 years in prison and another 3 years after that waiting to clear his name. In 2006, after our law firm spent over 10 years investigating and preparing a motion for a new trial on behalf of Mr. Baran, a judge ordered his release. In 2009, the Massachusetts Appeals Court affirmed the order and Mr. Baran was finally free. What is conspicuously absent from any news story is the millions paid out in insurance in 84-85. There was so much proprietorial misconduct in the Baron case, it defies garvity. Oops the states did it again!!!