By SANDY ROZEK
According to local news reports, Oneida County has contracted with Offender Watch as an aid in community safety. This undertaking focuses exclusively on registered sex offenders, and while the significant expenditure would be justified if the scheme actually provided safety, the evidence suggests it will not.
Fact and evidence-based research show that procedures focusing on those who are registered for a previous sexual offense — which could be juvenile, a misdemeanor, or illegal but consensual as well as serious or violent — do little to nothing to protect children or others from sexual harm. This is because virtually all new sexual crime is perpetrated by those not on the registry but by individuals with relationships with those they victimize.
All resources are expended toward the wrong population, bankrupting states with no corresponding reduction in sexual crime. Reform is needed, reform that would allow former offenders who want to live law-abiding lives and raise their families in peace to do so, would allow more focused law enforcement monitoring for those who are unable or unwilling to change their behaviors if and when they are in the community, and would establish programs geared toward education and prevention in the schools and communities.