Sex Offender Registries (SOR’s): TIME-FOR-A-CHANGE

registry swamp

Editor’s Note:  Although this article is clearly editorial in nature, it contains a substantial amount of fact and data that have direct bearing on the subject.  It’s also a long article, and I hope you’ll have the patience to read it through to the end.

The article is in five sections:

The History of Sex Offender Registries in the US

Sex Offender Registries are Manifestly Unjust

Sex Offender Registries Don’t Work

Sex Offender Registries Cost a Lot of Money


The History of Sex Offender Registries in the US

Sex offender registration in the US all began with the Jacob Wetterling Crimes Against Children and Sexually Violent Offender Registration Act passed by Congress in 1994.  Its genesis was the abduction of 11 year old Jacob Wetterling, who was never found.  The law requires all states to establish a sex offender registry.  At the same time (1994) in New Jersey, the state legislature passed Megan’s Law.  It was enacted in response to the murder of seven year old Megan Kanka by a known prior sex offender.  The law requires public notification of a person’s sex offender status, and the commonly included information is the offender’s name, picture, address, incarceration date, and nature of crime.   The Wetterling Act was amended by Congress in 1996 to include Megan’s Law.  Since that time, every state has enacted some form of sex offender registry and public notification law.  It is a deeply emotional and visceral issue that has been able to easily capture the support of the politicians and the public.  But the wave of seemingly automatic public support has enabled and encouraged the legislators to go too far too fast.  The legislators latched onto this, because it’s a political “no brainer” – it gets them elected.  But there has been no check on it, and the administrative and punitive solutions for dealing with the offenses have been implemented with no data or evidence of efficacy.

In 2006, at the federal level, we had the passage of the AdamWalsh Act and SORNA.  SORNA refers to the Sex Offender Registration and Notification Act which is Title I of the Adam Walsh Child Protection and Safety Act of 2006 (Public Law 109-248).  SORNA establishes minimum standards for sex offender registration and notification in the United States.

There are currently over three quarters of a million registered sex offenders in the US.  (You can see a detailed state-by-state sex offender census here: US RSO’s.)  Discounting the very small number of women who are registered, this means that one in every 149 adult males in the US is a registered sex offender.

 Sex Offender Registries are Manifestly Unjust

Imagine this.  You (or a loved one) have been convicted of a “sex crime.”  This could be anything from inappropriate touching, indecent exposure (flashing your breasts in California counts), or public urination to rape or sexual assault.  You’ve done your prison time, and have been released from incarceration.  If you had committed any crime other than a sex crime, you’d be on probation/parole for a few years, then you would have “paid your price,” and you’d be “done.”  However, since you were convicted of a sex crime, you first had to serve a particularly long prison sentence (11 years for inappropriate touching in one case I’m familiar with), and then you must participate in mandatory “treatment” programs after release, and you must register with the authorities as a sex offender for a lengthy period of time – often decades and sometimes for life.  Your name, address, and photo are placed on publicly available government web sites.  As a consequence of being on the registry, you find that you experience some combination of the following (varies by state):  You can’t find a place to live, because nobody will give you a lease, and you can’t live within very large restricted zones which can include entire city limits.  If you do find a place to live, you may be required to have one month advance approval to reside at that address.  You can’t find a decent job, if you can even find one at all.  The words “sex offender” are printed on your driver’s license.  You’re not allowed to have a Facebook page, or are not even allowed internet access at all.  You can’t go to fast food restaurants or malls that have playgrounds.  You can’t be alone with your own children.  You can’t walk your child to the school bus.  You can’t visit your own child in a children’s hospital.  You can’t go to parks, zoos, playgrounds, fairs, carnivals, beaches, movie theaters, fitness centers, bowling alleys, public pools, golf courses, . . . . . ..  You must post a “no treats” sign in your yard on Halloween, or you might even have to report to the police station.  You must re-register every 90 days.  You are highly vulnerable to extortionists who threaten to splash your personal information across multiple web sites.  Your sex offender status and personal information are printed in the local paper and broadcast on the local news.  You must get permission to leave the county or the state.  You have to wear a GPS locator ankle bracelet.  And the list just goes on.

Aside from the question of whether or not the laws actually work – which we’ll get to later – the laws, punishments, and systems that have been put in place have gone far beyond the bounds of what would be right and proper and just.  See this recent article from The Slate: Sex Offender Laws Have Gone Too Far.

California, and other states, had the infamous “three strikes” law, which turned out to be a disaster, but … the SOR’s are the equivalent of a “one strike” law.

If you haven’t already done so, I would strongly urge that you read the WCB article The Wrongfully Convicted Sex Offender, which helps fill in some other details about what actually happens to sex offenders in the system.  And then, read on ….

 Sex Offender Registries Don’t Work

The SOR’s were not established out of evidence-based data.  We know that for sure.  I believe they were established, at least in part, out of the same kind of moral hysteria that pervaded the country during the preschool satanic cult episodes of the early 80’s.  I believe another component has been that our justice system tends to be punitive and revenge-based.  After all, the US has the most draconian sentencing laws in the world, and this has been a function of the will of the electorate – you get what you vote for.  When the families of sex offense victims say they want “justice,” what they really mean is they want revenge, and the SOR’s help see that they get it, and get it, and get it.  Perhaps this also goes back to some of the puritan cultural roots of the country with “cleansing” through punishment and public shaming; but of course, that’s conjecture on my part.  But the bottom line is – the SOR’s don’t work – at least, not the way they’re supposed to.  They do effectively impose long-term (often lifetime) punishment and public shame upon the registrants, but they’ve been shown to not accomplish their purposes of community safety and preventing repeat offenders.

By their very existence, SOR’s make the presumption that all sex offenders are mindless psychotics incapable of controlling themselves.  A major driver behind SOR legislation has been the false and unsubstantiated belief that sex offenders are highly likely to be repeat offenders.  This couldn’t be further from the truth.  As we’ll see below, sex offenders have a statistically very low rate of recidivism (re-offending).  It has also been mistakenly believed that most sex offenders are strangers to their victims.  This is also just not true.  Data compiled by the National Center for Juvenile Justice in their paper  Juvenile Offenders and Victims shows that for sexual assault committed against minors (age 0-17) the offenders were 35% family members, 60% acquaintances, and only 5% strangers.

Study after study has confirmed that sex offender registries fail to achieve the objective of limiting recidivism and reducing the occurrence of sex crimes.  Let’s look at where it all started in 1994 with Megan’s Law in New Jersey.  A 2008 federally funded study done by the New Jersey Department of Corrections came to these conclusions (underline emphasis added):

Megan's Law Graphic

We do know, however, that sex offender registries do accomplish these three things.

1) They increase the burden of punishment far beyond what would be right and just, and for extended periods of time – sometimes life.  It is beyond all logic and beyond all reason.

2)  For sex offenders that have been wrongfully convicted, the SOR’s make a travesty of justice that is positively unthinkable.  (see The Wrongfully Convicted Sex Offender)

3)  They cost the taxpayers a LOT of money.

Guy Hamilton Smith is a convicted sex offender.  Even though on the Kentucky SOR, he has been able through incredible diligence to achieve a law degree, and given his experience inside the system, he has some very insightful things to say about the need for change.  It’s worth noting that even though he has a law degree, the Kentucky Supreme Court says he cannot take the bar exam until he’s off the registry – in another 18 years.   See that story here.

Jill Levenson of Lynn University and David A. D’Amora of the Center for the Treatment of Problem Sexual Behavior have written a paper that compares social policies designed to prevent sexual violence [sex offender registration, community notification (Megan’s Law), residence restrictions, civil commitment, and electronic monitoring] to “the emperor’s new clothes.”  The proponents and progenitors of these polices would have you believe that they work, are effective, and are necessary.  However, this quote from the paper’s abstract: “… extant research does not suggest that these policies achieve their goals of preventing sex crimes, protecting children, or increasing public safety.”  See the abstract of that paper here.

The proponents of SOR’s will claim that they are needed to help prevent sex offenders from “doing it again.”  However, the data shows that the rate of recidivism (reoffending) for sex offenders is low, approximately 5% or 1 in 20.  The only other crime with a lower recidivism rate is murder at 1.2% (US Bureau of Justice Statistics).  For comparison, here are the recidivism rates for some other crimes:  car theft, 79%; burglary, 74%; domestic battery, 41%.  Perhaps what we should really have is domestic battery offender registration or car theft offender registration.

Here are just a few relevant scholarly studies:

Through her research, Prof. Jill Levinson of Lynn University, who is a nationally recognized expert in sex offender policy, has confirmed that sex offender recidivism is rare, and should not determine policy.  See her article here.

Sex Offender Registries: Fear Without Function?, a study by Amanda Agan of the University of Chicago.  From the abstract:  The results from all three datasets do not support the hypothesis that sex offender registries are effective tools for increasing public safety.

Failure to Protect: America’s Sexual Predator Laws and the Rise of the Preventive State by Eric S. Janus.  Janus contends that aggressive measures such as civil commitment and Megan’s law, which are designed to restrain sex offenders before they can commit another crime, are bad policy and do little to actually reduce sexual violence. Further, these new laws make use of approaches such as preventive detention and actuarial profiling that violate important principles of liberty. Janus also warns that the principles underlying the predator laws may be the early harbingers of a “preventive state” in which the government casts wide nets of surveillance and intervenes to curtail liberty before crimes of any type occur.

Sex Offender Laws: Failed Policies, New Directions by Richard G. Wright.  In response to many high-profile cases of sexual assault, federal and state governments have placed a number of unique criminal sanctions on sex offenders. These include residency restrictions, exclusionary zones, electronic monitoring, and chemical castration. However, the majority of sex offender policies are not based on empirical evidence, nor have they demonstrated any significant reductions in offender recidivism. In fact, some of these policies have unintended consequences, which actually increase the likelihood of sexual offenses.

For a comprehensive list of books, studies, reports and documentaries, see this  page  on the website  It’s Time to Reduce, Reconstruct, Reclassify, Rethink and Reform the Virginia Sex Offender Registry, which is administered by Mary D. Devoy.

Sex Offender Registries Cost a Lot of Money

We’ve said that the SOR’s cost taxpayers a lot of money.  Just how much is that?

The Justice Policy Institute published estimates of the cost of the state sex offender registries  compliant with SORNA.  Here are some of the estimates made in 2009 expressed in 2014 current dollars:  California, $66M; Florida, $34M; Illinois, $24M; New York, $35M; Pennsylvania, $22M; Texas, $44M.  In 2014 dollars, Virginia’s estimate for implementation was $14M, and the annual operating cost after that would be $10M.

For the US, the total is $547M.  That’s over half a billion dollars – every year – for something that doesn’t work.


One must certainly concede that there are people out there who are just truly evil and sick, and yes, these people deserve all the attention and monitoring that the state can give them.  But this is a very small number of people.  The sex offender registries, as now structured within the justice system, sweep in even first-time minor offenders (e.g. “inappropriate touching” or indecent exposure) and impose upon them an inordinately harsh and lengthy punishment.

Do you believe that one in every 149 adult males in the country are so sexually dangerous that they must be registered and tracked continuously?  I cannot and do not.

In 2003, the US Supreme court, in Smith vs. Doe, ruled that SOR’s were purely administrative and not punitive.  But given the directions and extremes of how the SOR’s have developed, I seriously wonder if an Eighth Amendment challenge couldn’t be brought against the SOR’s as “cruel and unusual punishment?”

Unfortunately, the registries have, at this point, become embedded in the justice system infrastructure.  There are now lots of highly paid people who make their livings from running these things, and they will fight mightily to ensure their continuance.  And can you imagine a state legislator introducing a bill to abolish the state’s sex offender registry?  Political suicide. The public is ill-informed at best, but is mostly clueless.  Even the thought of sex offenses elicits a deep-seated emotional response from most people, regardless of what actually may have happened or what is just, so getting voter support for such a move would require a massive public education campaign.

Sex offender registries are unjust, they don’t work, and they cost a lot of money.  So, why do we have them??  My analysis would be that, based upon the FACTS, they are not supportable as they currently exist.

And how the hell are we going to fix this?  I’ll be damned if I know.  But I would hope that if enough of the electorate eventually develops an understanding of how medieval and unjust the SOR’s are to most of the people who are in them that we can bring some legislative sanity to this issue.


Here are some web sites that you may find of interest:  (This site is the most comprehensive repository of information on the subject that I have found.)

65 responses to “Sex Offender Registries (SOR’s): TIME-FOR-A-CHANGE

  1. Mr. Locke, Thank you for writing this courageous and outstanding piece on a subject, others choose to ignore — while letting the innocent and wrongfully convicted, and wrongfully imprisoned remain doomed to the prison Hell-holes across America! After they have served their time, they face additional punishment, which is unconstitutional and must be stopped. Thank you for listening to us and writing to build greater public awareness of this looming crisis in the criminal justice system that the lawmakers refuse to reform.

    • No one can dispute a State’s obligation to protect it’s citizens. It is obvious that the prefaced INTENT of the registry creating act is to protect the public! The point is it (the database) is used to protect the public the same way states always have; By incarcerating sex offenders for any refusal or failure to provide information. The large amount of information now requested by states DOC SORS forms are so extensive rendering an omission highly likely. The in EFFECT the act will inevitably impose punnishment “The Act imposes no physical restraint, and so does not resemble the punishment of imprisonment, which is the paradigmatic affirmative disability or restraint. Hudson, 522 U.S., at 104.”

  2. Of course the registry doesn’t work. Never has, never will. But it sure does help shameless politicians get reelected and gave birth to security theater cottage industry that employees hundreds of thousands of people with cushy data-entry desk jobs; U.S. Marshals too get to waste tax dollars (while releasing untold amounts of carbon emissions in the air that children breathe in) checking up on registrants whereabouts which gives the illusion of Tour de force while not preventing anything. The public was sold a pig in a poke.

    Actually, all it did was give birth to a security theater cottage industry that monitors and tracks people that are a non-credibile safety threats to children. The online registry is cyber-bullying and harassment, not “prevention or awareness.” For the ounce of good the proponents claim Megan’s Law has done, they are causing TONS of irreparable and undue harm with this ill-conceived and selfish imposition. The arrogance and thuggery to think that children should be protected at “all costs” by circumventing and compromising an individual’s privacy safety and security for an illusory safety apparatus.

    Identification, awareness and knowledge would not have saved Megan Kanka or Adam Walsh. The negligence and ignorance of their parents sealed their fates

    Society and the system didn’t fail Megan, her parents did. Now everyone that has plead guilty to a sex crime is witch hunted for the actions of Megan’s killer. Please. Somebody time me. How does this honor her memory for making her death stand for weaponized hate, blind ignorance and irrational fear?

    Some closing thoughts:

    Refering to every individual that committed a sex offense as a “sex offender” is the akin to calling every person an alcoholic that got busted for DUI.

    Makes about as much sense.

    • The landmark sex offender acts all bear the names of MURDERED children. Megan, Jessica, Adam Walsh, Jacob Wetterling. In at least two cases it was never proven that a sexual component was even involved. If one did not know better one would have to come to the logical conclusion that all of this would deal with child kidnappers / killers.

      Someone please explain how this was turned into ruining the lives of young men / boys who had a slightly underage, willing girlfriend, a person who touched a teenager on the buttocks or someone who looked at inappropriate photos.

  3. And how the hell are we going to fix this?

    The whole boondoggle needs to dry up on the vine financially.

    This is going to be a hard sell and a concerted effort on behalf of those made to registry but here goes:

    Operation Deny and Defy:

    Everyone on the registry needs to stop working. Even if you are able-bodied, stop giving back to a society that places and rewards politicians that subsequently pass illegal laws that eviscerate your privacy safety, peace of mind and security in exchange for some worrywart mother’s fleeting psychological comfort in exploiting your personal and private information.

    Everyone MUST claim “indigent” and “transient” at the local Sheriff’s office because you’re going to have to live in your car or the woods for a couple months. Whatever it takes to go off the grid, do it.

    This will send law enforcement into a tailspin and will overload the system; not to mention mass chaos will ensue.

    The sudden loss of revenue generation will prove too much and it will FORCE one of 3 things:

    1. Child safety advocates will be forced to fund this train wreck in which they fought so “hard” for.

    2. The NCMEC will have no choice but to pull this little red wagon they hold dear to their hearts and ask for appropriations from congress. Then and only then will the pipes get clogged and make those responsible that cheer-leaded for these laws pay dearly for their selfish impositions.

    3. This will send a message and make a statement that enough is enough and that individuals that have lost a child should NOT be allowed to cavort with lawmakers in order to sanction hate against a segment of society under a “guilt by association” pretense.

    • Once those who file false reports, commit prosecutorial misconduct, over-zealous prosecution face the same punishment they want for the accused, then these cases will dry up, along with all the money.
      See Center for Prosecutor Integrity and the new Prosecutorial Misconduct Registry, launched Jan. 2014.

    • I also was falsely accused, but I had to take an alford plea because there was no one to take care of my parents. The question is how do we change this, especially sense registered offender’s aren’t allowed to communicate with one another. We need help, what can we do?

      • Hello, I was also told sex offenders can not communicate or use internet. We can use the internet & you can communicate with other offenders(we are force to do weekly groups). Just no one tells you its after your parole/probation period ends.

  4. Excellent article, however, the very first sentence is incorrect. In California persons convicted of a number of sexual offenses (including consensual adult same sex relationships until not too long ago) have been required to register for the rest of their lives beginning in 1944 (was that still the Roosevelt or already the Truman Administration?). California has over 100,000 lifetime registrants, well over 10,000 in Los Angeles County (!) alone.

    These people are subject to an ever-increasing catalog of life-crushing restrictions until their last breath. In a recent report by the California Sex Offender Management Board ( it was noted that the California SOR contains more than 100 people who have not committed a sexual offense in over 50 (fifty) years.

    Other than that – thank you for your courageous and sane article!

    • my son thought he was talking to a eighteen year old he wasnt told by het tjat. she lied on her. hogh school uearbook chat site she wasnt her ptofile said 18 butstate of glorida used Ignorance of Age Law hete thete is no Defense to thay Law i feel its a civil rights violation it neefs to be updated with technology but noone. cares to do it Please tell the world maye xomeone will help change that look at floriidas ages on sec offemdet site we need help down here if u have boys dont move to florida! until things change ty

      • This is why we need to have family members or spouse to start running for office or lawyer or judges people who know and understand that just because someone who made a mistake are not always bad people
        If we can start getting people in office who are willing to make changes only then will things change

  5. Pingback: Sex Offender Registries (SOR’s): TIME-FOR-A-CHANGE | CA RSOL

  6. Pingback: Sex Offender Registries: Time for a Change | Friends of Justice

  7. caligirl. You are absolutley right, and I stand corrected. Thank you.
    California sex offender registration began in 1947, but did not include public notification until the Wetterling Act in 1994.
    Washington registered its “most dangerous” sex offenders, including public notification, starting in 1990.

    • Mr. Locke – my turn to stand corrected, then. However, it should be pointed out that even in 1947 this requirement was retroactive. California PC 290 reads “Any person who, since July 1, 1944, has been or is hereafter
      convicted in any court in this state or in any federal or military

      Retro-activity is so un-american I do no even know where to begin… but then, so is the entire concept – as you point out.

      For what is worth… the oldest profile on the California Megans Law web site that I could find by randomly clicking around (the vast majority of the web site do not include dates – in a direct violation of the California Penal Code) was a conviction from 1951 and a release date from 1952. Yeah, he should have expected his name all over the internet when he committed his crime…

  8. Kern County, Bakersfield, Callifornia: Then there’s “WITCH HUNT”, the award-winning documentary of the John Stoll story. An innocent man who spent 20 years in prison for an alleged crime he did not come. Ed Jagels, running for DA, created a moral panics, sweeping the neighborhoods for child molesters (redirecting attention from those in the “system” who were child molesters). Top prosecutor Ed Jagels retired after 25 years on a lucrative pension and was never punished for the many wrongful convictions and destroyed lives he maliciously prosecuted. So who are the real criminals in what has become a child abuse / sex abuse industry that impacts all and puts all at risk? Follow the campaign cycles of the “child savers” (who use children for $$$’s, could care less about their education or well-being).

    • correction: An innocent man who spent 20 years in prison for an alleged crime he did not COMMIT. Ed Jagels, running for DA, created a moral panic, sweeping the neighborhoods for child molesters (redirecting attention from those in the “system” who were child molesters). The men and women, Jagels prosecuted were sentenced to a combined 800 years in prison! All were wrongfully convicted and later exonerated. innocent lives destroyed and taxpayers still paying for the damage years later, with the powerful influence of DA Jagels on the failed “tough on crime” cronies, Three-strikes laws and explosive prison growth.

  9. Time to end this sick game played by the politicians, prosecutors, lawmakers, private prison profiteers and all with a financial game in the broken criminal justice system — played against the people, their families and children. Investigate the broken Family Court, child custody / child support which is rampant with false allegations against the other parent.

  10. Lance and caligirl, Your well-informed comments are a great public service! You hit it out of the ball park. Phil Locke’s article and the comments should be sent to every lawmaker across the nation, to let them know you’re sick of the game being played on innocent people. What happened to the presumption of innocence — with laws and policies taking away an individual’s rights and to create a sub-group of people, for an endless stream of $$$$’s?

  11. I was falsely convicted by Family over a Cover up By a family Member for a family Member..I was on the Wrong side of a family line & disposable due to the fact a Jewelry Store was to be My inheritance. So Basically a Modern Game of Thrones ….Totally Destroyed My life & that was the Goal of about 5 People and the manipulation of 1 person By the individuals & Authorities. I Have a witness to all of this He Was not at My hearing & Trial because He was over 200 miles away & My defense could not locate him. Total BS,,They Knew If He testified I would have Won He was THERE AND seen the Whole Mess Go down…Nice lil California law the County refuses to hear a case over 5 years old.? How Convenient,,I was not even Out Yet! I still have that person & He Wants to talk to an atty & Help Me but Atty’s Cost what I don’t have $ Justice never was a part of it. OR There Would be a few other people in Prison For Conspiracy…I Am NOT A Sex Offender! Just Labeled & tortured as one by Society. due to some VERY EVIL PEOPLE! I Need an Atty to take a Deposition From this Person,,& HELP get this Mess Fixed.Abuse from day 1 in My family I was the offspring of a failed marriage the only Male Child Heir hated by Both sides of the families involved,,,Lookin’ Back There was No Love just Manipulation,, They even had a Life insurance policy while I was in Prison….Go Figure! Blood Money! pure & simple Ruin him & if he gets killed in prison? We still collect! Nice Family Huh….Well I made it Out Barely,,,& The inheritance battle continues…I Want this off of Me so I can leave this FAMILY Behind with family like this Who needs Enemies Bein’ Hated just for being Born? My Grandmother said when I was Born I Quote” OMG It Looks like its Father,,Pinch its head off & tell God It Died”,,,True Story! Then My Mother Pawned Me off on every one abusive she could Find including My step father, I ran away to My father & They Dragged Me Back & had Me live with a lady they called the Dragon Lady “1 Mean Bitch” which beat me half to death & did Other things that would have them all locked up to this Day Heinous Stuff People! all a registry does is DESTROY ANY Chance an individual to LIVE a Normal life…Abuse In Abuse by the system & abuse till You Die? WTF? They CREATE VIOLENCE which feeds the Fire Anytime You HAVE to REGISTER,,Your Car,Person,vote,Etc add nausium…..You Are being Abused Via Stupidity because “YOU AGREED” to a contract,,,,with Whom? Why Abusers Of Course. They Are in a position to Abuse & get away with it After all,” You Agreed to it”! I sign ALL registration Forms Of Any kind,,”UNDER DURESS”! Because it is! This Is No Longer America or it is but it isn’t JUST,TRUTHFUL or Honest much less FREE…Kudos on the Article,,Nice Work & research.
    Respectfully Submitted, Bruce

  12. For some reason WordPress is not posting this comment, so I am reposting it here, because I believe it deserves to be read.

    Janet Bourdeau
    Submitted on 2014/08/18 at 10:43 pm
    I have only just recently been exposed to the opposite side of the registry coin, so to speak. I have never given a lot of thought to hostility, judgement, violence and isolation challenges registered sex offenders face once released from prison, until this year, when my sons’ father and I decided to get back together after a 16 year separation. My boyfriend was convicted of “Indecent liberties” in 2005 after an intimate partner in a drug fueled tantrum became angry with him. He was released in 2013 and is required to register for upwards of 20 years. In our home state of Washington the registry does not provide an EXACT address for offenders, but rather a block range for the public. Providing a general city block of residence for offenders is better than giving exact address’; by giving an exact address for these men, not only are they targeted but now their partners and children are made targets for violence and in some instances the loss of the man in their life. Now being that “partner” for a registered sex offender it has become alarmingly clear just how unfair, unjust and quite frankly, just plain criminal this registry is! I work in a prison and I live in a very small community in which dozens of my colleagues, who also work in the prisons, live also. everyone in my neighborhood now knows about my boyfriends past and are starting to make me feel uncomfortable at work. My landlord wants us to move because he feels having a sex offender as a renter some how reflects poorly on him. So now my oldest son and I are at risk for losing our home and jobs at the very least of the concerns and potentially being harmed physically because of this registry providing our home address! I am also a part of the community, don’t I, my son AND my boyfriend have the right to live without the stress and worry of being targeted and victimized by the surrounding community members? Am I no longer a tax paying citizen, that deserves to be safe and protected in my home?
    If we are evicted from house we will be homeless because NO ONE will rent to “sex offender” and hence the snow ball begins…. loss of home, job/income, health and maybe even life! My boyfriend NEVER commited a crime against a child, he is not a sexual predator, he is not even a rapist, his charge was little more than inappropriate touching of a female he was having a relationship with that angry with him one day.
    I am desperate to find a way to stop the unfair labeling of men who are slapped with the “sex offender” scarlet letter for nothing more than inappropriate touching, or consentual sex between 2 older teens, or any other offense that was not a violent act against women and children. we just want to be given an opportunity to live in peace and earn a living to support ourselves like anyone else.

  13. Janet, Your comment shows the public the reality that the lawmakers of these insane broad-brushed laws created. A taxpayer boondoggle, as well, so once again, they created a “child abuse / sex abuse” Billion dollar industry to fuel the mass incarceration of America by the private prison profiteers and all those who profit from a broken criminal justice system. Until, there is meaningful reform, the war on America’s people continues, while the media ratchets up the fear-mongering, given to them by law enforcement and the prosecutors (for “easy” convictions = political and financial gain).

  14. Barrett littleton

    Every morning I sit at my breakfast table and peruse the news via google news. I have a Sex Offender feed. This morning I went to ROSOL-CA and saw this link. A lot of what was said in the article and the articulate comment/replys was not news to me but as a registered Sex Offender in California, some hit me so viserally that I want to make a couple of comments. I have an ankle GPS on my leg charging right now and I am a parolee who has been out of prison since May of last year. I spent 24 years & 8 months in prison and am 69 years old. I attend a tax paid for twice weekly group. My crime (s) is Rape/Sexual Assault of an adult.

    We have (my wife & I) are typical. Ran out of two rentals, went transient in my car outside the house I could’t sleep in at one place until we found a house we could buy. Once in the house, now our home, where we were outed by an ex-Sheriff’s deputy and a news team from Fox News in an agressive manner. We survived that onslought and have a measure of peace now. My back story is in the last two issues of the ADVOCATE NEWSLETTER and can be found on

    Activism is an answer. Find people who are willing to be vilified, abused and shunned and enlist them in this just cause. One of the contenders for the Attorney General’s office in Arkansas stated that sex offenders are very likely to re-offend. Have to neutralize that sort of talk too. Get a bunch of newly released people to return to prison for failing to register as sex offenders. Moreover there is the other group, the one who hides his past effectivly or has made an accomodation to live his life in what passes for peace, get him to fail to register. No. That sort of admirable action died a long time ago. The way to change laws is to change the laws. The courts are the only viable venue. Small inroads have a way of inducing other laws closely allied to be weaker and more able to be attacked constitutionally. First the Circuits then the Supreme Ct. The road seems long but without a lot of positive P.R. and buckets of cash, the battle will falter. I do thank all who are looking at this scam on the American taxpayer. I call professional victims seeking revenge The VICTIM’S VENGENCE BRIGADE. This loose bunch have found money is the best revenge. Look at the groups who spearhead these efforts. Follow the money.

  15. What i always wondered is how can the feds tell the state do this or we will withhold funding isn’t that a form of extortion? also if these laws are federally overseen than why do different states have different age of consent laws? Also how can a state place a 15, 16, year old, etc… on trial as an adult but yet still take the stance that should a 15, 16 yr. old have sax with a 25 yr. old than that teenager is not old enough to make adult decisions to have sex and is unable to consent.

  16. My husband is set to go to prison for 15 years, all because he was going through a rough time, and was set up and convince by an FBI sting, to download and send the pictures they told him where to find and what to send, and after he serves his time, all his grandparents, and parents may most likely be gone, he will have to register for most of the rest of his life, for pictures of females he has never met, touched, or ever come close to any human contact with, if they were ever even real, because one can be convicted on computer generated images depicting what someone thinks an under age person looks like!

  17. As ridiculous as this might sound: we know that the re-offense rates are lower than what politicians blather on about. Can sex offenders, as a group, sue for slander?

    This would gain plenty of attention from the public.

  18. Anthony Yoder

    Yea this sex offender registry needs to go back 50 yrs then n catch all the hypocrite lawyers n judges too who did normal rteenage stuff. This things ruins millions of lives. Teenagers who do normal teenage things. Im one… N have to worry about scrutiny or persecution fr itiots who dont know how petty the situation actually was.

    • Anthony Yoder

      Also im now after 18 yrs on it having issues with people digging it up n wispering it all over to the point i feel threatened by their mess.

  19. Thx for the article and people who left replies here.

    I didn’t know how hard it can be for my family once I register as a sex offender until i read them.

    A couple of years ago, I felt for a sting operation in Florida. I had no idea that a minor was involved when I called for a massage. I was charged for a few crimes of offending a minor who never existed.

    A year and a half later, they gave me an offer to take a third degree felony of illegal usage of two way communication device, cell phone. At the same time, they dropped all charges related to offense to minors. I am sure they realized that they may have made a mistake. Taking my lawyer’s advice, i decided to take the offer. So, I came back to Florida from California.

    Only after I came and tried to transfer my probation to California, I realized that I may not be able to go back to my family in California unless I register as a sex offender there even though I was not convicted as one in Florida.

    As a result, I have been staying in Florida where I don’t know anybody close last six months. Here, I don’t have a job or a car. Meanwhile, my wife is suffering tremendously trying to take care our little children and my old parents while working full time by herself. Knowing her suffering, I was thinking of going back to California to help even though I would have to register as a sex offender.

    But, reading this article and posts by others, I realize that my presence there may become even bigger burden to my family as a sex offender. And, I can’t even imagine that my little children might suffer because of me.

    Is there really justice?

  20. Pingback: The Sex Offender Registry Strikes Again | Wrongful Convictions Blog

  21. Michael, who was 20 when a rogue cop set him up to be indicted for internet solicitation of a minor, had such lousy public defenders that he finally caved, took a guilty plea, and became a RSO. When I reviewed his file, thinking to get hima lawyer, thinking to prepare the case for one, thinking it would be an easy win for a lawyer and good PR, no one would take it without a substantial fee (discounted by $10K for the work I did). With time running out, I had to prepare pleadings for him to file pro se. The evidence of his innocence is in the file no one looked at before–or after–me. The judge at the post-conviction hearing signed an Order of Dismissal prepared by the prosecutor–without troubling to read it.

    The prosecutor misrepresented law as well as facts, but without a competent, ethical lawyer to call him on it the judge knew he coiuld take the lazy, unethical, imoral way out.

    You can read it at .

    For me, it was first-hand experience of what lawyers at Innocence Groups endure. I’ve read transcripts and while I hoped to be part of a team when I offered to help, I see the truly good lawyers do not have it easier than I did, working solo, learning law on-the-run.

    There are too many things wrong with our judicial system, and too few people aware they–or someone they love–could be the next victim. Blogs like this, unfortunately, are not read by the smugly complacent.

    • Gloria, I’m so sorry to hear your all to familiar story. Unfortunately, you are not alone. There is a decades-long entrenched pattern to the child sex crime industry.

      We are thankful that Phil Locke has started the narrative of the “wrongfully convicted sex offender”, which the media never writes about and the lawmakers choose to ignore.

      Here, we are reading of one tragedy after another that should never had to be, if the system worked as it should. We trusted our justice system and held it at the highest esteem. Sadly, we would learn the reality, as you have.

      Once the Constitution and our rights are violated, and presumption of innocence and due process are tossed there is no social order. With the media pounding the final nail for an “‘easy” conviction, then we became one of America’s families in the survival for our very lives – as those in “control” moved on to the next easy “money-grab” and conviction.

      In the case of a sting, I believe, that is the lowest form in the whole sick cowardly game, while attention and resources are re-directed away from the tough crimes, the violent and dangerous criminals who run free among us.

      This child abuse/child sex crimes category has put ALL at risk as future “customers” for the lucrative criminal justice and prison industry, and certainly will replace the failed “war on drugs” for its billions of $$$’s . Until those who created this Hell in America, find themselves in the shredding machine they created for “others” – nothing will change. Reality – it’s a war on our own people, self-destructing the American society daily.

    • A DA’s 25 year span to lucrative retirement, sending many innocent fathers and mothers to prison and never punished for the lives he shattered in his career climb: “WITCH HUNT” – Award winning documentary about the John Stoll story, an innocent man who sat in prison for 20 years for crimes that never happened.
      Executive produced and Narrated by Sean Penn

  22. What if the Voters learn about the Intensive Psycho Therapeutic Educational Program sex offenders can participate in. How these programs are a no BS group of offenders that work hard hundreds of hours a month in core groups and on their own for years before graduating on to becoming mentors to new participants.

    I survived 15 years of abuse, rape, molestation, and torture by several close family members when I was a child. I was bullied and shamed into silence. I believed I was bad and was to blame for their behavior. I did tell in the only way I knew how, to the police when I ran away, to the school councillors when my long sad face was questioned, nothing was done. I had to use force to make the attacks stop. I used my fists. I was attacked in retaliation with 9 rounds from a .22 cal target rifle. I told the Sheriff, nothing was done.

    Twenty years later I went to prison for a sex offense. I learned to change what I was telling myself about my sexual interest. I used to be so afraid of seeing myself as vulnerable and rejected that I chose to act out in ways that I believed made me powerful and in control.

    I know the truth now. Power and Control are illusions. Vulnerability and Rejection are normal healthy parts of life that everyone deals with everyday.

  23. Its a shame that someone on deathrow has rights but a sex offender has none!! I made a mistake and made out with a 15 yr old girl once didn’t know at the time it was against the law just knew I couldn’t have sex with her was offered 5 yrs deferred ( probation ) and was told I’d have to register for 10 yrs I said OK I knew I made a mistake and willingly take my punishment but they keep changing the laws and now I have to register for life !! Stamp my license witch has cost me jobs and cause me to get jumped out side my job by 3 guys someone slashed my car tires and ripped up the convertible top on my car !! I called the police and told them I’m a victim on a hate crime they done nothing!! Wrote a report!! I paid an attorney4,000 cause he said he was helping sex offenders get off the registry and he filed it but the court dismissed it without explaining so I was just out the money!! I’m lossing my mind don’t know what else to do!!

  24. Pingback: Sex Offender Registries: Time for a Change | The Natl Center for Reason and Justice

  25. Pingback: Are Sex Offender Registries Cruel and Unusual Punishment? | Wrongful Convictions Blog

    The link to our talking points did not work; a period was inadvertently added at the end; it is now corrected in the body of the message below, and it is given here:

    Click to access Position-Paper-International-Megans-Law-HR-515.pdf

    Additionally, you may also contact:

    Registrant Travel Action Group, Inc


    IML Set for Concurrence Vote Tuesday, 26th

    We Must Act Now!

    NOTE that we are focusing on the AMENDMENT, trying to get the bill OFF the floor so that it is not voted on, and back into committee. This is a long shot but worth a try.

    Contact YOUR national HOUSE representatives TODAY via email, and then CALL their office again on Monday. Here is a link to locate YOUR representative:

    Be sure to identify yourself as their constituent.

    Do NOT muddy this short message with personal stories or complaints about the entire bill. If they ASK for more info, you can find and share our talking points at

  27. In 2007 my ex girlfriend put some pictures on a cd she download from the Internet and put the cd in my house and called the police and told them were they were. Now I’m registered for life over some pictures I don’t even know what the pictures were of. I’m married now and my wife family and friends know I was framed and when I went through court I signed for 10 year registration but the state over ruled it and made it life time.

  28. Pingback: Alton Sterling: When a Sex Offender Gets a Candlelight Vigil | Michigan Standard

  29. Thank you for your very thorough treatment of this very complex issue. The more that journalists and academics stress the facts and research about sexual offending and what does and does not work in achieving the goals of reducing sexual crimes and encouraging rehabilitative efforts for all former offenders, the sooner a meaningful conversation about public registries will occur with those in positions to do something. Please visit our website, We would be pleased to have you include a link to us with in your listing of helpful sites.

  30. Pingback: Alton Sterling: A Sex Offender Rendered Human Again by His Shocking Death | Free Range Kids

  31. 1 in 5 women in the US has been raped, unknown figures for women who’ve suffered other violent sexual assaults and women who got away. 1 in 149 men on sex offender register is very small compared to suffering of innocent women. Count your blessings.

    • American Slave

      @againstvaw – ugh…that’s about all I can say to your post. That 1 in 5 women (that’s 20% or some 30,000,000 women) statistic is the most unsubstantiated, fake, yet naively repeated load of trash ever sold to the world. Not only is it dishonest and unsubstantiated, it perpetuates a false and damaging stereotype of men. The real statistics, contrary to that ridiculous canard, show that only around 1.267 in 5,000 (that’s .00025333 or .025%, around 76,000) men and women are victims of sexual assault. A recent poll of Ivy League schools, where allegedly most rapes occur, the numbers are even lower after schools applauding more women for coming forward (I’m not sure who applauds rape, but apparently they do if the statistics rise in support of their narrative).

      Also, the 1 in 5 has rarely ever been distorted so much as to be all rape victims, but just sexual assualt, which includes everything right down to an unwanted touch on the arm. But the biggest problem with made up statistics of unkowns is that they are completely made up. If the numbers are unknown, then certainly the statistics are unknown, and therefore can only be speculated. As with all speculation, it is open to A LOT of bias.

      There have been a few, albeit limited studies, that have shown statistically to some localities that 50% of all sexual assault reports are also false. If that were to hold nationwide, then you can take that .025% and cut it in half also.

      The reality is that the “rape-culture” feminists keep misinforming the public about is nothing more than a farse, based on fake and made up statistics. Men are not the enemy. We are fathers, brothers, sons, uncles, husbands, not the villains the propagandists would have you belielve.

  32. I admit there are some that are sick & need to be on it with better law’s but there are some like me& my husband were there was no real evidence & no problems for twenty years just here say yes we’ve been in it for twenty years & our local Megan’s law said we are the best they have on it .that should not be on it they think of us as a weist if there time..they also say there are others that they need to keep a closer eye on…so our biggest question is how do we get off so we are not weisteing there time so it frees them up so they can keep a closer eye on the ones who really need it ?

  33. Talk about keeping false names on a registry to steal tax dollars? Florida politicians and the FDLE deliberately pad the registry with an estimated 40% of registrants who are NOT IN the state. A five day vacation in Florida will keep an out of state registrant on the FL registry forever. Florida receives more federal tax payer funds than 49 other states, largely due to padding it’s registry with out of state offenders. How is this not tax fraud on the part of Florida? Why is this double dipping of federal funds allowed?

  34. Pingback: “How I Got on the Sex Offender List” — By a Mom of Three | Free Range Kids

  35. Pingback: This Mother of 3 Is on the Sex Offender Registry for Life Because She Made a Mistake as a Teen | Economic Crisis Report

  36. Pingback: This Mother of 3 Is on the Sex Offender Registry for Life Because She Made a Mistake as a Teen | Michigan Standard

  37. Pingback: Time for Registries to Change – Sex Offender Research Information Center

  38. Thanks for the blog and all the great info. I’m Terry Richardson, State of Tennessee. Yes, they have gone too far, I agree, I am walking proof. Convicted of kidnapping/ aggr. assault in 2001, altercation w/ female while child was in the home. Never removed or held any person hostage, no sexual crime committed. Just because there was a child present during that altercation..I’ve landed on the Sex Offenders Registry for life without even committing a sexual crime. I’m sure , I’m not the only one. So I have to live every single day of my life with a label that don’t belong to me.
    I’ve even been asked by S.O.R. officers, if I’ve attempted to fight it, even they know it’s wrong. So as of 2/15/2017 I am non- compliant because I refuse to be labeled something I’m not just to satisfy statistics and victims of sexual crimes , I’ve committed none. Time to fight!..any further info. would be greatly appreciated. Feel free to call as well…(865)951-4206 anytime…will be in voluntary incarceration 4/1…”I Aint Signing No more!”…signed: Non Compliant.

  39. Pingback: Abolish the public sex offender registry – NARSOL

  40. It blows my mind! That the Representatives of my State Minnesota, find it Totally Unconstitutional for illegal immigrants that come to this Country for purposes of NO GOOD! and on the Taxpayers Dime to be Deported. However! The Taxpayers that are Born & Raised in the U.S.

  41. Aleta Wentzell

    I think it’s wrong. Terribly wrong to punish these people to such an extreme. In my opinion it’s double Jeopardy and totally unfair. I hope someone can stop this horrible punishment. Why don’t drug dealers who destroy many lives even kill people by getting them hooked on drugs have to register. I wouldn’t want a drug dealer living next to me. Let them put a sign in their yard saying stay away I deal drugs you will get addicted​.

  42. Pingback: Am I “Making It Easier for Pedo Abductors”? | Free Range Kids

  43. My son was falsely accused of sex abuse back in 2004. Because he was scared to death by his own lawyer and urged to take a plea he dis so in 2006. He was ordered to register as a sex offender for 10 years in Ky. However I just found out they changed it some time and didnt wvwn inform him and now his 10 years that he agreed on was xhanged to 20 years. Is this legal. Can they do that?

  44. Ashley James Edmond

    I was convicted over 20 years ago and I feel it really is wrong for me to come out have doing 15 years of my life behind bars an still feel like I’m in prison somehow they want to lock you up for not having the money to resigter when they make it hard enough for us too find a job an now they put me at a tier 3 for something I had no control over because ppl knows your an convicted sex offender they lie on your for anything an the cops believe them I was a tier 1 when I got release from prison they have the conviction of false charges for a women I was dating saying a choke which never happen but like I said I was already guilty when I got arrested an I was going back an forth to court for 3 years so I got tired of going an just took probation for it I had no idea that would make me a tier 3 offender if I know I would of never took the conviction but I been free for 8 years an I never got into any touble since that happen too me is there anything I can do to stop resigering as a sex offender I have kids now and it really touch me deeply that I really can’t do anything with them that’s not fair so any help would be appreciated I live in Louisiana so if there is something I can do please let me know thanks

  45. My husband had his phone number sold to another person. This old phone number allowed someone to hack his Gmail. We confirmed with T Mobile he did not have that account. A picture was sent to him he didn’t view and is sitting in his cloud. Which he had no access to that account and hasn’t in 10 years. We don’t have 6000 to pay the IT for trial and another 5000 for his attorney. Along with the 1500 for the SOE class. Unless you have money you have to plea. We are talking about one photo being downloaded to an old email address. It’s like a Netflix nightmare movies. Our life is ruined he will have to plea. His kids and my kids are affected because we are not rich. It’s breaking my heart.

  46. The government is Crooked and override the constitution We are doing double Jeopardy and it’s not right in we’re trying to be a productive citizen but they only think about themselves

  47. There is a group or person up here in the central Wisconsin around the marshfield, WI and surrounding area who think he or she can make their own sex offender “faked list using others names for revenge spooking purposes and labeling fraud” they run their gig just like the police or FBI would do impersonating them. They even have a friend who will implant ( tag ) your vehicle then stalk you and i read even put speakers in your home to try to make you think your hearing voices that will threaten you, it’s hacking your electric, TV or radio or intercoms and home appliances..they follow you over a home made mapped prison like mapped system and put force lies about you on internet and even try to steal your IP number to use on their impersonating computer system to hopefully try to screw you over! It was reported to the police now and the government! This is scary stuff and even scarier knowing your house may have been bugged by fraud impersonators …I hope the police fine these people big time if they get caught and because no one is safe … trespassing laws should be updated for huge fines and prison time! Always call you police to check your crime status for mistakes and your honored judge during your case will do any real legal convictions not a impersonator!!

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