The first thing that must be pointed out is that the sex offender registry came about because of the myth that people convicted of sexual related crimes were always going to reoffend. Some of the numbers that were tossed around at the time that the registry was conceived were 60 to 80% would reoffend. The registry was not originally designed to protect anyone, it was simply there to aid law-enforcement so that they would have suspects to look at because of this belief of high reoffense rates. As we now know, that belief is not only a myth, but it is an outright lie. There is no high reoffense rate of any kind for people convicted of a sexually related crime. The studies all show a reconviction rate in the single digits, and many studies show the rates in the fractions of a single-digit (why-are-the-reconviction-rates-so-important). So to start with, because there is no high reoffense rate, there is no compelling reason for the the existence of the sex offender registry at all (other than fear, bias, bigotry and hatred of a class of criminals). Secondly, because of the lack of a high reoffense rate, there is no use for law-enforcement to have this duplication of information that is already available under their normal investigative procedures. This is only wasting time and resources and leads to harassing people who have a low risk to reoffend while making them and their families’ lives miserable.
As for the components of the registry, such as community notification, residence restrictions, job research and housing restrictions, freedom of movement restrictions, freedom to cross state lines restrictions, plus the many other components of the registry that could not exist without the registry’s existence; for a person to say that any one of these components is not punishment shows the uneducated bias of the person speaking or else they have a fiduciary interest in perpetuating these lies.
According to our declaration of independence all men are created equal, and in our Constitution and Bill of Rights it is laid out that all people will be treated equally. It is very apparent that a person who is on the registry is not treated equally with other citizens. This becomes quite obvious when a person who is not a sex offender accidentally is placed upon the registry or one of its components such as having their driver’s license tagged. If there was no disparity between ordinary citizens and registered citizens than they would be treated exactly the same. Quite obviously they are not.
In a recent story in the Orlando Sentinel, (http://www.orlandosentinel.com/news/lake/os-drivers-license-sexual-predator-mistake-20150507-story.html) a woman’s drivers license was mistakenly marked, indicating that she was a sexual predator and a registered citizen. In the four days that she had that drivers license, she was:
-denied entry to Walt Disney World and held by Disney security in a room unable to leave for several hours
-denied a hotel room
-subjected to disdain by her bank
-subjected to bias at court
-suffered fear to leave her house.
This was all in just 4 days. Another other man incorrectly labeled a sexual predator was almost arrested just trying to go on a naval base, man-wrongly-labeled-sex-offender-on-id . After his death his family was offered a settlement for him incorrectly being labeled of a paltry $20,000. After all the humiliation that he had suffered because he unknowingly carried an ID card, showing that he was a registered citizen.
What would a lifetime of such treatment do a person? When ordinary citizens are stigmatized by being indicated that they are on a Government sanctioned registry, it is quite obvious that the stigma of being on the registry is in every way, a form of punishment. Make no mistake about it, in this country shaming a person is a form of punishment, People v. Meyer People v. Lowe, 606 N.E.2d. People v. Molz, 113 N.E.2d, People v. Johnson 528 N.E.2d, State v. Burdin 924 S.W.2d ,People v. Letterlough 655 N.E.2d, Lindsay v. State 606 So. 2D, and when that stigma is carried over to innocent family members including children through collateral damage, (http://sosen.org/blog/2014/02/25/government-sanctioned-cruelty-to-over-half-1-million-american-children.html ) than there can be no doubt that these laws that are based not on facts, but rather fear, hate and bigotry are unconstitutional. For anyone who reads this and thinks otherwise I suggest you ask yourself this question, how would you feel if you or a close family member suddenly ended up on a registry and community notification with all the restrictions that it implies, would you consider it a violation of your constitutional rights and outright punishment?