Registering as a sex offender isn’t just embarrassing and punishing, it also leaves the individual with little room to make improvements to his or her life. This isn’t a topic that many people like to discuss because the matter of sexually-based crimes are inherently unsavory and tough to talk about. It is easier in many people’s minds to just label people who are convicted of sex crimes as horrible and then never consider them again.
But the fact of the matter is that people who are convicted of sexually-based crimes are still people. They still have to live in the world and participate in society. Ostracizing them to the point that they feel unwelcome and unable to improve their situation only makes things worse for everyone. Such a state makes the convicted individual feel helpless and it can make them turn to criminal acts again.
The problem is that sex crimes are obviously very serious, and so it is only natural for lawmakers — and people in general — to pursue the harshest punishment possible for offenders. But this may not be the right solution. In fact, it could lead to an unending downward spiral that doesn’t help the offender and certainly doesn’t help the greater society.
Reform for sexual offender registration is a tough topic too, because, as noted above, lawmakers are not exactly looking to be seen as the person who is lenient on people convicted of sexually-based crimes. People accused of such crimes need to get an attorney to defend themselves initially.
Source: Slate, “Reforming the Registry,” Chanakya Sethi, Aug. 15, 2014