September 12, 2007

XI. Conclusion

One of the things sex offenders know is what the world thinks of them.They know most people are driven by fear, and that fear is driven by ignorance. Convicted sex offenders released into the community are trying to work through it on their end, trying to be good citizens, but it's hard to get the community to live up to its end of the bargain.
-Barbara Johnson, supervisor, Sex Offender Program for the County of Pima, Arizona[479]
We have sat and been quiet for so long, but it's time now to say, "It's time for there to be some changes. These kids have to be free." They made a huge mistake, but should they be punished for the rest of their lives?
-Nancy D., mother of a registrant[480]

Human rights protections and guarantees create a duty to protect children-and everyone-from sexual abuse and to hold accountable those who commit acts of sexual violence. For Human Rights Watch, criticizing sex offender laws and demanding that public officials take more care in how they address the problem of sexual violence reflects our commitment to protecting all members of society from sex crimes. There is, however, no inherent contradiction between protecting the rights of children and protecting the rights of former offenders. Both are protected if registration is limited to former offenders who have been individually assessed as dangerous, and only for so long as they pose a high or medium risk of reoffending; if community notification is restricted on a need-to-know basis to those who genuinely can benefit from knowledge about dangerous former offenders in their midst; and if residency restrictions are imposed, if at all, only as part of individual supervision measures established on a case-by-case basis and periodically reviewed, and with child offenders exempted from sex offender laws unless a panel determines them to be of significant risk to the community. We urge legislators and the public to support reform to sex offender laws along these lines.

Human Rights Watch also urges legislators and the public to expand their efforts to prevent sexual violence beyond punitive monitoring and information dissemination measures targeting former offenders. Comprehensive approaches to the prevention of sex crimes against children would entail making sure parents have the tools they need to detect signs of adults with sex behavior problems, to help teach their children about warning signs, and to find the support they need for healthy parenting. Efforts to prevent child sexual abuse and to provide for early interventions with children and families at risk must be strategically examined and strengthened.

Broad-based community notification and residency restriction laws are not the panacea to stopping sexual violence. Those who care about ending sex crimes must demand that policymakers reject one-size-fits-all laws to address sex abuse and begin to invest the political and financial resources in policies that actually work.

Appendix

Online Sex Offender Registry Warning Text by State

State

Warning Text

Alabama

THE INFORMATION PROVIDED ON THIS SITE IS INTENDED FOR COMMUNITY SAFETY PURPOSES ONLY AND SHOULD NOT BE USED TO THREATEN, INTIMIDATE, OR HARASS.MISUSE OF THIS INFORMATION MAY RESULT IN CRIMINAL PROSECUTION.

Alaska

Using information from this site to commit a crime may result in criminal prosecution.

Arizona

THE INFORMATION PROVIDED ON THIS SITE IS INTENDED FOR COMMUNITY SAFETY PURPOSES ONLY AND SHOULD NOT BE USED TO THREATEN, INTIMIDATE, OR HARASS.MISUSE OF THIS INFORMATION MAY RESULT IN CRIMINAL PROSECUTION.

Arkansas

This information is made available for the purpose of providing the public information concerning Level 3 and Level 4 Registered Sex Offenders who may reside in your area. Anyone who uses this information to commit a criminal act against another person is subject to criminal prosecution.

California

The information on this web site is made available solely to protect the public. Anyone who uses this information to commit a crime or to harass an offender or his or her family is subject to criminal prosecution and civil liability.

Colorado

Extreme care should be exercised when using any information obtained from this website.

Connecticut

ANY PERSON WHO USES INFORMATION IN THIS REGISTRY TO INJURE, HARASS OR COMMIT A CRIMINAL ACT AGAINST ANY PERSON INCLUDED IN THE REGISTRY OR ANY OTHER PERSON IS SUBJECT TO CRIMINAL PROSECUTION.

Delaware

None

DC

Unlawful use of this information to threaten, intimidate, harass, or injure a registered sex offender will not be tolerated and will be prosecuted to the full extent of the law.

Florida

It is illegal to misuse public records information regarding a sexual predator or a sexual offender as defined by Florida Statutes and to secure a payment from such a predator or offender; to knowingly distribute or publish false information relating to such a predator or offender and to misrepresent such information as being public records information; or to materially alter public records information with the intent to misrepresent the information, including documents, summaries of public records information provided by law enforcement agencies, or public records information displayed by law enforcement agencies on websites or provided through other means of communication. Section 775.21(10)(c), Florida Statutes.

Georgia

None

Hawaii

Any person who uses the information in this registry to injure, harass, or commit a criminal act against any person included in the registry may be subject to criminal prosecution, civil liability, or both.

Idaho

The information in the sex offender registries is provided only for the purpose of protecting the public.It is not to be used for the purpose of harassing or intimidating anyone.A person who uses registry information to commit a criminal act against another person is subject to arrest and prosecution under section 18-8326 or 18-8413, Idaho Code.

Illinois

Anyone who uses this information to commit a criminal act against another person is subject to criminal prosecution.

Indiana

Information in this registry may not be used to harass or threaten sex offenders or their families. Harassment, stalking, or threats may violate Indiana law.

Iowa

Any actions taken by you against these subjects, including vandalism of property, verbal or written threats of harm or physical assault against these subjects, their families or employers can result in your arrest and prosecution.

Kansas

Any person who uses information obtained through this website to threaten, intimidate or harass another, or who otherwise misuses the information may be subject to criminal prosecution and/or civil liability.

Kentucky

UNDER KRS 525.070 AND 525.080, USE OF INFORMATION FROM THIS WEB SITE TO HARASS A PERSON IDENTIFIED ON THIS WEB SITE IS A CRIMINAL OFFENSE PUNISHABLE BY UP TO NINETY (90) DAYS IN THE COUNTYJAIL. MORE SEVERE CRIMINAL PENALTIES APPLY FOR MORE SEVERE CRIMES COMMITTED AGAINST A PERSON IDENTIFIED ON THIS WEB SITE.

Louisiana

Any person who uses information contained in or accessed through this Website to threaten, intimidate, or harass any individual, including registrants or family members, or who otherwise misuses this information, may be subject to criminal prosecution or civil liability.

Maine

Use of this information to threaten, intimidate, or harass any registrant or any other person may result in criminal prosecution.

Maryland

The information presented on this Web site should not be used in any manner to injure, harass, or commit a criminal act against any individual named in the registry, or residing or working at the reported address. Any such action could subject you to criminal prosecution.

Massachusetts

Information shall not be used to commita crime or to engage in illegal discrimination or harassments of an offender. Any person who uses information disclosed pursuant to M.G.L. C. 6 178C - 178P for such purposes shall be punished by not more than two and one half (2 ) years in a house of correction or by a fine of not more than one thousand dollars ($1000.00) or both (M.G.L. C.6, 178N). In addition, any person who uses Registry information to threaten to commit a crime may be punished by a fine of not more than one hundred dollars ($100.00) or by imprisonment for not more than six (6) months (M.G.L. C. 275 4).

Michigan

Extreme care should be exercised in using any information obtained from this web site.

Minnesota

None

Mississippi

It is not the intent of the Legislature that this information be used to injure, harass, or commit a criminal act against persons named in the registry, their families, or employers. Anyone who takes any criminal action against these registrants, including vandalism of property, verbal or written threats of harm or physical assault against these registrants, their families or employers is subject to criminal prosecution.

Missouri

None

Montana

Anyone who uses this information to injure, harass or commit a criminal act against any person may be subject to criminal prosecution.

Nebraska

Sex offender registry information shall not be used to retaliate against the registrants, their families, or their employers in any way.Vandalism, verbal or written threats of harm are illegal and will result in arrest and prosecution.

Nevada

Under the provisions of state law and as further defined by the State Attorney General, this information is provided for general public safety. A person is authorized to use this information only to protect him/herself or a child who may be at risk.The release of this information to the public is meant to assure public protection, not to punish the offender. It is illegal to use information obtained through this web site to commit a crime against a registered sex offender or to engage in discrimination or harassment against a registered sex offender. Anyone who uses this information to commit a criminal act against another person is subject to criminal prosecution and/or civil action.

New Hampshire

None

New Jersey

Public access to registry information is intended solely for the protection of the public, and should never be used to threaten, intimidate or harass another. (See "Prohibitions on Misuse of Registry Information" below.)

New Mexico

The information provided is intended for community safety purposes only and should not be used to threaten, intimidate, or harass. Without a fingerprint comparison, there is no guarantee an individual identified in the response is in fact the individual in question.

New York

Anyone who uses this information to injure, harass, or commit a criminal act against any person may be subject to criminal prosecution.

North Carolina

This information is made available for purposes of protecting the public, for keeping them informed and for allowing them to take proactive measures to ensure safety in their communities. Use and/or misuse of this information by individuals, groups or entities to commit criminal acts (to include, but not limited to, threats, intimidation, stalking, harassment) against other persons is subject to criminal prosecution.

North Dakota

Any actions taken by persons against these subjects, including vandalism of property, intimidation, harassment or verbal or written threats of harm against these subjects or their families, landlords, or employers, are not acceptable, and will likely result in arrest and prosecution of those persons.

Ohio

None

Oklahoma

None

Oregon

Under the provisions of state law this information is provided for general public safety. A person is authorized to use this information only to protect him/herself or a child who may be at risk. The release of this information to the public is meant to assure public protection, not to punish the offender. It is illegal to use information obtained through this web site to commit a crime against a registered sex offender or to engage in discrimination or harassment against a registered sex offender. Anyone who uses this information to commit a criminal act against another person is subject to criminal prosecution and/or civil action.

Pennsylvania

ANY PERSON WHO USES THE INFORMATION CONTAINED HEREIN TO THREATEN, INTIMIDATE, OR HARASS THE REGISTRANT OR THEIR FAMILY, OR WHO OTHERWISE MISUSES THIS INFORMATION, MAY BE SUBJECT TO CRIMINAL PROSECUTION OR CIVIL LIABILITY.

Rhode Island

Information contained on this Web site should not be used to threaten or harass any identified individual as such conduct may be prohibited under the general laws of Rhode Island.

South Carolina

None

South Dakota

ANY PERSON WHO USES INFORMATION CONTAINED IN OR ACCESSED THROUGH THIS WEBSITE TO THREATEN, INTIMIDATE, OR HARASS ANY INDIVIDUAL, INCLUDING REGISTRANTS OR FAMILY MEMBERS, OR WHO OTHERWISE MISUSES THIS INFORMATION, MAY BE SUBJECT TO CRIMINAL PROSECUTION. A violation is a Class 6 felony and the violator could be sentenced to the South Dakota State Penitentiary for up to two years and could be fined up to $4,000.

Tennessee

The Tennessee Bureau of Investigation cannot guarantee the accuracy of this information. It should be noted that offenders may have moved without notification. Therefore, this information should not be used in any manner to injure, harass, or commit a criminal act against any person named in the registry. Any such action could subject you to criminal prosecution.

Texas

None

Utah

Pursuant to Utah Code Ann. Section 77-27-21.5(22)(b) and (c), members of the public are not allowed to publicize the information or use it to harass or threaten sex offenders or members of their families; and harassment, stalking, or threats against sex offenders or their families are prohibited and doing so may violate Utah criminal laws.

Vermont

Any person who uses information in this registry to injure, harass, or commit a criminal offense against any person included in the registry or any other person is subject to criminal prosecution.

Virginia

None

Washington

THE INFORMATION PROVIDED ON THIS SITE IS INTENDED FOR COMMUNITY SAFETY PURPOSES ONLY AND SHOULD NOT BE USED TO THREATEN, INTIMIDATE, OR HARASS. MISUSE OF THIS INFORMATION MAY RESULT IN CRIMINAL PROSECUTION.

West Virginia

This information is provided in the interest of public safety and should be used only in order to take appropriate precautions. The information accessed through the use of this website may not be used to threaten, intimidate or harass registered sex offenders and violations of law will be investigated by the West Virginia State Police.

Wisconsin

It is not the intent of the Legislature that this information be used to injure, harass, or commit a criminal act against persons named in the registry, their families, or employers. Anyone who takes any criminal action against these registrants, including vandalism of property, verbal or written threats of harm or physical assault against these registrants, their families or employers is subject to criminal prosecution.

Wyoming

ANY PERSON WHO USES INFORMATION CONTAINED IN OR ACCESSED THROUGH THE WYSORS WEBSITE TO THREATEN, INTIMIDATE, OR HARASS ANY INDIVIDUAL, INCLUDING REGISTRANTS OR THEIR FAMILY MEMBERS, OR WHO OTHERWISE MISUSES THIS INFORMATION, MAY BE SUBJECT TO CRIMINAL PROSECUTION, OR CIVIL LIABILITY UNDER FEDERAL AND/OR STATE LAW.

List of Sex Offender Registries by State

State

Website

Alabama

http://community.dps.alabama.gov/Pages/wfWelcome.aspx

Alaska

http://www.dps.state.ak.us/sorweb/Sorweb.aspx

Arizona

https://az.gov/webapp/offender/main.do

Arkansas

http://www.acic.org/Registration/index.htm

California

http://meganslaw.ca.gov/

Colorado

http://sor.state.co.us/

Connecticut

http://www.ct.gov/dps/cwp/view.asp?a=2157&Q=294474&dpsNav=

Delaware

http://sexoffender.dsp.delaware.gov/

DC

http://mpdc.dc.gov/mpdc/cwp/view,a,1241,Q,540704,mpdcNav_GID,1523,mpdcNav,|.asp

Florida

http://offender.fdle.state.fl.us/offender/Search.jsp

Georgia

http://services.georgia.gov/gbi/gbisor/disclaim.html

Hawaii

http://sexoffenders.ehawaii.gov/sexoff/

Idaho

http://isp.state.id.us/identification/sex_offender/

Illinois

http://www.isp.state.il.us/sor/

Indiana

http://www.insor.org/insasoweb/

Iowa

http://www.iowasexoffender.com/

Kansas

http://www.kansas.gov/kbi/ro.shtml

Kentucky

http://www.kentuckystatepolice.ky.gov/sor.htm

Louisiana

http://lasocpr1.lsp.org/

Maine

http://sor.informe.org/sor/

Maryland

http://www.dpscs.state.md.us/onlineservs/sor/

Massachusetts

http://sorb.chs.state.ma.us/

Michigan

http://www.mipsor.state.mi.us/

Minnesota

http://www.doc.state.mn.us/level3/search.asp

Mississippi

https://por.state.mn.us/

Missouri

http://www.mshp.dps.mo.gov/MSHPWeb/PatrolDivisions/CRID/SOR/SORPage.html

Montana

http://www.doj.mt.gov/svor/

Nebraska

http://www.nsp.state.ne.us/sor/find.cfm

Nevada

http://www.nvsexoffenders.gov/

New Hampshire

http://www.egov.nh.gov/nsor/

New Jersey

http://www.state.nj.us/njsp/info/reg_sexoffend.html

New Mexico

http://www.nmsexoffender.dps.state.nm.us/

New York

http://www.criminaljustice.state.ny.us/nsor/

North Carolina

http://ncfindoffender.com/

North Dakota

http://www.sexoffender.nd.gov/

Ohio

http://www.esorn.ag.state.oh.us/Secured/p1.aspx

Oklahoma

http://www.sde.state.ok.us/sexregistry.htm

Oregon

http://sexoffenders.oregon.gov/

Pennsylvania

http://www.pameganslaw.state.pa.us/

Rhode Island

http://www.paroleboard.ri.gov/sexoffender/agree.php

South Carolina

http://services.sled.sc.gov/sor/

South Dakota

http://sor.sd.gov/disclaimer.asp?page=search&nav=2

Tennessee

http://www.ticic.state.tn.us/SEX_ofndr/search_short.asp

Texas

https://records.txdps.state.tx.us/DPS_WEB/Sor/index.aspx

Utah

http://www.cr.ex.state.ut.us/community/sexoffenders/

Vermont

http://www.dps.state.vt.us/cjs/s_registry.htm

Virginia

http://sex-offender.vsp.virginia.gov/sor/

Washington

http://ml.waspc.org/

West Virginia

http://www.wvstatepolice.com/sexoff/websearchform.cfm

Wisconsin

http://offender.doc.state.wi.us/public/

Wyoming

http://attorneygeneral.state.wy.us/dci/so/so_registration.html

Criteria for Presence on an Online Sex Offender Registry by State

State

Criteria for Online Registry

Includes Everyone Convicted As an Adult

Excludes Low and/or Medium Risk Offenders

Alabama

x

Alaska

x

Arizona

x

Arkansas

x

California

x

Colorado

x

Connecticut

x

Delaware

x

DC

x

Florida

x

Georgia

x

Hawaii

x

Idaho

x

Illinois

x

Indiana

x

Iowa

x

Kansas

x

Kentucky

x

Louisiana

x

Maine

x

Maryland

x

Massachusetts

x

Michigan

x

Minnesota

x

Mississippi

x

Missouri

x

Montana

x

Nebraska

x

Nevada

x

New Hampshire

x

New Jersey

x

New Mexico

x

New York

x

North Carolina

x

North Dakota

x

Ohio

x

Oklahoma

x

Oregon

x

Pennsylvania

x

Rhode Island

x

South Carolina

x

South Dakota

x

Tennessee

x

Texas

x

Utah

x

Vermont

x

Virginia

x

Washington

x

West Virginia

x

Wisconsin

x

Wyoming

x

Sex Offender Residency Restriction Statutes by State

State

Residency Restrictions

Code/Statute

Alabama

May not reside or work within 2,000 feet of school or childcare facilities.

Code of Ala. 15-20-26(a)

Arkansas

A level 3 or 4 (most serious) sex offender cannot live within 2,o00 feet of schools or daycare facilities.

A.C.A. 5-14-128(a)

California

A sexually violent predator and serious paroled sex offender cannot live within one-fourth of a mile of a school.

California Wel & I nst Code 6608.5(f); Cal Pen Code 3003

Florida

A sex offender whose victim is under 18 years old cannot live within 1,000 feet of schools, parks, playgrounds, and public school bus stops, or where children congregate.

Fla. Stat. 947,1405(7)(a)(2)

Georgia

No sex offender may reside, work, or loiter within 1,000 feet of any school, childcare facility, church, school bus stop, or where minors congregate.

O.C.G.A. 42-1-15

Mandates that no registered sexual offender will be allowed to reside, loiter or work within 1000 feet of an area where minors congregate. Defines "where minors congregate" as schools, churches, day care centers, public swimming pools, neighborhood centers, gymnasiums, and school bus stops, skating rinks, recreation facilities, public and private parks, and playgrounds.

Georgia H 1059, Signed by governor on April 30, 2006

Idaho

Prohibits registered sex offenders from loitering or residing within 500 feet of a school with children under eighteen.Provides exceptions for parents dropping transporting their children, students meeting the definition of sex offender enrolled in school, parents attending parent teacher conferences, and for dropping off food, mail, or other delivery.

Idaho Code 18-8329

Illinois

A child sex offender may not reside or loiter within 500 feet of a school.

720 ILCS 5/11-9.3(b), (b-5)

Indiana

Prohibits sex offenders from residing within 1,000 feet of a school, public park, or youth program shelter.Also prohibits residence within one mile of the victim's residence.

Burns Ind. Code Ann. 11-13-3-4(g)(2)

Iowa

A sex offender whose victim was a minor may not reside within 2,000 feet of a school or childcare facility.

Iowa Code 692A.2A

Kentucky

A sex offender may not reside within 1,000 feet of a school, childcare facility, and public playgrounds.

KRS 17.545

Louisiana

A sexually violent predator and sex offenders whose offense involved a minor may not reside within 1,000 feet of a school, daycare facility, playground, public or private youth center, public swimming pool, or free standing video arcade facility; in addition, sex offenders whose offense involved a minor may not step foot within 1,000 feet of any of the above mentioned facilities.

La. R.S. 14:91.1, 15:538

Michigan

A sex offender cannot reside within 1,000 feet of any school safety zone; applies apenalty to persons working, loitering, or residing within a student safety zone.

MCLS 28.733, 28.734, 28.735

Mississippi

Prohibits registered sex offender from residing within 1,500 feet of school or child care facility.Exempts those with such residence before July 1, 2006 and persons who or a minor or ward under a guardianship.

Miss. Code Ann. 45-33-25(4)

Ohio

A sex offender cannot reside within 1,000 feet of any school or child-care facility.

ORC Ann. 2950.034

Oklahoma

It is unlawful for a registered sex offender to reside within a 2,000 feet radius of a school, playground, park, or childcare facility.

57 Okl. St. 590

South Dakota

A sex offender cannot reside or loiter withinfeet 500 feet of schools, public parks, playgrounds, or public pools.

S.D. Codified Laws 22-24B-22, 22-24B-24, 22-24B-27, 22-24B-28

Tennessee

No violent sex offender or sex offender who se victim was a minor can reside within 1,000 feet of schools, childcare facilities, public park, playground, recreation center, or public athletic field.

Tenn. Code Ann. 40-39-211

Virginia

Prohibits certain sex offenders from residing within 500 feet of a school or child daycare center.

Va. Code Ann. 18.2-370.1-3

Washington

A sex offender convicted of a serious offense with a high risk assessment (Levels II and III) cannot reside within 880 feet of any school.

Rev. Code Wash. 9.94A.030

West Virginia

A paroled sex offender cannot reside within 1,000 feet of a school or childcare facility.

W.Va. Code 62-12-26(b)

[479] Human Rights Watch telephone interview with Barbara Johnson, July 6, 2006.

[480]Human Rights Watch telephone interview with Nancy D., December 11, 2006.