May 1, 2013

Raised on the Registry

The Irreparable Harm of Placing Children on Sex Offender Registries in the US

Summary
A Policy Based on a Misconception
Long-Term Impact on Youth Sex Offenders and Their Families
Onerous Restrictions
Faulty Assumptions About Youth Sex Offenders
Accountability That Fits
Methodology
I. Background
Child-on-Child Sexual Violence in the United States
History of Sex Offender Registration and Notification Laws in the US
Early Sex Offender Registration and Community Notification Laws
Incorporation of Youth Sex Offenders in Registration and Notification Laws
The Adam Walsh Act’s SORNA
An Overbroad Policy of Questionable Effectiveness
Does the Registry Prevent Sex Offenses?
II. Children Are Different
Cognitive and Developmental Differences
Child Sexual Misconduct: A Distinct and Varied Set of Behaviors
Recidivism of Youth Sex Offenders
III. Who are Youth Sex Offender Registrants?
Age
Offenses
Date of Registration, Race, and Gender
IV. Registration of Youth Offenders in Practice
Community Notification for Youth Offenders
Public Disclosure of Child Registration Information
“Non-Public” Notification
Residency and Zoning Restrictions
Duration of Registration
V. Life on the Registry
Psychological Impact
Stigmatization and Isolation
Suicide
Violent Attacks
Impact on Families
Financial Burdens
Children of Registered Sex Offenders
Housing
Restrictions on Movement
Travel or Moving to Another Jurisdiction
Interference with Education
Ongoing Economic Consequences
Employment
Registration Fees and Associated Costs
VI. Failure-to-Register Violations: Additional Punishment
Why Youthful Offenders Fail to Register
Failure to Register and Recidivism
VII. Due Process Concerns
Guilty Pleas
Retroactive Application of Registration Requirements
Fewer Protections in the Juvenile System?
VIII. Human Rights and Registration of  Youth Sex Offenders
The Child’s Right to Special Treatment
Disproportionate Infringement on Other Rights
The Approach of Other Jurisdictions
Protection from Violence
Privacy and Family Unity
Education, Health, Well-being, and Freedom of Movement
IX. Recommendations
To the US Congress and State Legislatures
To State Legislatures and Agencies
To State and Federal Judges
To Prosecutors
To Defense Attorneys
To Police and Other Law Enforcement Agencies
Acknowledgments